- Who do you regard as your mentor, or the most influential
Chef that you worked for ?
D.M.- My Mother inspired me to cook, and anyone that
has checked out my Mom's cooking will understand why,
it's not too hot! Secondly my Grandmother she did not
work like my Mom so she had the time to cook up some
real tasty dishes. Professionally though I would say
Hubert Des Marais, the Chef of The Four Seasons Resort
in Palm Beach. His energy, style and spontinaity permeates
though to everyone.
G.C - What inspires you
D.M. - The excitment of cooking is inspirational in
its self, but pleasing, amazing and impressing people
is the icing on the cake!
G.C. - Describe your culinary style & philosophy.
D.M. - I would say that Modern American is what you
will sample at The National with a Floridian influence
and of course a twist of home, Louisianna. It sound
like a cocktail, but a real good one....My philosophy
is real short, use the best products keep, it simple.
G.C - What drives you / makes you get out of bed
D.M. - I have two year old twins they get me up early,
when you are faced with that crazy pair going to work
is a very attractive thing. Seriously though I found
that having a family was a real motivator plus running
your own kitchen and every dish having your name on
it keeps you charged.
G.C. - What is hot on your menu right now?
D.M. - Home Made Ravioi with Portobella Mushrooms and
Pea Essence. Samuri Spice Seared Seabass, Nappa Cabbage
Slaw and Lemon Grass Burr Lap Jus. Chef's Hot Hairy
G.C. - What makes a great menu?
D.M.- Cooking people what they want to eat, staying
within your style and keeping it simple. A little profitability
never hurts either.
G.C. - What special products are you using right
D.M. - Good old fashioned cheese, it is not a really
an 'in' thing in Florida, but here at The National we
have a lot of European guests. The domestic artisan
cheeses are big, but not as big as The Chef's Hot Hairy
G.C. - What do you look for in a chef who wants
to join your team?
D.M. - Someone with a modest back ground, that wants
to learn what we are doing here. In our team cooks need
to focus on every dish as though it was the only one
that they were cooking.
G.C. - What is key in the career development of
an aspiring chef?
D.M. - In the early stages I think that an aspiring
chef has got to focus on working in establishments that
are the best, build a good resume and sound knowlege,
then the real money will follow. Longevity is important
too, do not jump from job to job,otherwise eventually
offers will not be so forthcoming. Secondly the longer
you are in an establishment the more responsibility
you will get and the learning experience will increase.
G.C. - What question would you like to see asked
of another chef?
D.M. - How would they motivate their team to reach
that Five Star standard, when the team members have
never experienced it.
G.C. - If you were not a chef what would you be
D.M. - I can't decide, a Male Stripper or a Mafia God
G.C. - What is your ambition?
D.M. - To make people happy, starting in the morning
with my twins, and finishing wth the guest