Three Chefs.

In my relatively short time as a cook, i have had the pleasure of working with some of the finest people a guy could know. This isn't to say I haven't worked with some of the most obnoxious assholes that live in the greater bay area--but for the most part, I get to cook with people I like. There are three though, that have completely changed the way I cook and look at food.

Ginger Pierce

Ginger and I were in culinary school together. She was straight edge and vegan then. We worked together on many, many projects in school together, and even catered a wedding. She worked at Roxanne's...which despite Bourdain's arguments, was actually a pretty interesting restaurant. When that place closed, she packed up and moved to New York and ended up working at Barbuto, for John Waxman. After slugging it out for a while, she became sous chef, and now is chef de cuisine at Provence. There always seemed to be an underlying competition going on between us...although it was always friendly. I have to admit though....competition or not, she would absolutely destroy me in the kitchen, every day. Her technique and ever increasing food knowledge made me race to keep up...and speaking to her now, she's breaking down whole animals for guanciale, lardo, hams, and loins. She's no longer straight edge...nor vegan...so when we hang out we booze and smoke cigarettes and eat. When we talk, it's almost always about food. I miss her...all the time.

Chris Rossi

Rossi (or Robocop, as he's known to most of the cooks that have worked with him) is a guy I get to cook with every day--we work in the same restaurant. In the basic skills class at school, we were at the same table. I think we both sensed a fair amount of talent and drive in the other, so naturally we did not trust each other. A quick nod was about as much communicating as we did with one another...for a couple of weeks. Eventually, we ended up being paired together to roll sushi...just the two of us, and a couple hundred rolls. We skipped dinner...and over a few quick hours, became friends. Rossi is my everyday go to guy...someone I know will give me honest criticism, no matter what. I've been on the line with him, been yelled at with him, and have had some of my proudest cooking moments with him...(and some of my least proud drinking moments...but that's another story.) Sharing a co-sous spot with him is probably more than either of us could've asked for back in school.

Joey Rachel

When I first met Joey, he was a food runner. He talked to me about cooking...and after all the FOH people I had worked with that said things like "I could do your job", I had pretty much had it. I gave him a quenelle of duck fat garnished with berries and mint and told him it was ice cream. He ate it, and trying to be polite, told me something was off in my ice cream base.
Three weeks later, he was working in the kitchen. Joey and I are almost polar opposites when it comes to style. I have to admit--I learned almost all aspects of sous vide cuisine with him. We used to stay late and gel and sous vide and drink beers. Every Sunday he would hit up the farmers market and cook a special staff meal. His knowledge of food, and simplicity in his style have really stuck with me. Now he works at Dopo...and continues to evolve as a cook. Us cooking dinner together each week on our nights off is always interesting...two styles, seemingly in conflict with another...somehow working so harmoniously. When he worked a few nights with me and Rossi, all my line cooks were in awe of him--asking me in whispers "What restaurant is he the chef at?"

Without these three people, I wouldnt push myself, take as many risks, or be where I am. Three very different chefs, that I owe alot to. Having a mentor is great...and important...but it's the people you stand over the stove with that will change you the most.

Powered by ScribeFire.

No comments: