“I’ve always said that I stumbled into the kitchen, it wasn’t something I chased or envisioned even though my mom and dad tell me those stories where I’d always walked into the kitchen at their restaurant to ask the Chef for food when I was young. It wasn’t until my first job in the kitchen, which wasn’t even my first choice, that I realized this is what I wanted.

Honestly, it’s almost a love-hate relationship; you need tough skin to do what we do, and it’s always been an inner battle with masochism, in a way. You can certainly lose a lot while working in this industry, I can guarantee that a part of my failed marriage was my workaholism and my dedication to the craft.

When people ask me if I would recommend this career, I say no, because you will have to deal with lots of stress – I’ve personally lost a good friend to this career; the first chef to ever inspire me and light up the fire in me for this career. After he battled with depression and addiction for years, he took his life and left me wondering how it came to this. Despite working in a kitchen being such a struggle, it’s also a constant thrill. Getting your ass kicked during a busy service is something else, and rocking your station and calling tickets out while you feel the heat of the wood grill behind you is incomparable in the levels of adrenaline you feel.

Today my philosophy is simple. Have fun. We are not saving lives, we are only cooking and serving guests. People take shit to another level, act like we’re neurosurgeons and people’s lives depended on us. I’ve experienced that during my time in California, working in a 2-star restaurant, and will never forget it! That place almost broke me, it gave me the ass-whooping I needed in my career to realize what I wanted, but the head chef was something else – taking his job extremely seriously. I got it, partly – there was a lot at stake, but at the same time, we weren’t saving lives, just making food that people eventually pass, anyway. It’s crazy to think about all the time and effort that goes into creating every dish – and that’s not counting all the time and effort that goes in before we even begin prep at the restaurant.”