Q: What are 5 ingredients you couldn't live without? A: Pork belly, great vinegar, cheese, kimchi and fish.
Q: What is your favorite type of cuisine (ie: italian, indian, mexican...) and why? A: I dislike this question when I am asked as it pigeonholes a Chef into choosing one fantastic cuisine over another. Almost as unanswerable as "What do you think of Chef Such in Such on TV?" If I had to state which cuisine I prepare more than any other, then it would be Pan Asian. The subtleties of texture and taste, the respect paid to all quality ingredients, the family orientation of the meals, the time and care spent to perfect a recipe and the diversity of the region really speaks to me on so many levels.
Q: What was your favorite menu item to test and what cooking platforms did you use for the solutions? A: I love the challenge of someone saying ‘That won't work in ......" and then doing it. When a toasted sandwich comes out better that what the customer is doing now, and quicker; it's a win-win.
I remember trying to do a seared foie gras with a sauternes gelee when I was training on the Merrychef. I made a lot of foie butter with the rendered fat until I got something I was pleased with.
Q: What is key to the success of building and maintaining client relationships, while assisting them in problem identification and solutions? A: I am currently working on a number of process workflow redesigns; both up and coming chains and established operations looking ahead. Either way, the end goal is basically the same; how do we increase speed of service, while increasing quality and consistency at a lower energy cost and less labor? Oh, and we want versatility for future expansions that we cannot divulge yet.
It is those clients where a long-term relationship is paramount to the success for the business and for Manitowoc Foodservice. It's a partnership, one that is constantly evolving. That first ‘Chef to Chef' interaction may then become ‘Chefs to Ops Manager', and ‘Chefs to purchasing, then the nucleus of change increases to involve management and senior management until everyone knows that it's the right direction.
Q: There are always challenges, no matter what industry you work in, how does your team turn challenges into opportunities? A: They are all challenging in their own ways. Personally, I find that the most difficult aspect is walking in without all my necessary information. There is a certain uneasiness associated with a type A Chef and not having his mise en place. What's the Marine mantra? Improvise, overcome and adapt? We are all professionals, we as culinarians are trained to get it done regardless of obstacle or situation. I am lucky in that the Manitowoc Business Development team are all culinary professionals who have earned their toque, are not afraid to dig in and make it happen. Don't tell my boss I said that.