“Coming up with new ideas and constantly tapping into my creativity is what really motivates me. Feeling challenged creatively every day is what I love and what keeps me going.„
While working at Rubicon in San Francisco in 1998-1999, the wine director, Larry Stone, held a tasting for all the line cooks at the restaurant. We tasted a Bordeaux from the 1940s and that tasting really put me on the path I ended up following. Upon tasting the wine, I had this realization that the wine had been produced during World War II and the history behind it really made me think about how food is a vessel to tell someone’s story. That’s when I decided that I really wanted to dedicate my life to this, telling stories through the food I cook.
Aside from skills and experience, passion is really key for anyone who wants to work in the hospitality world. If you are passionate about the work and let it transpire every day, it will be easy to prove to a chef or restaurateur that they should take a chance on you.
I love developing ideas and drawing inspiration from my travels, the food I eat, the experiences I garner, etc. I think there are a lot of similarities between an artist and a chef so, to me, the creative process is pretty similar.
My family is a great source of inspiration – through the things created at home, our travels to domestic and international destinations, our time exploring cafes in Italy, and just daily life with my wife and children. All these experiences inspire me every day. Living in an urban environment such as New York, is also a good way to find inspiration through art, architecture and design. The cosmopolitan allure of the city has definitely had a textural influence on my life and my cooking here.
"The Foods of Italy" by Waverley Root is in my opinion, a fascinating book that takes readers through a detailed history of food throughout the different cities and regions of Italy. It’s a book I read over and over again!
I couldn’t do my job without great coffee and ample creative time. I am constantly developing new dishes, menus, etc. and always take the time to settle in to get the creative process started. I love to let my thoughts wander for a bit before settling on an idea in my mind.
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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