Bryan Lee Weaver

Bryan Lee Weaver

Executive Chef & Partner at Butcher & Bee and Redheaded Stranger

As far as inspiration goes, I constantly read and try to pass along anything of interest to the cooks. We also have a "chef snack" every night at the restaurant for people sitting at the counter. This simple amuse "snack" can be made with anything the staff wants to use in the kitchen. I've found that this process forces the team to think about creating new things every day.

For my own personal education, I read at least one cookbook a week. I check 4-5 blogs weekly/daily. I constantly scour Instagram to see what my peers are doing. I try to eat at every restaurant that opens in Nashville and see what everyone is up to. I just never stop moving.
I've recently learned how to try to maintain a work/life balance. I wake up at 4 AM and go to the gym every day. I make sure my dog gets two walks every day. I've realized that you can make whatever you want to happen, if it's important to you.
The best advice I have received is to care about your staff as people. Ask them about their day, their mom, their life. Just taking an interest in what they do outside of work helps them care more about what they are doing each day. It's easy to get lost in the day-to-day of why somebody can't brunoise something properly, or invoices that need to be entered or whatever; it can be easy to forget how to be a human.
I knew this profession was right for me late in the game. I had worked at greasy spoon type places my whole life. I got my first fine dining job when I was 28 and never looked back. I loved learning how to be a professional and loved learning how to do my job and grow every day.
"On Food and Cooking" by Harold Mcgee has always been my food bible. "The Modernist Cuisine" has jumped into that category as well. Lately, I've loved going back and looking at older books to see what people were doing 50+ years ago. Also, there is also a huge wave of new cooking magazines, that I feel were inspired by Lucky Peach; I really love "Kitchen Work", "Toothache", "Fool", "Life & Thyme", and "Peddler".

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