VP of Operations, Blue Bridge Hospitality
Past: Urban Solace, Solace & the Moonlight Lounge, Sea & Smoke, Willi’s Seafood and Raw Bar, Hospitality Inc., Scott’s Seafood
What is the first recipe you ever baked?
40 years ago, it was probably some sort of mushroom soup-based casserole that was so prevalent in the late 70’s/early 80’s. Professionally, when I was first a sous chef, I remember making a halibut dish with canned artichoke hearts, brine from the artichoke, white wine, dill and cold butter. I remember being so surprised that it tasted nothing like I expected, mainly because of the interplay of the acidity, the fresh dill, and the butter. I was sort of stunned by how tasty, different and simple it was.
What’s your favorite thing to cook at home?
Having been spoiled for so many years by commercial kitchen equipment, I tend to use the grill in my backyard more than the stove in the kitchen.
What’s your go-to dessert?
ANYTHING SWEET. I’m a sugar junkie. I love ice cream, a really good chocolate cake, but my favorite dessert of all is a perfect éclair.
What inspired you to become a chef?
I actually had no intention of doing this for a living. I started working in kitchens my freshman year of high school and kept moving up in the industry before landing a sous position during my college years. Eventually I realized that I really loved running kitchens and decided to abandon the college direction.
What advice would you offer to anyone looking to start a culinary career?
So much has changed in the years I’ve been doing this, but at the risk of sounding like an old codger, young kids need to have the right motivations for wanting to become a chef. Very few chefs will ever achieve notoriety and if they do, it should take years to achieve. You have to put in thousands of hours of practice at every stage of kitchen development, from knife skills, to cooking under extreme pressure, to learning how to manage people and dollars. It’s truly a very complicated industry and complicated job that just can’t be learned in a a couple years of schooling or restaurant work. Don’t rush it.