Career Path With Cheese

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a career narrative covering significant professional learning opportunities

Text of Career Path With Cheese

  • 1.Myparticularskillsetistheproductofthesumtotalof experiencesandtrainingabsorbedthroughoutmyworking life.Therearemoreskillstobelearnedwithintheculinary professionthanthereareholesinabigwheelofSwiss;andmycareerpathhastakenmethroughabiggerwedgethanmost.Highlightsofmynearly30yearsinthecheese follows.

2. Istartedinthefoodindustryat15inWestport SeveralmanagerslefttheVieDFranceGroupCt,andworkingatapopularlocalTexMexandIfollowedthem,workingwithanRestaurantVivaZapatas,asbusboyandprep expandingrestaurantgroupdevelopedbyacook.Iworkedthereweekendsandsummersalllargefamilyownedprocessedmeatscompanyinthroughhighschoolandcollege.Ialsoworked theBaltimoreDCMetropolitancorridor,forRestaurateurDavidDeRosaatDeRosas MurraysMeats.TherestaurantdivisionwasTrattorianeItalian,andMasterChefGeorge namedNewYork,NewYorkRestaurants.TheLorensclassicFrench,inSaugatuck,Ct.AndforrstpropertyopenedonKStreetbetween19thafewsummersItrainedintoNewYorkCityandand20th.Iopenedthishighvolumehighcasualworkedinacoupleofcafesonandaround restauranttherstyear,thesecondpropertyonHoustonStreet. RockvillePikeinMarylandthenextyear,and AftercollegeIreturnedtoDCandbeganto thethirdunitinRosslyn,VAtheyearfollowing.workasalinecookfortheVieDFrance Iloveditall.Multiunitconsistencies,Corporation.Afterayearaskitchenmanager,I demographicmenutuningwasfortunatetoworkcloselywiththecorporatechefRiceRussellandCorporateComptrollerGeneHuntwhiletheywerefocusingonanaggressiveexpansionplantoopensixnewrestaurantsintheDCareainabrieftwoyearwindow.IwasthepreopeningKMforseveralproperties.PreOpeningExperience,CorporateControls 3. AtveyearsorsoworkingfulltimeandtrainedChefDinahNargilIappliedmyselfenjoyingitIreachedmyrstcareerpath passionatelytolearningallIcouldinthissmall,decision.Iwasakitchenmanagerbutnota excitingkitchen.Itwasscratchcooking,strictlychefandIsawnowaytobecomeoneinmy Frenchtechniqueandcuisine,witharelianceonworkingtrajectory.AlthoughIwasstudying thehighestqualityandfreshnessoftheproduct.everythingIcouldgetmyhandson,theonly ThesekeyprincipleshavebeenmyframeworkculinaryIdlearnedwasfromcoworkers:lineasachefsince.Premiumqualityproducts,cooks,prepcooks,dishwashers,andmyrst Frenchtechnique,Frenchclassics,Unionkitchenmanagers;noneofwhichhadany relationsformaltraining. Ipossessedstrongpreopeningandkitchenoperationstraining,buthadexperiencedonlyverybasicculinarytodate.AsIsawitmyoptionsweretomoveintoseniormanagementwithcorporatemultiunitrestaurantchainsorgowhereIcouldlearntocookandpursueahigherculinarypath.Ihadwantedtobeacheffromtheageofve,sothisisthedecisionImade. ItookapositionasExecutiveChefatTheStatePlazaHotel,aboutiquepropertyinFoggyBottom,DC.ThereIworkedforandunderthetutelageoftheF&BDirector,CordonBleu 4. WithtwoyearsatTheStatePlazaIlefttowork beganmytraininginpastryanddessertwork.asRoundsmanSousforChefRobertNeroni.WhileatPippinsImettheGMoftheSiwanoyChefNeronicametoDCtoopenanewconcept CountryClubinBronxville,NY.;shortlyafterrestaurantBradshawsbasedonCaliforniathatIbecametheExecutiveChefthere.inuencednewamericancuisine.ChefNeroni AtSiwanoyCCIbenettedfromtrainingwithworkedasCorporateChefforMarriott,and MasterChefConradRenkin,whowasalifetimeamongaweightofimpressiveaccolades,hewas friendoftheClubManagerandwasbroughtintherstAmericancheftowinagoldmedalintoteachmethecountryclubsideofthetheInternationalCulinaryOlympics.Style,business.ThehighlightofChefRenkinsstaycuisinetrending,regionalAmericanwithmeatSiwanoywasourhostingthePGAs IhavealwaysfeltChefNeronidiscoveredme.75AnniversaryGolfTournamentMemberGuestHisinterestandopinionofmycookinginspiredEvent,a5daynationallytelevisedaair.metotakeamoreseriouslookatmypotential.CountryClub&GolfClubExperience,OurcommongroundwastheregionalAmericanCuisineofNewEnglandcuisinethentakingonationally,andChefNeroniadvisedtraveltogetmoreexposureandexperiencewiththebestofthebest.Hepointedoutparticularchefsandcities.Ifollowedhisadvice. ImovedtoNYCandworkedwithChefSophieBoudreauofPippinsRestaurantin7Corners,Scarsdale.ChefBoudreauwasacertiedmasterpastrychef,ParisCordonBleutrained;hereI 5. FromSiwanoyCCImovedtoNewOrleansto ThemostrenownedchefinHoustonduringworkforAlexPatoutthennamedatoptencheftheseyearswasRobertMcGrathoftheFourinAmericabyBonAppetiteMagazine.ItrainedSeasonsHotel.ChefMcGrathwasaCertiedunderPatoutsExecutiveChefRusty.ChefRusty MasterChefandJamesBeardAwardwinner.HewasatrueLouisianawaterbasintugboat wasamongthevanguardofthemostexcitingcaptainssonandrstmate.TheclassiccuisineofthetimeSouthwestAmericancuisine,LouisiannaAcadianCreoleandCajuncuisinesalongwithChefsRobertDelGrandeatCafwereelevatedtohighstyleinthesedining AnnieandDeanFearinginDallas,andMarkrooms,servedonrealchinabytuxedowearing MillerinNewMexico.Itwasbignewswhenwaiters. ChefMcGrathannouncedhewasleavingthe FormytrainingIstartedbymakingtheroux, FourSeasonstoopenhisownplace.Isoughtthenpickingcrabmeatsavingthecrabfatforandreceivedtheexecsous/chefdecuisinepostgumbos;nextImovedtosmokingwholepigsattheSierraGrill.TheSierraGrillwasnamedandspicedtassointherooftopsmoker/slow toptennewrestaurantsofAmericathatyearbycooker,andnishedwithstungboudinFoodCriticJohnMarianiofEsquireMagazine.sausage.OnvividmemoryfromthisperiodisaInnovative,modern,SouthwestCuisine,highweekendspentonthebayougiggingfreshfrogsprole,highvolumealacartefromaJohnboat,thenshootingandroastinglocalducks.LaterImovedtoHoustonandopenedPatoutsrestaurantinHouston,workingtheretwoyearsasExecutiveChef.CuisineofNewOrleansAcadianCreoleCookery. 6. AfterChefMcGrathlefttheSierraGrilltoopenanchoredbytheprestigiousTremontHotel,a4TheRoaringForkinScottsdale,Arizona,Itook starboutiquepropertyandMr.Mitchellstheexecchefpositionofanewrestaurantgemstone.WhileinGalvestonIopenedajazzLaGrigliabynationallyrecognizedrestaurateur cafandalsoanoldfashionedicecreamparlorTonyVallone.MrValloneisowner/operatorof calledSassparillasforMitchellProperties.ThatTonysandseveralotherhighcuisine yearIdevelopedatrademarkedlineofrestaurantsintheexclusiveRiverOakssection avorings,spicerubsandsaucesnamedGofHouston,Texas.TonysisItalian/continentalSpice,FlavorsoftheGulfCoast.Multioutletlongrecognizedasoneoftheoutstanding management,Intellectualproperty&restaurantsintheUnitedStates.Again,Esquiretrademarks,Boutiquehotels,UnionnamedLaGrigliatoptennewrestaurantsofrelationsAmerica.Highprole,highvolumeModernItalian/Tuscancuisine IspentayearasExecutiveChefforMr.GeorgeMitchellofGalveston,Texas.Mr.MitchellisoneofthemostprominentandwealthiestofTexasbusinessmen.Ihandledhisvefood&BeveragepropertiesonTheStrand,whichiscomprisedofaluxuriousfewblocksneartheshingwharvesandworkingharborinGalveston.TheStrandis 7. AtthispointIfeltreadytoopenmyown Mostpersonallyrewarding,IopenedMicksGulfrestaurantandbegantolookforsweatequityCoastGrillforrestaurateurMickeyWootenwithpartners.Thismeantlotsofopeningsandrisk aNewOrleansbayou&wildgamethemedtaking,butIwasonthepathtomyownspot.menuandwasgreatlyapplaudedforit.InfactFirstIstudiedhowtowriteandprepareaproperthatyeartheHoustonChroniclenamedmeBusinessPlan.Thenhowtoworkwith HoustonsChefoftheYearformyworkatcontractorsandthecitytogetplansapproved.IMicks.beganspeakingwithrestaurantbrokersand NextIrenovatedandoperatedanupscaleBedlookingatproperties.Ilearnedhowtoratea andBreakfastinSimontonTexascalledthelocation,howtodoacompetitiveanalysis,andSimontonInn,forgourmandsandanabsenteethemyriadoflittledetailsthatgointotheowner.WhiletheGM/ChefattheSimontonInnopeningofarestaurant.AndIlookedforboth IcompetedintheTexasOpenWildGameCookowner/operatorsandinvestors.O,winningallcategories. ImanagedtoopenseveralsmallindependentlyownedMom&Pops;asmallcafeSaints&Sinners,forthesocialitePapadakisfamily, SKILLS:PreOpenings,MultiUnitCorporateownersofJamesConeyIslandTexasfranchise.I Chef,USDAinspectedHighVolumeevenassistedwiththeexpantionofanCommissaryKitchen,RetailSales&independentlyownedrestaurantgroupBerryhill Distributions,Bed&BreakfastGM/ChefHotTamalesfromonetothreeunitswhilealsoinstallingaUSDAinspectedcommissarykitchentodevelopandsupportplannedretailsalesnationally.LaterIopenedacasualfamilystyleItalianbistroVincentsofBellaire. 8. AndnallyIopenedmyownrestaurant,droppedout,explainingtheownerofhiscurrentGregorys.ByanyculinarymeasureGregoryspositionhadoeredhimapercentageofthewasacriticalsuccess,servinghautecuisine restaurantratherthanlosehim.Thiswaspreparedwithingredientsnativetothe nothingshortofanoperationaldisaster,forLouisianna/Texasbasininabeautiful60seat boththediningroomservicesandthebusinessdiningroomandcigarbar.Thepubliclovedthe managementside.Andwiththeopeninglessplaceandthepresswasuniformlypositiveasfar thanaweeklatertheearlyreviewsreectedtheasthefoodwasconcerned.Wewereastrictly loss.BusinessPlans,CorporateStructuring,ScratchKitchen,preparingourownbreads,LeaseNegotiations,SweatEquity,pastas,anddesserts.WeevenmadeourownPartnershipsandInvestorRelationsketchup,mayoandmustard.Afterdreamingof Unfortunately,eachofthesestartupoperationsmyownplaceforthewholeofmycareertothat includingmyown,whilecriticallyacclaimed,point,thetightfocus,theinspirationandthe provedshortlivedowingtothetypicalnancialthrillofitwasevidentontheplate. shortfallofundercapitalization.ConceptStart Theservice,however,wasfoundlackingand ups,GulfCoastCuisine,Restaurantinconsistentandnowonder.Thefrontoftheownership,BusinessAccountinghouseoperationshadbeenwhollyconceivedandplannedwithacolleagueofminehimselfabrilliantrestaurantmanagerandlocallyfamousmaitred.HeandIhadagreedtoopenourownplaceandworkedouttheconceptforGregorysafulltwoyearspriortotheactualopeningdate. Howeverjustdaysfrompreopeningserviceshe 9. Heremycareertookadramaticturn.Imovedtokitchen.Lotsofprimerib,roastchicken,andletNYCtobeExecutiveSous/ViewComplexChefatmignon.SimpleitemsontheViewsmenucametheMarriottMarquisinTimesSquare.Mytenureat fromthebanquetstaevenwhippedpotatoes.thisspectacularhotelchangedmycareer.Hereafter WithChefMcNeillIworkedtodevelopantwentyyearsinthebusinessIlearnedtobea atmosphereofchange.Webeganaseriesofmenuprofessionalchef,andnetunedeveryfacetofmy andserviceupgradesevery