do you regard as your mentor, or the most influential
Chef that you worked for?
Gabriel Bousquethe was my chef at the Paris Chamber
of Commerce Cooking School. I went to the school after
leaving India. This was the point here I finalized my
'culinary' training, in a formal format. Gabriel saw
that I was serious and recognized my desire to learn
the classic techniques. He took me under his wing and
helped me refine my skills and fill in the blanks of
my culinary knowledge.
What lessons of life did you learn whilst in India,
and how do these effect what you do on a daily basis?
India helped me gain patients and perspective on life,
those two things certainly come into play on a daily
basis in the kitchen.
How has your traveling influence your cooking style?
India and France have both influenced my cooking style.
France in an obvious way, I immersed my self in the
French culinary scene during my time there. If I was
not working in the kitchen I was dragging my wife and
baby daughter around Paris to see the street markets
or to visit a boulangerie or patisserie. This is additionally
were I refined my techniques, so that shines through
India influences in a different way. You lose the consumer
mentality there. Seasonallity is not the base of a cooking
style it is the way of life in every kitchen.
What suggestions would you give to a first time Executive
Chef, using the lessons you learnt when taking over
the kitchen of North Pond Cafe?
Have patients, do not try and change everything
at once and don't fire five line employees on your first
there any aspect of the profession you wish you had
had a better grasp of before you stepped in to this
position? (Executive Chef)
Although I felt that as a chef the time was right for
me, I would have liked to have had a better knowledge
of wines and perhaps had a better understanding of the
way the mind works (mentality). Those are things that
come in time though.
Does your background in economics give you a financial
edge in the kitchen.
In subtle ways; maximizing portability, marketing,
disposable income - general economic notions.......
What are your plans for 2001?
Getting ready for the new restaurant that we are opening
in the first quarter of 2002. It is going to be a predominantly
seafood based menu, with the focus being on sustainable
product. The restaurant will be here in Chicago with
a 270° view of the city and harbor. Additionally
I want to stabilize the kitchen of the N.P.C.
What is your ambition?
I am here professionally. I want to be able to juggle
work and family life, become comfortable with them and
enjoy both too.
A word of advice for the cooks of tomorrow?
Find a good fair chef to work for, then suck it up and
do your time...