Working in the kitchen has completely changed in the last five years. You have to treat people with a lot more respect. Just a couple of years ago, chefs would treat you badly, but now we are changing the culture to build people up instead of putting them down.

I’ve worked with some really tough chefs, especially in Spain. Spain was one of the toughest moments in my career because chefs yell at you for anything. So returning to the USA, I have tried to avoid that negative stigma.

While in Spain, I worked for free. Given the times, it is hard to get people to come and stage for you and work for free because everything has become so expensive it is hard to live. But if somebody wants to go to Europe and have that experience, I recommend they research and find a place where you are treated well.

Fine dining can be sustainable to a certain extent. The only issue is that the cost is translated to the guests, which few people are willing to pay. As it stands, a lot of these fine dining establishments survive on the free labor they receive. If you take this away, it’s nearly impossible for them to survive simply because of the manpower needed to achieve the results. This was clearly evident in my experience (2 Michelin stars, no.3 in the world). There was a team of about 15+ stagiaires working at any time. This was almost the same number of BOH people and just as much for FOH in the restaurant’s payroll. This situation with noma shows the rest of the world what some people have gone through to obtain some of the best experiences possible to succeed in this demanding field. We can be sustainable with all our ingredients, but can we do it with our human workforce?