Introductions and getting to know you.

Discussion in 'The Late Night Cafe (off-topic)' started by nicko, Jul 6, 2000.

  1. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    I would just like to welcome everyone to The ChefTalk Cafe Discussion Boards here on ChefTalkCafe.com. It is our goal to bring together the large extended community of professional chefs, cooks, culinary students, those seeking chefs cooking advice, and basically anyone who loves to cook. Now you can talk with other chefs from around the world about issues that affect our industry in a way you never could before.

    So why not introduce yourself, share how you got your start in the business and where you are working now. You'll be glad you did.

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    Best Regards,

    Nicko
    [email protected]
     
  2. jim berman

    jim berman

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    Well, I'll be happy to step up to the Mic.

    I am currently the Executive Chef and General Manager at the Brandywine River Museum, a unit managed by Sodexho Marriott. In addition, I am the district Information Technology (IT) assistant and district safety coordinator.
    My first cooking position was by mistake. I went to a small fishing club in Ontario to be a waiter for the summer. They asked if I would help out in the kitchen... that was 10 years ago.
    In addition to my 'real' work, I moderate Corporate Chef Inc and Inside Scoop here at the Cafe.
    Who's next...?
     
  3. layjo

    layjo

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    Hello. I guess I'll step up to the "batter's box" next.( just trying to be comical) My name is Victor (aka layjo) I decided that I wanted to become a cook and eventully a chef one Christmas Eve. (My heritage beeing Hispanic) My grandmother had just finish making some "tamales" for Christmas time. They were layered slightly upright in a large stock pot, and the aroma of the steamed released from the pot caught my attention. So I went to go look what was in the pot, and what do i find?...dozens of fresh cooked tamales. No one was around, so I took it upon myself to sample one of them. Before I knew it one turned into two, two turned into three and so on. Then i was thinking as I got older, that i would like to make food that makes people happy like my grand mother did. I think I was about 10 years old at that time. As far as experience, i have worked in 3 restuarants, 2hotels, and 1 privet club. I am trying to complete my AAS degree in Resturant Manegment and pending graduation from an appreticeship. I currently work at for Patient Dining Services in a Houston-area Hospital. I found this site on a search engine and belive it to be the best one around concerning culinary arts.

    It's Great to Be a Member
    Victor Cantu

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    [This message has been edited by layjo (edited July 07, 2000).]

    [This message has been edited by layjo (edited 11-02-2000).]
     
  4. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    Well since no one is being bashful I mine as well take my turn. My name is Nicko Sahlas and I am one of the founders of ChefTalk.com. I have worked in the restaurant business since I was about thirteen. Started off in my Uncle's restaurant as a bus boy and worked my way up. A few years after highschool I attended the Culinary Institute of America, did my externship at the Four Seasons Hotel, and graduated in '91. After that I worked my way around several places in Chicago and then went to work in Europe for two years. After all that I came back to Chicago, worked as a chef for two more years and decided to get a degree in computer programming. ChefTalk.com is born and the rest is history.

    My sincerest thanks to everyone here who helps make ChefTalk.com and this community possible. [​IMG]

    Next....
     
  5. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi. I am a "restaurant brat". My parents owned a restaurant for a number of years when I was a kid. By age 8 I was washing dishes, bussing at lunchtime during summer vacation, and generally annoying the cooks who worked underneath my father. My other job, in winter, was keep a fire going in the large fireplace in the waiting area. During high school and college I would work in restaurants for spending money. I did everything from bussing to bartending to cooking. Finally, I realized I couldn't avoid the inevitable and enrolled in New England Culinary Institute in Vermont. That was in 1992 and I have been cooking, professionally since then. I am currently the night sous chef and interim pastry chef at Harvest on Huron, here in Chicago.
     
  6. youla

    youla

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    well my start was very young...my grandfather was a pastry chef and then my father but he started to enjoy food with a passion and become an all round chef...he worked for several hotels before opening his own catering business and all of us kids were pulled in to do anything and everything...the funny thing was my dad had a fierce temper and would assume that we knew as much as he did so I started researching recipes and trying them out and this was at the tender age of around ten years old.then I would never get into trouble or get him shouting at us.... I vowed I would never be a chef .When I finished school I took A year off and the only jobs I could get were in restaurants
    front of house at first and then slowly when they were caught I would help out cos I knew what to do and everyone said you should be a chef...eventually I took on a permanent position in a restaurant but then stopped to do go to university...I still worked part time but I started to miss the buzz and rewards of the kitchen....I finished my degree and took on a job out side of a kitchen....then I was diagnosed with cancer and when you think you are not going to be around much longer [this is not to start you all sobbing!!!!I am well!!!] you start to think of all the things you wanted to do and I said to my husband I want to work in a kitchen brigade again and produce some fine dining any way get back into that mode...I went back to trade school got my papers and got offered the job at a large hotel...I loved it. I have done a few other courses..such as japanese cuisine, garde manger,etc and I find these courses keep my enthusiasm up at a high. [sorry I like to ramble after work!!]
     
  7. greg

    greg

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    After bartending for 4 years, I decided that dealing with drunk people wasn't worth it. I took a job working as a busser in a fine-dining spot and was fascinated watching the cooks work. Fire, chaos and general pandemoneum resulting in good food; it's still a process I am amazed by and will always love. I don't think that there are many people in other fields of work that can understand the sense of accomplishment and bond with your co-workers that develops when you've worked a 300 cover Friday short-handed and pulled it off. Currently, I'm the sous chef at a new German restaurant here in St. Paul. My philosophy for working in the kitchen (borrowed somewhat from Gayle Sayers): The food is first, my crew is second, I am third.
     
  8. nick.shu

    nick.shu

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    in comparison, ive only been cooking for 7 years but the influence goes back for many more before that.

    My father knew many chinese chefs, and i used to accompany him into the kitchens to visit his friends and that was when i was 4.

    i am now 31 and the flaring of woks still fascinates and intrigues me, even more given that now i know how to do it.

    I currently work in a small breakfast and lunch establishment as head.

    i like what i do and i want to push the envelope as far and as creatively as i can without compromising my skills.

    [This message has been edited by Nick.Shu (edited July 23, 2000).]
     
  9. bayou

    bayou

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    By Nicko's invitation I feel OK with introducing myself - (anyone who loves [as in .. has a passion for ..] to cook.)
    Like Pete, I grew up in a family restaurant, with all that goes with that. Mom ran the front-of-the-house; Dad ran everyone .. crazy! At the ripe age of 17 I was training line cooks in the afternoon, then cleaning out the grease trap the next morning. Such is the nature of the "family business."

    When I left home for college, I knew that I had had enough of "the biz." After college (and flying for Uncle Sam for 4 years,) I (like Nicko) got into the computer support industry, where I've been for 28 years.
    [Funny side-note: We have the same discussion going with "programmer/analyst" as I've read here about "cook/chef."] Titles !!!

    Anyway, I'm two years away from retirement, and only 53 years old ... and am seriously considering getting back to .. the heat (of the kitchen.) Wish me luck.
     
  10. m brown

    m brown

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    My first exposure to baking was a Sesame Street segment about a bakery, love at first sight! I have been in this industry since I was 14 stacking cakes at Deerfields Bakery in IL. I then went to ironing school (according to my aunt), J&W. Besides Pastry Arts, I have trained at the Goodman School of Drama and Steppenwolf, dabbled in voiceover work and tried sales.
    I've worked restaurants coast to coast and everytime I try to get out.... they pull me back in!
    Seriously, I bake for money and cook for fun. Cheftalk has saved my sanity over the last year as I went and had another criblizard (bringing the count to 3 little boys)and working full time is no longer an option.
    I love alcoholic clown movies, theatre, the David and Amy Sedaris, twisted humor and npr.
    I have had the pleasure of working with some of the top chefs in NYC and now I work in a swell little spot on the island.
    Would you belive I married a guy I met on a blind date and it was love at first sight? ( he worked in a Steak and Ale once.)life is good.
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    Thank You,
    mb
    ps. did i mention my mother and grandmother are outragous cooks!

    [This message has been edited by m brown (edited July 30, 2000).]

    [This message has been edited by m brown (edited July 30, 2000).]

    [This message has been edited by m brown (edited August 12, 2000).]
     
  11. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    Hi, Shroomgirl here, I'm new to the sight think it's great.At 11 I started reading Time-Life international series....taking me into another world. I can remember my family supporting my 1 effort of a 1" lemon souffle...I had no reference for stiff whites. By 16 I was shopping at the fish monger, cheese shop, bakery, ethnic groceries, etc...for my brother, mother and I. Lots of disposable income, lots of encouragement, vacations with 4**** meals
    (so the references to my palate started young.)Vacations centering around exploring food in other locals. The encouragement didn't last when I wanted to go to the CIA...wasn't acceptable to my parents..so went into Early Childhood Ed and worked in a scratch French restaurant.
    Married moved to a town of 10,000 in La.
    Taught myself to cook chinese and decorate cakes. Lived in Baton Rouge, being domestic for 15 years.
    Went through a bad (READ divorced an atty)
    divorce moved to St. Louis....decided I needed to do what I love....COOK. I was raising my 3 sons and have one with autism.
    So started personal cheffing, I needed the higher income and flex time. Joined the Mycological group and started doing mycofogies, I talked at their national conference last year. I cook for Sweat and Chanterelle, Morel Madness, and Every year I cook 4 meals for 80 gormands at a girl scout camp(3 hours away)
    I love creating a fun menu with boundries..
    Loads of wild mushrooms, vegetarians, bag lunches that will be in field for hours, big healthy fun dinner, and a brunch. I love grabbing a portable burner, oil, salt and cooking chanterelles in the woods or doing cream and morels for 200 hunters in a state park.....So now I've evolved to teaching, many different venues including kosher (I'm not Jewish)
    Consult on cooking classroom constuction, consult with Kosher caterers,personal chef for 2 families, starting/running a farmers' market
    with cooking demos, walkarounds, farmer sustainability talk and musiciansthat opens in Sept. I'm program chair for a professional food group next year, I'm chair of Mo. Chefs Collaborative ....And raise my 3 sons. As of last Oct. I started dating a wine guy, which is really exciting. So doing what I love makes life enjoyable and what seems like a chore to others is exciting to me.
     
  12. momoreg

    momoreg

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    I am 34, and have been working in food since 1982, starting in a vocational program in high school (which took up half the schhol day every day for 11th and 12th grade). That was a culinary course, where I decided I'd rather do pastry. In the meantime, I worked in Roy Rogers and an old age home, also cooking. I spent a few months working in the pastry dept. of a HIlton, then off I went to J&W in 1984, where I took 2 years of pastry. I was immediately hired at a large hotel in NYC, stayed there for 3 years, then went on to work in mostly large restaurants. For 2 1/2 years, I worked in a kosher mediterranean restaurant in midtown, before moving up to Connecticut. It's a much better life here, and I'm a patry chef for an upscale caterer. I think the work is much more rewarding than restaurants, but I sometimes think of going back to hotels. Other passions of mine include bellydance, skydiving, weightlifting, and rabbits. I was married on 8/8/99, and have no kids.
     
  13. cookm

    cookm

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    Hello Everyone,
    I enjoy the cafe very much. I live in Oakland, CA which is great for me because I can further my main interests: food, spirituality, health, music, and books. I've been cooking for 10 1/2 years. Went to a JC for my certificate in cooking and got a job at a well-known East Bay restaurant. From there, I worked at the now defunct China Moon, a bakery, a Spanish tapas place, and now a high end catering company. My philosophy about food is this: simply use the best, seasonal ingredients. I feel lucky to live here cause we have such a variety and an interest here. But now, I will be closing the chapter on cooking and going to web design school. I really don't want a restaurant and I don't want to be a chef, and I need to start making money now. Oh, I'll miss the pirate life of a renegade cook, and I'm planning my last blast farewell dinner blowout.
    The last 2 cookbooks I bought are the latest Chez Panisse and Savoring the Spice Coast of India. I am inspired by monumental Meyer lemons and grand peaches.

    Over and out,
    cookM
     
  14. cape chef

    cape chef

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    Hi all,
    what great stories and backrounds. I'll keep it short. 20+ years cooking. j&w grad 1980 , school for american chefs Graduate scholorship program 1990. Master chef program cia Napa vally 2000. 2 children, married 15 years. love to cook, executive chef in private hotel in ct, 25 reporting, enjoy wine, a day off and my family.my greatest accomplishment in my career is to keep learning and never stop teaching. I have a lot of respect for all these wonderful stories. thanks Nicko for bringing us this site. the procces never ends
     
  15. unichef

    unichef

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    I grew up in a family of actors. We lived in NYC and I worked most of my childhood on TV and movies. I was on the original cast of All My Children and Where the Heart Is.
    http://us.imdb.com/Name?Bersell,+Mike

    On my way home from work I would stop by a pizza joint where a friend worked. Joe of Italy on Broadway and 90th. I would help out grating cheese, portioning dough, etc.. After my friend quit, I would still stop in and work for free. One day the owner pulls me aside and offers me a job- I think it was $1.60 an hour. He couldn't figure out why I turned down the job and would still come back and work for free. He had no idea what I did. At the time I was making $250 a day on the soaps- not bad scratch in 1973 for a 14 year old.

    Eventually I quit the business and we moved to Vermont. That stint in the pizza joint sparked a passion for the food business that I haven't been able to shake.

    I like to share my story with young people. Every year we have a "Teach-In" at the local schools and I go and talk. I try to drive home the point that finding your passion is the most important thing in choosing a career.

    I am an Executive Chef for Disney where I have been for the last 12 years. I am a CEC and was on the 92 and 96 US Culinary Olympic teams.

    I am also the webmaster for unichef.com and an avid unicyclist (check out unicycling.org )




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    Mike Bersell, CEC
    www.unichef.com
     
  16. bevreview steve

    bevreview steve

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    Hi Mike, you work at Disney? Which restaurant there? And welcome to ChefTalk.
     
  17. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    Hey Unichef if you see John Guillemette over at the Polynesian tell him Pete from chicago says 'Hi'. We worked together in Atlanta.
     
  18. unichef

    unichef

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    Actually my wife works with him at Kona Cafe. I'll tell him you said hi.



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    Mike Bersell, CEC
    www.unichef.com
     
  19. unichef

    unichef

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    I'm the chef at the 6000 room All Star Resort. I have three quick service restaurants. I've also worked at the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Yacht and Beach, Caribbean Beach, and Empress Lily



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    Mike Bersell, CEC
    www.unichef.com
     
  20. lynne

    lynne

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    I think the reason 'Shroomgirl gets a bunch of responses is because she is excited about what she does -- and it shows!! Is she a slob or a neatfreak? Who cares? Can she cook? Is she passionate about what she does? That's what matters to me! She's also involved--you know you get out of something what you put in to it! She puts a lot into it. She has an opinion or advice about most things and it usually is worth listening to.

    I don't think anyone needs to be attacked personally (which a few comments were on the edge of--that's one reason I left another chat line--we are adults and should be able to conduct ourselves that way).

    I've never met 'shroom girl, I think I'd like to--she sounds like another person that loves to eat, breathe and talk food--my kind of person!