Chef Salad Highlights: The Funny, Astute and Provocative Comments Our Local Chefs Made in 2012
How and when did you learn so much about wine?: I was in wine school in Paris at age 19. But it all started with a couple of unfortunate experiences with MD 20-20, Boone's Farm, and Ripple. I thought, "There must be better than this!" And there was.
What would you tell an aspiring young chef going into the business?: Don't. Then if that didn't work, I would tell them to work for three places that they view as the best. I would also say that there are benefits to working for a resort or hotel when young and building a career. You need to see and experience a tremendous amount to begin to understand who you are going to be when you stake your ground. It's an experiential trade, not a theoretical one.
Beau MacMillan, executive chef of Elements
What was it like to work under Chuck Wiley?: He was Yoda, and I was his Jedi Knight. I was a rough-edged guy who had potential. Chuck groomed me and refined me. He showed me the door and let me walk through it. He's the consummate professional. He can cook, lead, manage, delegate, and inspire. I've never had a better time in a kitchen with the camaraderie and teamwork we had there.
Do you consider yourself a celebrity chef?: The word "celebrity" isn't something I'm really comfortable with. It's like "success" and "failure." How do you measure that? It's so subjective. Chefs have traditionally been stuck in cramped, uncomfortable quarters, even when they're cooking for kings and queens. This is what I do for a job, so I don't really understand what the word "celebrity" means when it comes to a chef.