- Culinary Experience: 35 years. Culinary training at Scarlet Oaks CDC in Sharonville Ohio.
- Culinary Style: Southern regional cuisine.
- Favorite Meal: Fried chicken breast blt sandwich on toasted Hawaiian bread with Thai chili ranch sauce.
- Food Items I Can’t Live Without: Graeters Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.
- Favorite Sports Teams: New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys.
- Food Service Goals: Eventually teach at high school vocational school level and get into kitchen design and redesign to help others be more efficient and organized.
- Career Highlights: Catering to the University of Georgia sky suites for all UGA football games.
RAPID FIRE Q&A
I tend to focus on southern regional ingredients, making a point to use Georgia grown products whenever I can. I try to use ingredients that compliment our award winning wines. I don’t like to get caught up in what the current trends are or what everyone else might be doing. I cook for the moment and focus on the flavors that make up each dish that I prepare.
Reading a lot of cookbooks and food magazines helps inspire me to create new things. I enjoy experimenting with new ingredients other chefs are using and seeing how to best implement these new ideas into our menus.
I have chosen to showcase our pimento cheese sandwich. This sandwich is a good representation of southern food interpreted by a “Yankee” chef, as I have been called before. I have actually been told before that I wouldn’t know how to make certain southern foods because I was from New York. I feel that regardless of where a person comes from, if you know your ingredients, you should be able to harmoniously bring them together to create a great dish.
My mother is who inspired me the the most to become a good chef. I always enjoyed cooking with her when I was a kid. Just about everything she made was fantastic but especially her meatballs, banana bread, and Italian wedding cookies. She was very patient with me and would always find something for me to do to help her.
I love seeing how excited people are when they come up to compliment my food or menus. It is at that point that all the stress and aggravation of food service is forgotten and you’re instead filled with this great feeling of satisfaction, knowing that you made that person’s day with an amazing meal.
I think the biggest challenge has been maintaining the work ethic that I have and not giving into the temptation to do something easier. Let’s face it , a long career as a chef takes its toll on you mentally and physically and it would be real easy to do something that doesn’t beat you up so much. I am thankful that I got my work ethic from my mom’s dad. He was the hardest working man that I have ever met and I try to pattern my work habits after his to honor him.