There is so much to learn on a daily basis, anywhere from history, different cultures and new techniques. But it’s also about being able to pass along that knowledge to the next generation of cooks and then translate that to the guests and see them smile once they taste the dish. It’s very gratifying. We get to see people smile every day. We get to give taste memories.
There’s a lot of skills that are key to growth in our industry: learning to be quiet and listen, don’t argue, and take copious notes. Common sense is really powerful in the kitchen. Communicate on a regular basis, and don’t be afraid to over communicate. Lastly be humble and know when you make a mistake.
Marco Pierre White is an inspirational mentor. He reminds me that it’s not about what you look like, it’s about what you are putting on the plate. You don’t have to fit the mold, you have to focus on your flavors and what you are cooking
Every job has impact on your career. The worst job is usually the most important job because it teaches you what not to do.
It’s about finding someone who is excited, positive and has a great attitude. You do need to have some cooking skills but you have to be ready to grow from within. It’s finding people who are passionate and honest with who they want to be.
I try to keep everyone motivated with positive reinforcement. I also like to push their strengths but challenge their weakness even further to help them grow. We also take care of our staff, providing them health benefits, giving them time off when they need it. I also like to give them a cooking utensil or cookbook during the holidays. Reading is a very powerful educational tool.
Try to be a great chef first but don’t force what you are not ready for.
I cannot live without my palate and my team. You need to inspire them to be able to produce the quality you are looking for and represent the restaurant with pride. It’s very powerful.
Mark Miller was the first real chef I ever worked for. He always taught me to know your history: know where your food comes first before you think you can recreate the future. That goes for everything, whether it’s flavor, technique, or creating a new dish. He also taught me to use acids and herbs before salt: build big flavors first and then season.
I have a cookbook library of over 2000. I eat out and travel as much as I can. Always trying to build flavor profiles in my head and using new techniques.