Taste all the time, but do it consciously. Think about what, why, and how this tastes so good (or bad!).
Keep your head down and strive to improve your craft every minute of every day.
When I was fifteen, I got a job as a prep cook at a gritty fried seafood restaurant in Newburyport, MA. I worked with convicts on a work-release program. It was like being a pirate on a ship and I've never turned back.
Knife skills are the root of your ability as a cook, but leadership skills are imperative for a chef.
I cannot do my job without knives. I love knives, I have over twenty in my collection...it's an addiction.
When hiring cooks, I look for positivity, a lack of ego, the drive to progress, openness to new a thought process, and good humor.
I drive my team to learn from each other and myself, as much as they can every day. I also show them that I learn from them daily and I've found that it keeps everyone grounded and cultivates teamwork.
I love the writings of Ottolenghi, Dan Barber, everyone from Tartine and Bar Tartine, Harold Mcgee, Paul Pertolli, and Alice Waters, to name a few. I enjoy reading restaurant reviews as well!
Never take criticism personally, use it to push yourself to get better
Make your luck. Don't wait for it to fall from heaven.
Working with Mikey Stern at Michaels in Santa Monica, had a huge impact on my career. I started at the bottom but he saw potential in me, and coached me to become his sous chef. He drove me to create every day, and to really think about food. I would not be where I am today in my career without his support.