Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Reflections & Changing Tables

As another year winds down I start to think about what I accomplished these past 365 days. For starters I can tell you that I have been fortunate enough to have developed a stronger relationship with my family all around. My wife and two small children have become a priority over all things, being in this business its difficult to get out of the weeds sometimes and remember that there is life and people that you love outside the 4 walls of your restaurant operation.

My oldest daughter who lives in southern RI,  is becoming a teenager and a soccer superstar, my wife has been a lifesaver keeping up with her soccer games and making sure we get own to watch as many as we can.

My professional life took a turn early this year when I left Tastings Wine Bar & Bistro to work on an upscale crepe concept (Pejamajo )as the corporate chef and director of food of beverage, an great experience with great people and a work schedule that allowed me to rekindle the relationships I had not lost, but had definitely put aside due to the hard work I was putting in to make my restaurants successful.

My Tastings crew & I cooked at the James Beard House for the second time in 2010 ( and secured an invite for 2011!!!). Continue to hold the title of Boston Rising Star Chefs Sustainability Award Winner and spent another few days cooking at the Divas Uncorked Food & Wine Festival (one of my favorite events on the vineyard to be a part of).

I was also very proud to have watched some of my long time right hands move up in their careers, Matt Maue my long tine chef de cuisine took over the helm at Tastings when I left, and my left hand man Imani Greer went back to Atlanta to start his own business, personal chef to some of the top NFL talent in the south.

And now to the changing tables portion of the post............I have been fortunate enough to have been selected as the new Executive Chef for the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel & its adjacent restaurant 606 Congress. Former Executive Chef Greg Griffie was promoted to Director Of Culinary Operations for the Marriott company a few months back, now I must fill some big shoes left by a chef who is now in one the top 3 positions responsible for the culinary direction of the entire Marriott company which includes not only the Renaissance, but also Ritz Carlton, JW Marriott and Marriott hotel brands worldwide.

My new role begins next week and I'm as excited as I have ever been for a new gig. The thrill of getting to cook in the city of Boston again, the opportunity to be responsible for a the culinary direction of a beautiful new property in the up and coming waterfront section of the city and the chance to work with people whom Ive heard nothing but great things about is just the tip of the iceberg for me.

I have lots to be thankful in my life today, I suggest looking back at your year and I'm sure you'll be amazed at all the things you will want to give thanks for tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

New Look Coming Soon

Stay tuned for an updated site in the coming weeks. I have been working hard to develop a new look & feel for the blog and I'm almost done!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Honor Our Military Chefs

from the British TV Series"Combat Chefs"

In honor of veterans day I wanted to share with you another world that many of you don't even know exists.
Military chefs & cooks provide food for our soldier on the ground, generals in Washington and dignitaries from around the world to name a few.

Long are the days of powdered eggs and shit on a shingle ( salted meat, white gravy & toast)....today you'll find an ACF sanctioned program certifying military chefs, training sessions conducted at the Culinary Institute of Americas for the armed forces top culinary talent and cooking competitions around the world featuring world class chefs that just happen to work for the US Military.

CIA has a long history with the military, in fact it was started to help returning war vets learn a skill and get back into the civilian workforce.

I am fortunate enough to  be a US Marine Corps Food Service Specialist (3381) , in late 90's after 3 months of Boot Camp at Paris Island , Marine Corps Combat Training at Camp Lejune I finally landed at Ft. Lee Virginia to attend the USMC food service training school. We were trained with the Army at the Armys Food Service Culinary Academy and this is where I picked up all my basic culinary skills I still use today. I never did attend formal culinary school but looking back at my career and where I am still going the military gave me everything I needed from a basic culinary standpoint, but they also gave me something JWU or CIA could never give me...real world training and military leadership training.

I trained and worked with the 1st Battalion/25 Marines 4 Marine Division stationed at Camp Edwards (today they are at Fort Devens) Although I am no longer wearing the uniform I am as proud to tell people that I am a Marine Cops Combat Cook as I was the day I earned the eagle globe & anchor.

Please take a moment to check out these links and learn more about our Military Chefs and their skills.

Happy Veterans Day!

Military Chefs.com
Military Chef to Civilian Chef (one of the first articles I ever wrote)
Salute to Our Heroes ACF