So the newlyweds travelled up to Cleveland and liked what they saw. A few months later, in July 2014, Woo moved back to Cleveland to take the job -- he was the Director of Culinary Operations at Spice. He’s brought some unique skills and ideas to help keep the restaurant fresh, four years after it first opened.
“The menu definitely took more of an Asian influence after I arrived,” he says. “I’m all for everyone on our staff contributing, having opinions on dishes, and being a part of the team. I also think there’s a lot of financial planning that I’ve helped implement, so we’re tracking our costs a little better and being able to plan and forecast from the business side of things.”
After spending so much time in kitchens that ordered whatever food they wanted to cook, Woo says it’s been somewhat of a challenge to transition into the farm-to-table concept, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We truly are farm-to-table,” he says. “I know that’s a worn out phrase, but we’re actually planting and growing a lot of the stuff we’re using on our menu. Normally, you would see a carrot in the walk-in that’s gone bad and it’s like, oh, time to get more carrots. Here, we’re like, well we planted that carrot a year ago and the Farm Manager grew it, harvested it, washed it, sent it in, we prepped it and we let it go bad. Seeing that really makes you think. That’s what we offer that a lot of places don’t: at any point in time you can drive down to the farm and see what’s going to be on the menu this week and know exactly where it’s coming from. It is the height of being connected to your food.”