Title: Executive chef, eighty3 and Twilight at The Madison Hotel
Who or what was your first cooking influence? My dad. I graduated from the same culinary school he did (Cooking Hospitality Institute of Chicago, Le Cordon Bleu). And he was a chef. My whole family is or was in the restaurant industry. My grandparents owned a deli in the 1950s.
What was the first thing you ever cooked or baked? A duck strudel. My dad taught me how to make it. I was 10. In my dad’s restaurant.
When did you decide to become a chef? Probably not consciously until I was about 13 or 14, but subconsciously way before that. I thought I was really blessed in knowing that was my talent.
What is something important a fellow chef taught you? Always taking care of your people, your team. Knowing they’re more than cooks and androids that walk in at 8 in the morning. That they have lives and aren’t at your disposal 24 hours a day.
Have you ever cooked for a celebrity? Nikki Sixx for Motley Crue, Cheap Trick, Godsmack, Nikelback.
What’s your favorite food? White chocolate-covered Oreos.
What’s your least favorite food? Anchovies or sea urchin.
eighty3 is at 83 Madison in The Madison hotel; 901-333-1229.