Brian takes Chef Pete through his journey in the restaurant business – from his start as a fill-in table busser at a small restaurant in his teenage years to being the Game Changer of Gulf Coast Dining – and the ups and downs of owning and managing a highly seen and enjoyed culinary kingdom.
His advice on launching and maintaining a brand is a must-listen and you need to write down everything you can during his and Chef Pete’s insights on creating a culture of cooperation to finally put an end to the Front of House/Back of House War that has been an unfortunate mainstay of the restaurant business for centuries – peace in our time.
So, don’t get full on other podcasts this week and skip this episode – you’ve earned the sweet treats and insights you’ll find inside.
Gorilla Rich is a fellow Mess Lord, Fellow Triple D family with Pete. Gorilla Rich has an amazing bbq stand located in a train-car in Pacifica, California.Featured on Food Networks Diners, Drive-In, and Dives (DDD), Gorilla BBQ offers a unique experience using fresh ingredients and slow cooked meats that melt in your mouth!
The nick-name “Gorilla” was given to Rich Bacchi by his dad. "I've always been a little bigger than normal!" Says Rich. His name, his personality, and his food are all large and in charge!
Rich Bacchi, a native Pacifica resident, comes from a long line of restaurateurs. His family owned and operated a restaurant just down the street from where Gorilla BBQ stands today. You could say he was raised to have his own spot and cook/BBQ some amazing food! Gorilla Barbeque LLC was officially established by Rich in 2006.
As mentioned above Rich’s parents owned a restaurant (which was a Mexican restaurant). All the way back since Rich can remember he was working at his family owned restaurant. The workforce consisted of his siblings, cousins, and the leaders were his mom and aunt. Because of his restaurant background his friends would always choose Rich as the one to cook. Most of the time his food of choice to cook would be BBQ.
The restaurant business was not Rich’s career of choice. Rich started out working for Track Magic traveling the country prepping and building racing go-carts. Rich started out as screwing in bolts to leading the team. While doing this Rich would BBQ for the team during events and such. However, once the company’s owner passed Track Magic met its demise. Shortly after Rich’s parents became ill and Rich needed to be closer to home. The train-car that now is the home of Gorilla BBQ became available and not knowing what he was going to use it for Rich bought the train-car. Then during a conversation with one of his friends the idea was born for Rich to open up a BBQ joint in the train-car.
Specific topics that Pete and Gorilla talk about in this episode are:
That is just a glimpse of todays episode of “The Raw Ingredients” you will definitely want to listen to this conversation between Rich and Pete.
Today’s episode Pete sits down with Trina Gregory-Prost.
Trina is the chef/owner of SE7EN BITES in Orlando, Florida with her wife VA. SE7EN BITES servers southern nostalgic food with a modern twist.
Trina’s Grammie was the first person to introduce her to cooking/baking when she was very young. However, cooking was never anything other than a hobby for Trina. Trina’s love was for the Spa industry and Trina was in the Spa industry for 21 years. Trina love the Spa Industry the entire time she was in the Spa Industry. The last 5 years Trina was in the Spa Industry she traveled the world opening multi-million dollar spas.
Towards the end of Trina’s time in the Spa Industry she had her first child and being gone two to three weeks at at time with a new born was not feasible. While Trina would be doing beings nails and such she would hear about people struggling to find a good restaurant to cater their event or family gatherings. Around 2010 Trina went back to school to be a cook to learn the nitty gritty fundamentals on top of already knowing how to cook well. Her dream at this point was to be a private chef once she completed culinary school.
Through the early part of Trina’s culinary story Pete and Trina discuss the age old argument of should you go to culinary school or not and the things that Trina did that other people questioned because her age. Things like internships and externships in different kitchens learning all the could. Trina and Pete talk about the importance of growing your skill set and letting go of your ego to just do whatever it takes to be the most qualified you can be.
Trina graduated culinary school with a culinary degree, a baking and pastry degree and a restaurant management degree. After graduating Trina already was doing catering for three commercial accounts to sell desserts for, therefore was renting space in a commercial kitchen (which was very expensive). Trina’s girlfriend (now wife) talked Trina into renting out her own little space because it would be the same cost to get her own space set up and this would allow them to take on a couple more clients. After Trina and her wife VA rented out their own space and began to build the place out VA says to Trina, not only could you do catering orders but let’s just add a counter and we can serve people who walk in. That is how SE7EN BITES began.
Trina’s wife VA has had fourteen years of experience in the restaurant industry working for the Carrabba’s Outback Group training all the proprietors of how the kitchen was ran. Through the conversations Triana and VA had while creating SE7EN BITES was that you can be successful in the restaurant industry if you will just hang onto the fundamentals of business. You can have great food and go broke because you do not know how to balance a budget.
This is just two highlights of many highlights of this episode that you do not want to miss out on. Share this episode with an up and coming chef or even a seasoned chef. Everyone will benefit from today’s episode of "The Raw Ingredients"
Jim Smith is Chairman of the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission and Executive Chef of The Hummingbird Way. Chef Smith was the Executive Chef of the State of Alabama for eight years serving multiple Alabama Governor’s. As the state chef, he has placed an emphasis on using the best local ingredients and has made strides to encourage support of local farmers and Alabama fishers. He used his position as ambassador of food, to promote farmer’s markets and events that support Alabama food products.
In 2011 he was crowned the King of American Seafood by winning The Great American Seafood-Cook-Off and became the national spokesperson for Alabama Seafood, American Sustainable Seafood, Gulf Seafood and the NOAA. As the winner he traveled the country educating the Americans about the benefits of sustainable seafood. As Chairman of the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission, Chef Smith is proud to be a part of the great work being done to promote Alabama Seafood and Chef Advocate for Wild American Shrimp. He also works closely with The James Beard Foundation as a Boot Camp for Policy and Change Alum, supporter of James Beard Foundation’s Smart Catch Sustainable Seafood program, and Scholarship Programs.
Chef Smith is best known for his appearances on Seasons 14 and 16 of the acclaimed Bravo television cooking competition show, Top Chef. With a top ten finish and fan favorite support he proud of his competitive efforts and has high hopes for the future.
Pete and Jim on this episode talk through Jim’s unique experiences in the food industry and how that gives him the edge in the industry. Pete and Jim open up talking about how Jim’s time as the Governor’s Chef taught him how to be organized and efficient as a cook since Jim would at times be cooking for hundreds of people and have to cook prep the food by himself. Jim gives insight on how executive chefs can stay organized and also, teach their staffs to be organized and lead the way rather than the executive chef handling everything organization wise because one person handling all of that is not going to be scalable as you grow as a business. When you have more people on the team the more chaotic it gets, therefore you must be meticulous in the kitchen if your restaurant is going to succeed long term.
Pete and Jim also discuss opening a restaurant and how Jim was his own investor by cashing out on many assets he had and how that freed him up to run his restaurant the way he desired and knew best. With that though there was great risk and Jim and Pete gives insight to those who are looking to open a restaurant how that process should look as you create a game plan for your restaurant.
On today’s episode of The Raw Ingredients Pete talks to his good friend Brian Duffy.
Brian is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and has been working in the food industry since he was 14 years old as a dishwasher and busboy at a small restaurant called Castles.
Brian graduated Culinary School in 1994. Brain has opened over 100 restaurants across the country, been on multiple television shows (currently the host of Food Network, “Opening Night”), traveled the world, has cooked for the U.N. and that is just the beginning.
Now Brian is a restaurant consultant who helps restaurants get better around the world.
Brian and Pete talk about the lessons that Brian has learned from over 35 years of being in the restaurant business and the last 10 years being a consultant to restaurants around the world.
“Across the country I see people who want the title (of executive chef) on the chest but do not want the responsibility that comes with that”
Specific topics that Brain and Pete talk about are:
“Stay Hungry, Stay Invested, Continue to Grow. Use things like podcast, books and the most important thing—always share that information you learn.”
In addition, we answer the following questions:
“No matter how high in rank you are, no matter if it’s washing the dishes or sweeping the floor you have to stay plugged in.”
Brian’s Consulting Services: Duffified Expirence Group
Two time Best Chef of the South James Beard nominee. CIA Alumni and Chef owner of Town Hall & Prati Italia both in his hometown of Jacksonville.
If you love BBQ, there is a very good chance you have heard of Big Jim Stancil, or at least his company, Bare Knuckles BBQ, which was featured during season 3 of BBQ Pitmasters on Destination America. Big Jim is a full time corporate caterer with 2 Grand Championships and a slew of category wins under his belt, which means he likely cooks some of the meanest BBQ you have ever tasted in your life.
Hotel Concierge with over 20 years of experience in 4 and 5 Star Properties. Opened 17 hotels as a Task Force Member, implementing programs, establishing expectations, and refining processes, having the highest levels of customer service as a result.
Chef David Rose was raised with a diverse and curious palate. Born in New Jersey to 2 chef parents, his culinary interest led him to enroll in Le Cordon Bleu Culinary College (Tucker, GA), where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. Living in Atlanta for more than a decade, Chef Rose finds inspiration in his surroundings and identifies as a southern chef, creatively reinterpreting classic southern fare by incorporating the refinement of his french culinary training, with his signature bold flavors, and the occasional flair from his family's Jamaican recipes.
Chef Rose is a Food Network/TV personality & serves as a national brand ambassador for Nissan USA and Big Green Egg. Rose is also the founder and creator of the TLC Experience (Tastings • Libations • Cigars), where he partners with spirits and cigar companies to create extraordinary dining experiences. Recently, he has been named as a brand ambassador for Davidoff/Camacho Cigars.
A background 30 years of restaurant experience - from subservient potato-flipping grill slave and floor-mopper at a local family deli in Phoenix to my present position as chief cook, tastemaker, and humble owner of Salsa Brava Mexican Grill in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Chef-Owners Judson and Peter Holt grew up watching their father nurture and grow the first Lupe Tortilla into a success. The first restaurant opened in a 1940’s frame house on the outskirts of Houston in 1983. Both sons are graduates of the Culinary Institute of America. They took over the family business in 1997, and have continued to build a dedicated following.
Since Lupe Tortilla first opened in Addicks, Texas in 1983, the concept has had an unwavering focus on providing excellent food and service to customers with their delicious and unique style of Mexican food made from scratch. With almost 20 locations, dishes are still made to order at each restaurant, and Lupe Tortilla strives to always provide the best food for the best price. The company focuses on offering rewarding employee programs and opportunities for growth, which enable it to be a sought-after workplace. Chefs and owners Judson and Peter Holt have extensive experience and background in hospitality, and both hold degrees from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America. This allows them to maintain integrity and taste throughout their locations, food and atmosphere.
Chef Brooke Brantley has been a chef for more than 20 years, having led kitchens in restaurants, resorts and private clubs around the country. Before following his passion for cooking, he was an award-winning videographer, editor and television director.
Blankenship earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from the University of South Alabama. He worked for the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) as a marine resources enforcement officer and rose to the position of director of marine resources in 2011.
Blankenship was named deputy commissioner of the ADCNR in March 2017 and acting commissioner in May 2017 following the resignation of N. Gunter Guy Jr. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey appointed Blankenship to the role of ADCNR commissioner in August 2017.
Jim Binner’s cooking career landed him several prestigious awards and recognition at a young age. Then extensive experience in foodservice sales, marketing and business practices, along with a desire to further his education, make him a logical choice for membership on the Alumni Council. Jim holds multiple degrees, including a Masters in Strategic Leadership. As an active member of the American Culinary Federation, New York State Restaurant Association, School Nutrition Association, and holding a seat on the Board of Director of the International Food Service Executives Association, Jim has a broad view of the industry and an acute understanding of the value of learning and teamwork. Jim is an advocate for the CIA in many ways. His support and involvement at the annual Alumni Home Coming weekend, Gift-in-Kind donations, CIA Gala Awards, Flavor Summits, and multiple Alumni Receptions around the country truly show his passion for his alma mater. You may even see a few bricks with his name on them around the Hyde Park campus. Jim truly believes “Food is Fun” and says he “bleeds CIA Green and Gold”.
The South African beauty queen, award-winning baker and grill master, Linkie Marais, is more than your average chef!
Michele Ragussis is an American chef. She is best known as a finalist on the eighth season of the Food Network series Food Network Star.
After working in restaurants throughout her teens and earning a degree in hotel and restaurant management from Drexel University, Tio started cooking at Philadelphia’s Ritz-Carlton hotel. Tio moved to Orlando. There she helped open three specialty restaurants for Walt Disney World: Spoodles, Citricos, and Palo. Tio truly made her mark during the following seven years heading the kitchen at Kansas City’s renowned American Restaurant. There she garnered both local and national accolades, including 2005 Chef Of The Year by Chef magazine and the James Beard Foundation’s 2007 Best Chef: Midwest. Chef Tio has gone to open Julian, and recently the Belfry and Collection Restaurant.
Absorbing culture and passing it on through food is part of Executive Chef Nick Liberato's heritage. Raised believing that every day is a holiday which should be celebrated with food, wine, great conversation, and loved ones, Nick has been cooking professionally for 18 years, and now calls the Southern California coast his home. Nick is a personal chef to the stars, a revered cocktail mixologist, world traveler, husband, father & surfer.
As a former collegiate and professional athlete staying in shape and keeping up with my body was a part of the job description. I had to make weight and be able to perform to my fullest capabilities on the field. My diet and the food I put in my body directly affected both of those. I also grew up with a passion for food and love being in the kitchen and around food.
With my athletic background and my passion for food I was able to combine that over my years of playing to create meals to help me achieve my goals. Through trial and error in cooking I learned how to subtract calories out of some of my favorite meals but keep the flavor. Playing days are over however I am still into fitness and taking care of my body.
I spent the last year traveling and learning new recipes and flavor profiles to bring back to the kitchen.
PhreshPlate was soon born after that. I have brought some of my favorite recipes from my playing days and some of my favorite recipes from my travels. PhreshPlate the food truck will provide great tasting meals that are quick, healthy and convenient for the consumer. PhreshPlate is here to help all those who are interested in reaching their fitness goals or those who are wanting something different from the normal food truck scene.