We would like to take the time in this issue of our Employee Highlights to introduce the new Executive Chef, Eric to our sister restaurant, Boiler Room Oyster Bar!
Tell us about your journey to Kinston, including your education and culinary background.
I was born in Miami, but moved to Charlotte when I was 12. I stayed there until I graduated from high school, at which point I moved to Boone to attend Appalachian State University. I was enrolled there for 3 years before I moved to Denver, Colorado to attend culinary school at Johnson & Wales.
Later I began working in downtown Denver with Sage Hospitality at the Corner Office Restaurant & Martini Bar. I was the sous chef there for 3 years before going to work as the sous chef at Twelve restaurant. I remained there for several months before going to the Curtis Hotel, where I worked as a banquet sous chef, then moved on to do restaurant consulting for some time.
I flew out here to do an interview and tasting for the position at the Boiler Room, got the job, and drove out here the next week.
How are you enjoying your position at the Boiler Room Oyster Bar?
I think it’s going really well! We’re all staying very busy, which is a great problem to have. We’ve been working to implement organizational systems and plan to begin adding some creative and exciting things to the menu. The environment is eclectic and exciting, and the food is heading in that direction as well.
If you were stranded on a remote island, what five foods would you like to have with you?
I would really like to have rice, garlic, onions, seafood (which shouldn’t be in short supply on an island), and black beans.
What do you see as a challenge at the Boiler Room?
Finding the niche and recognizing the customer base here. Adapting the food that I know and love to cook to meet what our guests are (and are not) acclimated to eating.
What is your favorite cuisine to cook?
I love classical French technique, but I enjoy bringing a modern and simplistic twist, especially for the Boiler Room. We can use the techniques and apply them to ingredients that have a more local influence. We get great ingredients here!
Do you see that as one of the rewards of working for a company such as this?
Absolutely! It was one of the things that drew me to this position. The farming and agriculture of the area, along with the seafood makes it a kind of chef’s paradise.
Tell me about the whole animal program utilized in both restaurants.
We do purchase whole animals for use at both restaurants. The prime cuts are typically taken for Chef & the Farmer, but the remainder is used here at the Boiler Room. This allows me room to experiment and surprise people. Not every animal is the same, not every cut is the same so I’m able to adapt the recipes and change our offerings regularly.