Certification: Certified Executive Chef
Past Employment: Normans @ The Ritz Carlton, The Ritz Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes
School/Training: Graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Orlando, Staged at several places in New York City and Washington DC.
Mentor Chefs: Clay Miller, formally of Normans @ The Ritz Carlton now Trummers on Main in Clifton, Va ; Sean Woods of The Ritz Carlton Orlando Grandelakes.
How did these Chefs impact your career: Chef Miller and Chef Woods have very similar styles in the kitchen. The main thing that I learned from them was their extreme attention to detail. Chef Miller taught me to treat everything in the kitchen with respect whether it was a piece of equipment or the most expensive ingredient. I learned very early from both that it’s the little things that we do every day that make us successful.
Favorite dish to prepare: All types of BBQ. I love the smoky flavors that come with making it.
Favorite food to eat: I have had the pleasure of eating at some of the top places in the country and yet I still think my favorite food is just a well made cheeseburger with fries.
Favorite cookbook: Of course The French Laundry Cookbook is one of my favorites. A couple other ones I enjoy are Ratio by Michael Ruhlman and Momofoku by David Chang.
Ingredient you could not live without: Sherry vinegar
What Gives You pleasure on the job every day? Teaching is not something I originally set out to do out of culinary school. It is really enjoyable to see when that “light” comes on in a student’s eyes and he or she gets what I am explaining.
What is the worst disaster in the kitchen: Returning from a break to find Chef Miller going through my entire mise en place for my station and watching him throw all of it away 15 minutes before service started for trying to take a shortcut on one of my items.
How did you turn it around: The entire kitchen staff had to scramble and re-prep, in 15 minutes, what I had just spent 5 hours prepping. I learned right then and there to never take shortcuts!!!
What Advice do you give for new culinarians? READ, READ, READ!!! Always be eager to learn more. Have fun!! At the end of the day, we are just playing with food.