Tyson Cole, Uchi/Uchiko (Austin, TX)
"Once I was in front of guests and making sushi, I just had this whole world open up in front of me. It was so creative, so interactive, so fun, and I was so well-suited for it. The tactile-ness, the execution, interacting with guests... I just felt that it was like God put me here to be a sushi chef."
Brian Malarkey, Searsucker (San Diego, CA)
"Fresh off the culinary school 'boat' and disillusioned with what I thought was the industry -- houndstooth pants, paper hats, and sh***y white scarves making terrines and galantines and hotel food from instructors without class or style -- I felt like a number in the nimrod circus. Given, this was 20 years ago and the industry has certainly changed. But I walked in the back door of LA’s world-class Citrus on Melrose -- by bigger than life French chef Michel Richard -- and the sights, the smells, the teamwork, the food was all art on the plate... the cooks and chefs were the rock stars. The guests were all bending their necks to see what was happening in the kitchen. The celebrities were treating us like celebrities! I may have been making someone else’s food, but I was proud, happy, and at peace."
"My 'aha' moment came when I moved to LA when I was 22 years old. I had been working in fancy restaurants for about eight years already, but I always took it for granted that I'd find a 'real' job and stop working in restaurants. That summer, I got my first office job working as a secretary for a film company. Trying to work a 9-to-5 job made it extremely clear to me that the kitchen was my only home."
“I started cooking because I honestly didn’t know what else to do. I then left cooking to go to college. I was attending Berkeley, and I was looking around at all of these amazingly brilliant minds when I realized I knew one thing that most of them did not. I knew what I wanted to really do with my life: cook.”