Ben Puchowitz

Ben Puchowitz

Chef and Co-Owner at Nunu, Cheu Fishtown and Bing Bing Dim Sum

The road to becoming a chef or restaurant owner is full of ups and downs, but the challenge of learning and overcoming mistakes is what keeps me emboldened by this industry.

I have a serious problem with collecting cookbooks, but they are extremely valuable to a chef's learning curve. They give you an in depth look into another chef's brain. It's important to first understand how others create before you develop your own style.
My 10 years at Matyson really impacted the trajectory of my career. I learned a ton from my cousin Matt Spector, who was the original chef/owner along with his wife Sonjia. Matt cooks with his heart. He instilled in me the innate ability to cook in an almost "freeform" style where tasting and adjusting were crucial skills to have. Learning this method of cooking early on gave me the freedom to experiment with cooking food from diverse regions of the world without relying on exacting recipes.
Keeping your staff interested and letting them know you appreciate them is vital to maintaining "good" employees. We have several staff parties during the year in addition to "management" trips to other cities to eat, drink and learn. I also do my best to teach my chefs and cooks what I have learned in my time in this industry both in and out of the kitchen.
You must have patience. Managing employees can feel overwhelming but as long as you have patience and the determination to get things done correctly, you will prosper without expending too much energy.

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