“This industry is hard work, and only gets tougher the more you push yourself, which is why it's so important to work alongside people who have the most to teach you. Entrust yourself to those you work for; the lessons you learn from them along the way are invaluable to your success.„
"Perception is reality."- During my time at Del Posto, Chef Mark Ladner would always preach about putting ourselves in the guests shoes and thinking about things from their perspective. Even if our team knows the reality to be different, one bad dish or bad experience can completely alter the guest's perspective, and they may never be back.
"Know thy farmer" - At Stone Barns constantly being pushed and shown new techniques with vegetable and grain cookery really expanded my creative mindset. Even in a short season climate, there are plenty of possibilities to cook delicious and seasonal food within your locale, especially if you are getting out and meeting your farmers.
"Empathy"- Bobby Stuckey engrained this in me. You shouldn't only be empathic towards your guests, but most importantly, towards your employees. Giving people the benefit of the doubt, listening, and making them feel important are all more important factors to curating great talent than how you work in a kitchen.
When I am hiring, I don't care about where you have worked necessarily. I want to get a great idea for who you are as a person. What inspires you? Are you hard-working and professional? Are you a positive person?
You can find inspiration from any book, but for an Italian chef, I believe La Cucina, Food of Italy, and the Silver Spoon are all great foundations.
What grows together goes together. Italian regional cooking teaches you the best pairings for food and wine are usually really apparent. You don't always need to reinvent the wheel, and always try to respect the traditions. Simple is best. Before thinking about what you can add to a dish, consider what you can take away first. Let your ingredients shine!
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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