Hello everyone! This post is a very special post. Why? I am very excited to have gotten the opportunity to ask one of Austin’s top chefs a couple of questions, and here I present to you the questions and the answers.
The chef I interviewed has been awarded Food & Wine magazines best new chef, has already been nominated for a James Beard award and again is a semi-finalist for a James Beard award in 2 categories: Rising Star Chef and Best Chef Southwest. This man is a culinary genius, and along with all his praise he happens to be one of my culinary heroes.
Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine.
If you’ve ever been to the Barley Swine you most likely understand why I respect Bryce so much. The food is not only amazing, but the work and effort that goes into it is incredible. I’ve had the wonderful experience of sitting at the bar there where you can watch all the chefs make your food, and it is stunning. The whole ordeal is like watching a ballet. It’s almost perfectly choreographed, and everyone is spot on with what they are doing.
I also happened to notice that each plate that went out to customers was inspected by Bryce himself to make sure they are all perfect.
I urge you if you haven’t been, go. Go treat yourself and have a great meal, trust me it is worth it.
Growing up did you always know you wanted to work in the culinary world?
I’ve always been exposed to the industry, with my dad being a chef and owning restaurants, it was always in my life. I started working in his restaurants bussing tables, washing dishes and eventually worked my way up into the kitchen. I knew I always loved the work, it was rewarding and there’s a level of artistry that I appreciate too. If I weren’t a chef, I’d be an architect.
Being that Austin’s motto is “keep Austin weird” do you think it’s harder for restaurants to really stand out and be different in Austin compared to other cities?
I think the trick to having a successful restaurant is authenticity. I cook food that I want to eat and I think there a lot of chefs in town doing that as well and that creates an authentic variety that a lot of bigger cities may not have.
Where do you get inspiration for the dishes you serve at Barley Swine?
So much of our inspiration comes from the farmers. We source as much as we can from local farmers and purveyors and whatever they have available that week, that month, drives the course of the menu.
In your opinion, what is your biggest accomplishment in your career so far?
Receiving Food & Wine Best New Chef was incredible. I didn’t think I’d get something that big, so young. Same with being nominated for a James Beard Award. I’ll be featured in a very well respected culinary magazine soon, one that I personally have been reading for years. I don’t think that will hit me until the issue is out. But that phone call was definitely exciting.
Do you believe that there is such a thing as a “perfect” dish?
I think it can exist in many ways: perfect flavors, perfect texture combinations, perfect plating. A lot of our dishes get better the more we serve them and we get more comfortable with them. I don’t think any chef is truly satisfied with anything, that’s why we work long hours and get paid the medium bucks.
What are your favorite things to do when you’re not cooking?
In a perfect world, relaxing with my wife.
Do you enjoy cooking at home, or does working at the restaurant sort of burn you out from it?
I spend most of my time at the restaurant so cooking at home would be a rare occasion. I enjoy it but those moments are few and far between.
Being a 17 year old I’m still fairly new to the professional culinary world, up until this semester of school I had no professional training, only self and home taught, do you have any advice on how to become a better chef and start making my way into the culinary world?
Kitchen experience is huge, maybe even better than culinary school. Stage in a restaurant that you respect, soak up all the skills and learn as much as you can from as many chefs that you can. Everyone does things differently; it’s about finding something that works for you, and then making it your own.
If you could throw a dinner party with anyone, dead or alive, who would you invite, what would you make, and why?
After reading that GQ story with James Murphy, David Chang and Aziz Ansari, I would’ve like to have been the fourth member on that trip, maybe instead of making dinner for them.