I am a chef and entrepreneur who grew up in Los Angeles, CA. But I’m not like most chefs. I had the privilege to go to Brentwood High School, a place where many students go on to work for their parents, or a hedge fund, or law school, or something else fantastically prestigious. But not me. I decided I wanted to be a chef at the ripe age of 12. So I started a small catering company and cooked for any poor sap who was willing to eat the crap that I was trying to execute.
A year later, I met Josiah Citrin of Melisse Restaurant (in Santa Monica, CA) where I proceeded to work on weekends and holidays throughout middle school and high school. Between junior and senior year of high school, I worked at Joel Robuchon at the Mansion in the MGM Grand (in Las Vegas, NV). Yes, my mother let me move to Vegas by myself for a summer at age 17. No, she does not have any psychological disorders.
After high school, my friends and family pushed me to go to college rather than cook in kitchens (see? I’m not a normal chef). I’m so glad they did. I attended the Cornell School of Hotel Administration and learned how to run a business in the hospitality industry. While attending Cornell, I worked at Chef Grant Achatz’s Alinea Restaurant (Chicago, IL) and at restauranteur Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (New York, NY).
After graduating, I worked for Hillstone Restaurant Group as a culinary manager (no need to tell you where because they moved me 7 times in 2 years!). I decided I wanted to move to Italy, so I booked a one-way flight. Too bad I didn’t have this blog back then, because you guys missed out on some seriously amazing adventures. There are days where I would walk around until I found a pasta shop, ask to work with them for a few hours, and end up making fresh pasta with 3 generations of a family under the same roof (suck it, Aziz).
When I came back I moved on to work as Chef de Cuisine for Factory Kitchen (Los Angeles, CA). Well, not exactly. I came on as a Sous Chef, but moved up quickly because I figured out how to out-work the guy who was supposed to be brought on as my boss.
Most recently as of this writing, I ended my tenure as Executive Chef at Bottlefish. Now I’m working on opening up my own restaurant at the age of 26 (no, I do not have any psychological disorders either).
I believe that recipes don’t make a chef great, but execution does. I also believe in spreading the wealth of knowledge and apparently the internet agree with me! Don’t be surprised if you see a lot of recipes from this blog on my menu at my new restaurant concept.