Interview | Featured Recipes
Q. What influenced you to pursue a career as a chef?
A. I started working in kitchens as a dishwasher when I was 12 years old. The tempo, the energy and the camaraderie in the kitchen felt like home from the first day.
Q. Describe your cooking style?
A. I try to start with the best ingredients I can find and make sure that I don’t overwork and overpower the soul of those ingredients. I like to have a balance between comfortable and familiar with elements that guests are not expecting.
Q. Who taught you the most about food and cooking?
A. Cooking with my Mother as a kid was the beginning. I fell in love with cooking watching Julia Child reruns on PBS but Chef Mel Howard, Chef Eric Lindquist and Waldy Malouf probably had the biggest influences on me.
Q. Describe your journey to get where you are.
A. Developing your cooking skills and cooking style are only one part of the development of a chef. Finding your way as a manager and a leader is equally as complicated. I enjoy developing my skills in business and team management and this has been an ongoing process. I think the biggest key to my success has been finding my way as a teacher. I have had the opportunity to have some amazing mentors who not only taught me the mechanics of being a chef but taught me how to lead and to teach others. If you can’t teach, you can’t be a chef.
Q. If you could choose any chef dead or alive to spend the day with cooking, who would it be and why?
A. Julia Child always enjoyed standing in the kitchen and sharing what she loved with others. She always laughed when things did not go well and truly seemed amazed when things were a hit.
Q. What is your favorite Chefwear item and why?
A. The Organic Cotton Chef Jacket (Stone). I like the organic cotton
Q. What would your last meal on Earth be and why?
A. It changes every day. Today, it would be a slice of Ray’s Pizza (the Original on Spring Street – now closed) and a Piny the Elder on tap.
Q. What advice do you have for the future chefs out there?
A. Always take time to learn from your mistakes. Be humble when you are successful and remember a chef is only as good as those standing around him. It takes a brigade to wow your guests.
Elk Swedish Meatballs