Bio


I was born and raised in the tiny southeast region of the great state of Texas.  I spent most of my time playing sports and working on staying out of trouble…unsuccessfully. At the ripe age of 14 I landed his first kitchen job working in my Aunt’s diner.  That was the BEST job. I didn’t actually DO anything.  I worked my own schedule, sometimes I just watched my mama cook. Sometimes I made gravy…mostly I watched.  None the less, I loved being there.  It wasn’t long after, I want to say it was the summer of my sophomore year of high school got a job that actually paid money.  DeCoux Seafood Restaurant just down the road. I didn’t have a car so mama had to shuttle me, but she did it proudly. Her little boy was working.  At least for the summer.

When I finally got a car, and needed more money I decided to really launch my culinary career. I went to work for McDonalds. 😛  I’m dogging on Mickey D’s but I worked my way to crew chief and the day I turned 18, I couldn’t be a manager before then, I got my Golden Arches tie.  As silly as it seems, that move made me a lot of money in college. I worked at two stores at the same time, opening one and closing another between my classes.  There’s something to be said about managing 150 people making 2 crews schedules, and doing food orders for one store and receiving food orders for another store….just weird. But it was fun and I learned alot about people, life, and GOOD customer service.

But the thrill of the QSE (Quick service establishment) didn’t last forever and of course I was 21 and I wanted BOOZE! So I sought out the comfort of working at a sports bar.  Enter Zach’s Bar and Grill. Awesome hole in the wall that made their own burger rolls. I learned a lot there about a la carte kitchens, how to move, how things flow, how to actually PRODUCE food that didn’t come pre-packaged and pre-portioned.  I worked my fat ass off until I was the head PM cook.  I would fill in from time to time in the FOH, took a few shifts as a server, did a little bar backing and bar-tending until the day came I had to move on…but unfortunately it was out of food service.

I was getting older, bills started getting larger, and I was accumulating some…gulp…debt. I needed a career and FAST.  So I took, what was at the time, the easy way to a real paycheck…Information Technology.  6 months after I decided to leave food service I graduated and making the big bucks.  I spent a little time working in education and then got into something crazy called Telemedicine.  In a nutshell, it’s web-caming with your doctor…except you’re in France and your doctor’s in Brazil.  It was some seriously cutting edge stuff, I was good at it, and it paid REALLY well.  And that was it.  Technology became my life. 8 hours a day, M-F, 50 weeks a year for the next 8 years that’s what I did.  I traveled across the country, worked with some amazing minds, and had a hand in doing some unimaginable things….and then it happened.

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was in my doctors office and had just had a physical and some blood work done.  My doctor, of about 10 years, looks me in the face and he said…”Bryan, you’re 29. You’re borderline hypertensive, cholesterol’s through the roof, and you weigh 356 pounds.  If you don’t make some changes…you are not going live to see retirement”  Dr Shokar always had a way with words…That was enough for me.  I became a student of nutrition, food, health, and life.  I learned the benefits of healthy eating. What makes things “good for you” and why things are not.  How to prepare them, eat them, regardless of how they tasted. Odd I know.  But there was a good period that all I ate was seasoned grilled chicken breast, boil-in-bag brown rice, frozen broccoli and canned tuna.  I can look back and laugh now but it was serious business then.

So I ate better, I felt better and I took a real interest in food, and I think this is when the fire began…again.  I took interest in new things like sushi, Ethiopian cuisine, REAL Italian food.  I found myself hooked on shows like Good Eats that took a real scientific approach to food.  I was learning “Technique” and not recipes.  And something wonderful happened…I was able to create.  Something I had never in my life done before. And I loved it.  It was unlike any other rush I’ve ever gotten.  I went crazy. Cooking every day, sometimes I’d cook things I saw on Television, sometimes I’d read recipes once and try to make them from memory, sometimes I’d give myself little “mystery basket” challenges, but the day I took on my first beef wellington and it turned out to be one of the most amazing thing I had ever eaten in my entire life…I knew.  I was not destined to be in IT. I was no home cook, I wasn’t even a foodie…it was yet again, time for change.

But how does one go from having a really nice condo, car, friends, family, great career, retirement, insurance…stability, to being a college student?!? AGAIN!!! 35 years old amongst TEENAGERS!  Sigh…Well, I decided I’d throw it up in the air and let the man upstairs decide.  If it was meant to be…it would be.  I would shoot for the top…and when my feet hit the ground, fight like there was no tomorrow to make it happen.  So out went the applications.  Culinary Institute of America, le Cordon Blue in France, Johnson & Wales, Taunte Marie…all the top schools and I mean ALL of them. I can not tell you how much time I spent and how much money went to “application fees”.  Long story short, Johnson & Wales was the answer.  Now I had to GET there.  So I went all-in.  I sold everything, cashed in the retirement, all my savings. and stuck everything else a spare room at my parents house in Texas.  Having never been to Providence, I had 2 suitcases, a one way-ticket, a rental car reservation, a hotel room, 1200 bucks, and 72 hours to get to Rhode Island and find a place to live and a job before I began one of the most intense culinary training programs in the country.  I’ll be honest…I was pretty full of doubt, but failure was simply not an option anymore.  But as fate would have it…Things just happened.  I landed at 10:30pm, checked into my hotel at 10:45, hopped on my laptop at and began searching apartment listings on craigslist.com and before midnight I had a job interview lined up AND had a place to live.  My doubt went right out the window. This was it…This was my shot.  Opportunity was knocking…everything I ever wanted…and I had no choice but capture it…

And the rest…Well I’m still writing that chapter.

To be continued…

 

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  1. The Time Flies Files: Part Deux « - March 13, 2012

    […] Bio […]

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