Executive Director of Food & Beverage at Mattos Hospitality
“The best advice I have received is to take your time, and don’t rush. Learn all you can from every station/position and don’t push to grow too quickly. Like any skill, repetition is key to learning both in physical tasks performed by hand and also in training your palate. Your team can only learn from you what you know, so give yourself the gift of a strong culinary education.„
I knew I was at home the moment I first stepped into the kitchen of Gramercy Tavern. I remember the sounds of the callbacks, pans clinking, knives chopping, the smells of things roasting, and the feeling of everyone working to accomplish a unified goal; it was an incredible feeling. I felt so lucky to have found a place where I fit.
Hiring individuals who can listen, take feedback, and humility are crucial components to a happy workplace. We all need to continue striving to be a little better each day, but this only comes through acceptance that we are all still continually learning. Even as an Executive Chef, there is much to learn from your team, and it is always important to remain open to this.
I give each member of the team a great deal of responsibly and treat each member as the chef of their stations. I think creating a culture of ownership and accountability creates inspiration, motivation, and a sense of purpose help to perpetuate the cycle for every member.
I have a desire to promote the hard work of others. Our BOH works incredibly hard to keep our standards high, and our kitchen progressing forward. I feel a sense of duty to help chefs along their journey in the same way many past chefs did for me.
The Union Square Market is a significant source of inspiration for me. I love and get excited about creating something around a unique ingredient to share with others. For me, this is always a determining factor in where and how I cook. I want to be surrounded by the best ingredients and work with the best farms and most passionate farmers.
I love that we are starting to see more naturally foraged foods in the markets - nettles, stonecrop, and lamb's quarters used to be something farmers overlooked. The trend in natural foods and foraging by restaurants, like NOMA, has opened the markets for people to explore these ingredients on their own.
The French Laundry Cookbook is still one of the essential books for a young cook. It covers so many skills that need to be learned and understood at a higher level, the importance of big water blanching, for example. I constantly refer this book to young cooks.
Disclaimer: Individuals featured in the Inspirational Career Timelines section have been nominated by peers, colleagues and/or other members of the hospitality industry. It is to the best of our knowledge that each individual has demonstrated leadership and acted as a positive role model for others.
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