Stories / Interviews

Ask a Chef: October Beard House Toques Share the Best Advice They've Ever Received

Hilary Deutsch

Hilary Deutsch

November 03, 2015


Now that it's officially fall, we are more than happy to bid adieu to the scorching summer heat and indulge in hearty, comforting dishes that reintroduce us to autumn's colorful bounty. And as we say hello to sweater weather, we also welcome a formidable roster of culinary talent to the Beard House. Highlighting cuisines and techniques from across the globe, these top toques bring tastes of Italy, Oakland, Cincinnati, and Boston (just to name a few) to the Big Apple. We asked our October Beard House chefs to share the most memorable and encouraging advice they've ever received—read on to see find out what tokens of truths these chefs hold near and dear.


October 1: Cody and Samantha Carroll, Hot Tails and Sac-A-Lait New Roads, LA

Cody: I live by the words of my father: "I thought I was wrong once, but I was only mistaken.”

Samantha: Always follow through.

October 2: Harold Balnik, Cru, Fort Meyers, FL

Don't ever accept less from yourself than your best!

October 2: Todd Johnson, Rumrunners, Cape Coral, FL

My wife told me to get a dream and dream big. When we got married, we were 20 years old. I couldn't have dreamed where I am today. I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

October 3: Juan José Cuevas, 1919 Restaurant at Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Cook from your heart.

October 5: Matt Jennings, Townsman, Boston

If you have less than five haters, go out and find yourself a few more. Never fall victim to worrying about what other people think of you or your cooking. If your food is real and flavorful and true, it will show. Begin with great ingredients. Master technique. Treat people well. The rest is kismet. It's either going to happen or it's not. There is something very refreshing about getting to the point in your career where you’re able to cook what you want, when you want, how you want, and know that people will love it. I am honored everyday to put all of my emotions on the plate. And I'm lucky people enjoy it—I never take that for granted. Ever. This life is a gift...I’m not sure if anyone told me that, or gave me that advice. I think I figured it out through trial and error.

October 6: Louis Jocson, Zov's Bistro, Irvine, Newport Coast, and Anaheim, CA​

Learn and grow constantly.

October 6: Zov Karamardian, Zov's Bistro, Irvine, Newport Coast, and Anaheim, CA​

Always follow your heart and your passion. And never give up.

October 8: James Syhabout, Commis, Oakland, CA

“Cooking is the easy part.” So true.

October 10: Adam Sobel, RN74, San Francisco

"The willingness to prepare will always over supersede the willingness to win." —Ken Fredrickson.

October 14: Emily Luchetti, Big Night Restaurant GroupThe CavalierMarlowe, and Park Tavern, San Francisco

Don't confuse motion for progress.

October 15: Julian Goglia, The Pinewood Tippling Room, Decatur, GA

“None of us is as smart as all of us.” —Ken Blanchard.

October 16: Todd Kelly, Orchids at Palm Court, Cincinnati

Be the best cook—not the fastest. Take your time and do things right.

October 17: Patrick Cappiello, Rebelle, New York

My father always told me to treat others how I would like to be treated.

October 22: Michael Fiorelli, Love & Salt, Manhattan Beach, CA

“Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll probably have to shove them down people's throats.” —my mother

October 23: Marc Kusche, Hamilton’s Kitchen at The Alfond Inn, Winter Park, FL

Karlheinz Hauser, the Michelin chef in Germany said, “Be yourself, cook from your heart, and never stop learning.”

October 24: Abdiel Aleman, Ruth's Chris Steak House, National

If you want to excel in this industry, make sure your goal every day is to learn something and to teach something.

October 24: Rick Crossland, Ruth's Chris Steak House, National

“If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well!” —my father

October 24: Moises Reyes, Ruth's Chris Steak House, South Region

“Be impeccable with your word." I read a book about living life through four simple agreements and that was the first.

October 26: Ralf Kuettel, Trestle on Tenth, New York

Basically every serious line cook I’ve ever worked with said something along the lines of, "Leave the baggage at the door! It's about the food and the guests!" This industry is all about total commitment to whatever you do.

October 28: Rhy Waddington, Winged Foot Golf Club, Mamaroneck, NY

“You never stop learning in this industry,” my first chef and long time friend, Noelle Quinn told me that.

October 30: Massimo Bocus, Apicius International School of Hospitality at Florence University of the Arts, Florence, Italy

Use great ingredients, respect them, and cook dishes that you can understand.