One on one...
This month Jeremy Emmerson interviews himself. how weird is
that? Find out a little more about the man behind GlobalChefs.com.
Give us a quick career summary
I trained at Westminster Catering College in London. Once
I was through with college I worked at the Royal Garden Hotel
for two years, then I joined the Four Seasons London. I worked
there for a further eighteen months and then decided to take
a year off and travel. I spent the next twelve months with
my girlfriend (now wife) backpacking through India, Nepal,
Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and the U.S. It was
a really great experience and changed my outlook on life,
I became much more tolerant of other people. Taking a year
off and seeing the world - at least a little of it - has probably
proved to be the best career move I've made.
Once I returned to the UK I rejoined Four Seasons as part
of the pre opening team at the new Four Seasons hotel named
The Regent London (now Landmark London). After three years
at the Regent the opportunity to transfer to the US arose
and I moved to The Four Seasons Hotel Palm Beach, Florida.
Florida was great. The hotel is excellent and it was fabulous
to be cooking great food (probably the best in Florida) and
not living in a city. After four years I transferred to Chicago
to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel (a property managed by Four Seasons).
The Ritz really shaped my food philosophy, after four more
years I moved on, leaving behind a bundle of great friends
and taking some solid experience.
In April 2003 I arrived in San Francisco where I am the Executive
Chef of the Four Seasons Hotel.
How did GlobalChefs start?
I had the idea of starting a cooking magazine while I was
traveling. But with the huge costs involved in getting a printed
magazine off the ground the idea stayed just that. Once I
moved to Chicago I got into the Internet and soon realized
that this could be a way to launch my idea, the only problem
was I had no idea how to publish a web site. Like many chefs
I had chosen cooking as a profession as I was not academically
minded and had no interest in computers. After giving it some
thought I decided that it was time to overcome my computing
fears, I taught myself how to create a simple website. Three
years on, with the help of my computing friends (Nicko Sahlas
and Jeff Szucs [Sooch]), GlobalChefs has blossomed into what
you see today.
Why do you do it?
Well it's not for money that's for sure! I fund the publication
myself. I really enjoy writing and I get great satisfaction
in knowing that I publish an online magazine that is read
by thousands of people around the world. Additionally the
experts get a ton of emails. I love the idea that whether
we are helping readers with wine pairing, cooking questions
or career decisions. We are able to mentor hundreds of people
each year. It has become more than I ever anticipated and
that just keeps me motivated. As a bonus my Internet writing
has opened some doors to work with conventional magazines,
most recently with the BBC's Good Food Magazine (September
Where do you get your ideas for features?
The ideas that I come up with are often based on my own interest
in having a greater understanding of a subject. I figure that
if a topic interests me then it will probably be of interests
and value to the other chefs and food lovers out there. Some
of the other topics that GlobalChefs covers are written about
based on reader's requests and from the cooks that I work
with. I really like to get feedback and direction from the
What are your future plans for GlobalChefs?
Well right now with my new job is my priority, additionally
we have a new baby arriving in October so this year I am just
going to hang in there and try to publish a new issue every
two months. I feel that in 2004 I will be able to get the
site back to ten issues a year. I want to continue to spotlight
emerging chefs and interview a few higher profile chefs too.
I aim to expand the environmental section and polish the wine
features. The dream would be to go to a printed format.
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by and I have the greatest respect for Jamie
Oliver and my Dad. Which is quite funny because my Dad thinks
Jamie is the biggest plum on this earth (me and my brother
actually caught my Dad talking to the T.V once when Jamie
was on saying "if you think that I am even going to watch
you for even one second you're very much mistaken.") Jamie
Oliver has broken the media mold of TV cooks and opened up
the doors to other chefs who are not at the top of their profession
but can cook and have great character. Jamie Oliver has sold
eight million cookbooks, in eleven languages in forty-seven
countries, he has recorded four TV series opened a restaurant
with great food and scored an MBE. To those who don't know
much about the UK and the awards that are given out by our
lovely Queen, it is a majorly big event to be given an MBE.
Throw into the mix that Jamie is under 30 and the nicest guy
that you can meet - defiantly still one of the boys - and
I think you have someone that you can look up to. As for my
Dad, he is not a millionaire and he has no MBE but he is the
most determined man I have ever met. He never gives up, never.
Which is your favorite cooking magazine
I like Cuisine (published in New Zealand) and Martha Stewart
Living is pretty good. I buy it to help her with her legal
fees. But Food Illustrated is my personal favorite. The staff
cover great topics and as it is owned by the British supermarket
chain Waitrose. It does not have too many advertisements in
it and is very stylish. I am also a big fan of The New York
Times food section and The (London) Times writer Giles Coren.
What is the best meal that you have ever had?
It was in England in a pub called The Royal Oak in a small
village near Pewsey, Wiltshire. It was a simple beef stew
with dumplings but it was cooked perfectly. If you had ever
asked me to imagine stew and dumplings this would have been
a carbon copy of my thought. Being able to do this as a cook
is a rare skill, but if you can cook something exactly as
a guest would imagine it to be you are going to be successful.
If you were stranded on a dessert island what food would you
want with you and what piece of equipment?
I would want a jar of Marmite - defiantly an English thing?
As for a piece of equipment; a sensible man would take a good
knife I suppose, but being as I hate sensible people I would
take my Boos Block butchers' block because I love it and it
impresses people, every visitor to the island would probably
say "shit Jeremy that's a nice butchers' block."
What book is on your bedside table?
A Return To Cooking, by Eric Ripert. I was not too impressed
with it at first but after a few reads it is actually rather
fantastic. It will be reviewed on the site pretty soon.
How do you beat the stress of the business?
I don't know that I am an expert in this field, but if I find
myself having a bit of a stressful moment I think about my
daughter, she is the center of my life and my real priority,
everything else comes second and that helps me gain perspective.
I find another good way to combat stress is to play golf;
nothing in this world can annoy, irritate or piss me off as
much as golf, I most certainly don't have a chance to think
about all the other B.S. when I am watching my golf ball fly
in to the woods!
Tell us a secret
Tell us a secret - please.
If I am in for a busy day and need positive energy I wear
red underwear. It's based on the Tiger Woods theory of wearing
a red golf shirt during the final round of a tournament. The
color red has positive power but don't have a red chefs' jacket
(which is a good job as it would look very silly) so I don
A piece of advice for the chef of tomorrow
That's easy - don't do it, get a real job.
Can you offer another piece of advice for the chef of tomorrow
- perhaps something a little more positive?
OK. If you chose to ignore my first piece of advice, then
embrace the business, ask questions, never settle for what
you are doing today always try to do it better tomorrow. Read
as much as you can, be passionate about what you do but don't
be too hard on yourself, this business can drive you insane
- even suicidal if you let it. After a really bad day you
need to remember that it is just a job and that you should
have worn red underwear!