Present Employment: Banquet Chef – Loews Royal Pacific Resort
Previous Employment: This is my 3rd Loews Hotel! I worked previously at the Portofino Bay Hotel and the Regency in New York.
Special Awards: Most recently earned a Silver Medal in last year’s ACF USA Culinary Cup Challenge
Schooling/Training: Graduated with AS degree from Johnson & Wales University – Providence, RI – Class of ‘95
Mentor Chefs: I have learned valuable skills in culinary, leadership and management from almost every chef that I have had the pleasure of working for, most notably: Chef John Halligan, Chef Nando Belmonte, and Chef Bernd Mueller.
How did these Chefs impact your career?
The chefs that have impacted me the most have all demonstrated true passion for serving guests and creating memorable experiences. They have pushed me to become better than I was before and challenged me to think outside of the box whether learning to be a better cook, writing better menus or learning how to manage a team better.
Favorite dishes to prepare:
Right now I’m having a lot of fun with the smoker and the sous vide machine. I love they way you can change textures and create intense flavors with these two mediums.
Favorite foods to eat:
That’s a hard question! There are so many different things depending on the mood I’m in. Most often the basics are what please me the most. Just well crafted dishes, simply prepared with super fresh ingredients.
Favorite cook book?
I just finished reading Grant Achatz’s “Life on the Line”. Although it’s not a cookbook, it’s a great read about the dedication he has toward the craft and some of the obstacles he’s faced while creating Alinea.
Ingredients you could not live without?
I could not live without my herb garden! Fresh herbs make such a difference in any dish you prepare. And growing them yourself gives you an additional feeling of pride when you are presenting a dish to a guest.
What gives you pleasure on the job every day?
I love being able to get a reaction from people when they taste something you’ve prepared.
What was your worst disaster in the kitchen?
A couple of years ago, we were loading turkeys into a large carousel-type rotating oven for our Thanksgiving buffet. We had over 700 reservations on the books for brunch and we had just finished loading 24 turkeys into the oven at 6 am. Just as we closed the door we heard a loud snap followed by a crash. A bolt on one of the oven decks had snapped and sent turkeys crashing down into the oven floor. We had to turn off the oven, let cool, and then I had to actually crawl into the oven to rescue the remaining turkeys that were still salvageable. The oven could not be used any more and we had lost several birds.
Two things saved me that day. One, We have two of these ovens, so we had to scramble around and rely on one oven to fire all of our buffet items. Second, We were also serving turkey to our employees in the cafeteria! I don’t remember what we gave them instead of turkey that day.
What advice do you have for new Culinarians?
Perseverance and Patience! I see a lot a young cooks trying to do too much, to fast. Don’t take short cuts and put the time in to really learn the basics like good cooking techniques, proper butchery and sauce making skills. There are a lot of people that come in looking for advanced level positions that can’t make a proper hollandaise, or can’t truss a chicken and roast it perfectly. Don’t just do it once and think you’ve mastered it!