Q: How did you get involved in cooking to begin with? Was it something you learned to love early on or did you come to it later?
I grew up in home where sitting at the table on Sunday afternoon was the highlight of our week. I would watch my Mother or Grandmother create these southern dishes that were so good. It wasn’t at that time that I realized that these moments would materialize into my career as it is today. The only experience I had with cooking at an early age was making breakfast for my two older sisters. My goal was to be able to flip the largest omelet and have all the ingredients be cooked to perfection. I decided to pursue a career in culinary but wasn’t sure if this was what I wanted to do until my first day of school. We reported to school at 7:00 am dressed in our whites with our new knives and met our first instructor. He began stressing that most of us may make another career change since the business is so difficult to be successful. That’s what sparked my interest. I decided at that point that this chef had challenged all of us to step into the world of cooking and give it a try. This gentleman later became my mentor and he is the reason I have experienced success in this business. He said to me that if you commit yourself to our craft then it will commit to you. There is no substitute for passion.
Q: Why is eating grass-fed meat and sustainably-caught fish different? How does it affect your cooking?
We can make better decisions about the products that we use on a daily basis. These decisions can truly benefit the environment that we cohabitate with nature. I believe that this choice fulfills our bodies’ physical requirement for sound nutrition only achieved through quality products. This product choice can also provide positive mental thoughts to the chef and customer knowing that our choice of product will benefit our environment.
Q: Is it just about health? Or is there more to it than that?
There are many benefits of grass fed products but there may be none more important than its health benefits. Its ability to mimic fat ratios of fish is motivating to many consumers who enjoy red meat. The health benefit of sustainably-caught fish speaks for itself but its benefit to the environment is something that we can all share.
Q: How did you learn about grass-fed meat?
I am fortunate I learned about grass fed beef direct from the source US Wellness Meats (John Wood).
Q: Why is it so important to have the right ingredients?
I tell my apprentices and cooks you can’t start with poor quality ingredients and expect to finish up with something spectacular.
Q: What are the most important keys to success for the home chef?
Plan your meals out but have fun and don’t be afraid to experiment once you have an understanding of your product. Read all the materials you can get your hands on. Never be afraid to reach out to local chefs and inquire about a one or two day stage.
Q: What are your best tips for home cooking?
Understand who your audience is before planning a party menu. Showcase what you do well, even if it’s really simple. Simple dishes done to perfection are better than a complex dish that is poorly executed.
Q: What is your favorite recipe using grass-fed meat?
The Beef Wellington featured on you tube.