What question do customers commonly ask you?
I am most commonly asked what my style of cooking is. My response is that even though I am classically French trained, I like to utilize various cooking methods for variety, including braising, broiling, smoking, and curing.
Do you have a favorite story from your work?
Having Ozzie Smith tell me how much he enjoyed the barbeque buffet I prepared was definitely a highlight of living here in St. Louis!
What advice do you have for private catering clients?
Communication, communication, communication! The more you can direct your chef, the better they can fulfill your requirements. Don't give up on a caterer until you talk with them one-on-one. You'll then have a better feel for whether or not they meet your needs.
Describe the most common jobs you do.
Our most common jobs are home entertaining, catering meals in clients' homes for some type of event. Birthday, cocktail, engagement, and holiday parties are just a few. Events have included wine-pairing dinners, buffets, and appetizer offerings.
Do you engage in continuing education?
I find keeping up with current trends and new ways of cooking using various forms of media is a great way to continue educating myself. I also enjoy networking with other chefs, which helps me stay up to date. And last, but not least, experimental cooking at home with my wife has sparked many great dish ideas.
What would you suggest to those entering your profession?
I would suggest doing an apprenticeship at a place like a country club, as I did. It allows you to diversify your skills and work with a variety of cuisines and cooking methods. An opportunity like that will prevent you from getting stuck in one style of cuisine.
What should clients think about before calling you?
It is very important to know what services you require. Particularly, think about whether you simply want food dropped off or if you need additional tasks taken care of, such as setup, serving, takedown, or more. It's also important that you anticipate whether you need additional items such as tableware.
Do you have insider secrets to share?
I think knowing flavor combinations are critical and can help diversify your offerings. A simple example is salmon and dill. Once you know that those flavors work well together, you can put them together in a variety of dishes. I have experimented a lot over the years, and I would say that is one of the most helpful skills a chef can have.
What do you wish clients knew about you?
I have a true passion for this job. That's what it takes to endure the long hours and labor-intensive days required to be a good chef. And attention to detail is extremely important to me.
How did you decide to get in your line of work?
After fulfilling my dream of being a jet engine mechanic in the Air Force, I decided to change my career path completely and enroll in culinary school. I wanted to pursue an interest I had enjoyed since childhood. Ever since I could reach the stove, I liked to make Swedish pancakes and experiment with cooking. Even as a kid, heating up something simple like canned food, I loved adding more ingredients to augment the flavor.
Tell us about a recent job you are particularly proud of.
I catered nine specifically themed appetizers for a high-profile event, and I only had the venue's back hallway as a staging area--no kitchen! There were 480 people there. Needless to say, catering can be a logistical nightmare, but if you know what you are doing and pre-plan, it can be executed without errors. I am really proud of this particular event and others like it.
What are the latest developments in your field?
Farm-to-table is definitely a trend that will evolve into a commonplace routine in dining. People are becoming more and more conscious of healthy eating and utilizing local products.
Why should a client hire you?
I have worked with a lot of great companies over the years, and I love the work. If you take the time to talk with me one-on-one, you'll see that I am eager to provide you with delicious foods that align with your budget, event, and food preferences.
What is your greatest strength?
Clients tell me they enjoy my personality. I am easygoing and personable, which I think helps to ease my clients' minds during times that might be highly stressful.