We connected with Chef Ted to learn more about what it’s like being one of the Chefs of the Mills, and his experience filming the first episode of Chefs on the Line.
Chef Ted: I've always loved cooking, and I've always wanted to do it ever since I was a kid, pretty much. I don't think a lot of people can say that they chose something that they loved, and I fell in love with the act of cooking just very early on as a child, just watching people do things.
But then it became more of, why does this happen the way that it does? Why does this react the way it does? Why does this function this way? So, I wanted to learn more about that, and that really intrigued me to want to learn more and grow and work with people that have a lot more skills than me so I can grow and hopefully gain some of those skills.
And, that's pretty much it, just from a journey of burning oatmeal cookies, to using my neighbors’ kitchens in multiple floors of my buildings to make cheesecakes that I could sell throughout the city when I was home in New York. Getting encouragement and inspiration from the folks that saw that I had a passion for this and just passing things on kept me going.
So, it was always something special, not just learning about my craft, but just always having people that were there to look out for me and think about me.
Chef Ted during his time as a student at CIA
Chef Ted: Yeah, it was at a restaurant. I just saw a guy tossing food in the air, and it intrigued me. That's it. That's how I was inspired, just some guy sautéing in a pot. I was like, Man, that looks cool. I want to do that. Then I would watch my mother cooking and ask her questions, or watched as other people cooked like, Hey, how do I do this? And then I’d go and do it when my mom wasn't looking and get in trouble. She’d say, Don't touch my pots. It was something that just kept drawing me in.
Chef Ted: I run into problems all the time, you know, every day. I don't know everything there is, and I'll be the first one to admit that.
Chef Ted: Labor's always been an issue, but it's even more so now. And I think that's probably the biggest change and the one that folks have to adapt to in foodservice. I think folks are coming up with a whole bunch of different solutions to meet people where they are and better train the folks that come on, but also do things to hopefully retain the folks that come in and keep them wanting to come to work.
Chef Ted: The pandemic changed a lot of things. People had time with their families, and it’s back-breaking work being in foodservice, and they had time to think. A lot of people said $15 an hour would put their business under, but there’s no loyalty anymore. So, we’ve got to train the people who do come in better, and use things like technology to make things more efficient, and motivate people to keep coming back to work.
Chef Ted: I may not always have an answer, but I think that's the important thing about being on a team. It's always good to speak to those subject-matter experts that can help me out. And number one, to say, I don't know. And number two, not being afraid to humble yourself and ask these questions like, Hey, man, can you talk me through this?
Chef Ted: I think what we do very well is really focus on creating products that are consistent and user-friendly. User-friendly for operators, and just good products that are going to be functional and consistent with what operators need out there.
Chef Ted: I like the biscuits because of the versatile things we can do with them, what we create with them.
Chef Ted: The hardest part was [the production team]. It was frustrating, and I guess that’s what [they] were trying to do, get us all riled up. But it really worked. The fun part was when it was over [laughing].
Chef Ted: You can never stop learning. I mean, if you feel like you’ve stopped, then you need to move on to something else. I think that applies every day in life. I always look to get something different out of today versus yesterday. Look to learn something different to better yourself and to make others better.
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