Q: What drew you to the culinary field?
A: Growing up I was always around policemen, firemen, and their families. I always respected how they served the community and helped people around them. Later in life, I was on a waiting list for culinary school and testing for a position in federal law enforcement. I was called up for the culinary school slot first, and this is how my path to the chef world came to be. To this day, I try to serve people and the community through my cooking.
Q: You served as executive chef at several high-profile restaurants in Chicago. What prompted the move west?
A: I had taken a short sabbatical from my job at the time. When I came back, there was an exciting new opening available in Pasadena. How could I go wrong? So, I jumped at this opportunity and became executive chef at The Huntington, and that led me to this new role and the warmer weather, both of which I am ecstatic about.
Q: Goals as new regional executive chef?
A: I look forward to working with other chefs in the area, within Centerplate and that of our parent company Sodexo, and brainstorming and sharing ideas. Pasadena has a great culinary scene and I want to capture as much of that as I can. Everything we serve here will be as fresh as possible, and as authentic to the local cuisine as possible.
A: You can always find me at Heirloom Bakery & Café for breakfast or lunch; Mi Piace is a consistent good meal for me; and Jones Coffee is still the best coffee I have ever had.
Q: What’s your dream event you’d love to cater for?
A: An international swimming event. I’m a competitive swimmer and when I went to the Olympic Trials pool, I was blown away. I would be really excited to see an Olympic-size swimming pool in our exhibit hall and all of the world’s best swimmers here that I could feed.