Portland Chef Jack Yoss in Food and Beverage Magazine
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More with Chef Jack Yoss
Chef Jack Yoss wisdom from his mentors and what he looks for in up and coming chefs today.
[Kevin] "Who has been the greatest inspiration to your career?"
[Jack] "My greatest inspiration in my career would be my father. He was not a chef but a fantastic home cook who always made everything from scratch; venison chili, chicken and dumplings, beef stroganoff and amazing multi-course breakfasts. He always stood behind me in my life and never questioned my choices (almost never). He was very proud of me in my career and I was able to cook one of his last meals for him. I will never forget it."
[Kevin] "Who were your mentors?"
[Jack] "Mitchell Rosenthal saw something in me early on and always pushed me to be more creative and think outside the box. He gave me tremendous room to grow and create as a young chef.
Steven Rosenthal taught me the business and management side of the restaurant business and how to run a profitable venture. He is a very savvy businessman and owns three restaurants in San Fransisco.
Jacque Pepin is the most humble chef I have ever met in my life. He is world famous and I had the pleasure of cooking for him and along side him many times. I went to the live taping of his cooking shows and he always treated me as an equal even though he is a culinary icon. He taught me to be proud of what we do and never let ego get in the way."
Wolfgang puck spent a lot of time at Chinois in Las Vegas when I was working there and he taught me a lot about balancing flavors and amazing techniques. He is a world-class chef and a great boss as well.
[Kevin] Explain what it takes to the next generation going to be chefs, what it takes to become the first chef de cuisine while at Postrio.
[Jack] To be a chef there is tremendous competition. There will always be someone who wants your job or is better than you. You have to fight for it every day no matter who you are. If you are going to be successful in this business you have to have the passion and guts to make it happen. You will not get out of culinary school and become a chef instantly. You will most likely be prepping vegetables or working the pantry if you are lucky. Come in early for your shift and learn something new. Even if you are doing the same thing over and over everyday teach yourself how to be faster, more organized and better at it.
Show your chef that you want to learn and be dedicated. If you work lunch shifts at your restaurant come in and work for free on the dinner line to learn. If you would dinner line come in on your day off and work with the butcher. Do stages on your days off at other restaurants. Never stop asking questions. When choosing a restaurant pick the best one in your area. If they do not hire you work for free and prove yourself. Thats what I did with Wolfgang Puck. Travel as much as you can to learn new food cultures. Do not get into this business for fame or money, do it for passion and you will be rewarded immensely. There is nothing better than creating something that makes people happy and seeing the smile on there face when they take there first bite.
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