Joe Frillman

Joe Frillman

Executive Chef and Proprietor of Daisies

Patience is one of the most important qualities to possess. It carries through every aspect of your life. I feel like more and more these days, everyone’s in a perpetual rush. Patience alone has changed the course of my career.

Service is more important than the food. The food absolutely matters almost as much; however, guests may remember one, maybe two, dishes they ate years later, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
I took the most lessons away from my experience as part of the opening crew of a 60-seat nose-to-tail spot where the chef/owner worked the line next to us on a daily basis. This dude was at Café Boulud when it was under Andrew Carmellini — he was a technical juggernaut. Every day all we did was try to keep up with one another. It was punishing work. He relentlessly challenged me on a daily basis to try and purposefully bury me. A third of the menu changed weekly. From 9:30am-1:00am, it was non-stop in the shits, pushing me into every scenario during service to see how I would react. This experience ultimately built the foundation of my career — lessons that later on led me to consider taking on my own restaurant.
Can you work as a member of a team? This is the number one quality that we look for when recruiting. We look for people that are open to learning anything. We hire people to be a part of a team, where they may be performing jobs outside of what they were initially hired for at times. The strongest people I have ever worked with are those that are able to embrace change and challenges and can assume new roles if necessary, in a team environment.
Communication is the most important skill to possess. The root of a lot of frustration is a lack of communication, which often festers and leads to employee turnover. Since day one, we have tried to limit employee turnover with employment incentives, benefits, etc. Turnover is expensive. But no matter how much you offer, if you can’t communicate internally as a company, you will have a hard time keeping employees — which means you’ll have a harder time making money, which means a harder time staying open, and so on.
The people that work here continue to inspire me every day. We want to build around them. I enjoy growing the business and expanding to create opportunities for the people that work here. It’s always been our goal to create as many careers instead of just ‘jobs’ for them. In turn, they inspire me by challenging me to be a better employer. We try to have open and real conversations about not only work, but also their lives outside the industry.
I would not be able to do my job without the support system around me; I have a wife and two kids under four who keep me constantly grounded. I try to escape work for a few hours a day to consume as much as I can of them. My wife’s a teacher who grew up in a restaurant family, so she understands the industry and is the first to tell me when something sucks. My friends and family’s flexibility over the years has been the largest part of my ability to do this for a living.

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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