1. What made you want to join the team at central kitchen?
I had been familiar with Flour + Water’s success and I was a big fan of their ethos so when I decided I needed a change in my job I emailed to see if there was any room for an Irishman at their new venture. Luckily I knew someone so I managed to get my nose in the door for the summer.
2. Where were you and what were you doing before?
Having been a realtor in a previous life I decided to pack it in in 2010 to become a cook. I said I’d rather work hard doing something I love than something I hate and I’ve never been happier. I spent 3 months in the Ballymaloe Cookery school in Ireland then I worked in a Cafe in Dublin called Foodgame before coming to San Francisco this June.
3. How long will you be at central kitchen?
I’m just here for three months, the plane leaves early September.
4. What were the main things you worked on?
I’m mainly working on prep for service and receiving produce in the kitchen. Receiving deliveries is actually a great learning experience because I get my hands on every fruit, vegetable or meat that comes through the door. I’ve learned tons of new produce and what to expect of them in terms of quality and taste.
5. Best part of your day at central kitchen?
I absolutely love when we get ‘the first’ of something into the kitchen. The first of the heirloom tomatoes, the first of the stone fruit, the first of the King Salmon. The stone fruit was my personal favorite, their flavor is off the charts.
6. Worst part of your day at central kitchen?
When someone swipes my bus tubs.(I know who you are and I will find you……..)
7. What’s the one thing you learned here that will stick with you?
Well the most significant impact the kitchen has had on me is my exposure to the absolute best raw materials available. Everything is organic, at peak season and sourced within (give or take) 100 miles of the restaurant. It’s an ethos that was hammered into me in the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland and being part of the team at Central Kitchen has really cemented those core values in me.
8. What’s your favorite menu item to cook?
I’m mostly just do prep but I do love watching the meats on the open fire. It’s a real skill and it gives everything a fantastic flavor.
9. What’s your favorite menu item to eat at CK, or what are you looking forward to ordering when you come in for dinner?
I’ve been lucky enough to eat in CK three times and have had a fantastic experience every time so it’s hard to pick a dish. One that sticks out is the Garlic and Lovage soup from a few weeks back. It had a tiny bit of theater to it which made it fun but it also had wonderful textures and was, most importantly, a delicious soup. Others that stick out for me would be the ham appetizer and the shellfish, turnip, bone marrow and horseradish dish on the tasting menu.