Amanda Cohen

Amanda Cohen

Executive Chef and Owner of Dirt Candy

Learn to work fast and smart. Even if no one is pushing you, push yourself. In a kitchen, other chefs will notice everything. If you’re coasting, the assumption is that you’re lazy.

Mesa Grill was my best externship. Wayne Harley Brachman was my boss. He sincerely felt like it was his job to make sure that people who came through his kitchen actually learned something, and he took his time to teach you. That pretty much shaped my entire career right there.
I have only one requirement for myself: show up and do my job. Being late, getting sick, and walking away are never options if you want to work in kitchens.
When things get tough I always remember that I didn’t get into this career to fail.
The restaurant world seems big, but it’s tiny. You see the same faces again and again, so it’s really important not to be a jerk.
Staffing is hard. Every employee is an investment of time and money. So when you quit, your boss hates you. Always give as much notice as humanly possible and offer to train your replacement. Do these things and they may forgive you.
When you get on the line for the first time, stay for a year, no matter how bad it gets. That year will break you down then build you back up. It will be the foundation for the rest of your career.
I love food. I wouldn’t do a job this hard if I didn’t truly love it at heart.

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