chef, interview, television
Chef Che Gravy 
There are a lot of cooking shows on tv these days. So many its kinda hard to keep up. I mean between Top Chef, The Food Network, Cooking Channel and so many others, you cant help but schedule them into your foodie life. My DVR was set every week last year for the culinary events and mishaps of season 1 premier of BRAVO TV's "Chef Roble and Co".  Now gearing up for season 2, I had the chance to chat fabulously with Roble's right hand man, Che Gravy bka The Sauce Boss, to find out if the rise of fame has changed his outlook on the industry and what culinary wonders he's got up his sleeve. 

Christopher Stewart - Where did you get your education?
Chef Che Gravy - The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York. 2001 

CS - Where have you gained your experiences? 
CG - I've worked in Vegas, Miami, Boston, Atlanta, D.C., New York City. From the MGM Grand Hotel to opening up The Shore Club Hotel in South Beach to Executive Sous Chef at the  world renown China Grill Restaurant in Midtown Manhattan. Yeah... I've been a few places.

Chef Che Gravy on CIA Campus 
CS - I feel like there are pros and cons of going to culinary school. Do you think culinary school in this day and age is important as it was say 10-20 years ago? 
 CG - I think if you want to be a culinary professional and climb up the ladder of success, a culinary education is imperative. Not only is it a prestigious thing, some companies won't hire you unless you have a degree from an accredited school. In many instances it takes a lot more than just knowing someone. 

CS - Do you think social media {twitter, facebook, instagram, etc} is killing the essence of cooking and what it means to be a chef? 
CG - No I don't think social media is killing the craft, I think it actually created a canvas for Chefs and home cooks alike to share their creations and be open for constructive criticism or compliment. Many moons ago being a Chef or cook was looked down upon and now it is heralded as an art form and as a profession of passion which can be displayed in many different forms.

CS - How do you feel about food trends? (i.e farm to table, smaller restaurants, big name chefs opening places in up and coming neighborhoods)
CG - Well you have "Trendsetters" and "Trendrunners". The Trendrunners usually don't last as long as The Trendsetters. It's takes a very whimsical individual to come up with a concept that will stand the test of time. Legends like the great Auguste Escoffier and Paul Bocuse were known for taking classics and modernizing them into sustainable staples don't will never lose its shelf life. Other legends such as Nobu Matsuhisa, Julia Child, Jacques Pepin and Wolfgang Puck to name a few, set trends that up and coming Chefs follow because they are learning instruments to hone your craft and find your niche in the industry. Them you have the "El Bulli" and "WD-50" wave that is opening the worlds eyes to molecular gastronomy all of which is quintessential and informative cooking. I grew up on a farm and the men in my family hunted deer and went fishing on my Grandfathers lake.. Me I just take my upbringing, everything I learned in Culinary school, all my wonderful cooking and dining experiences to create my own fusion cuisine. SoulAsian. Pronounced sway-shun. Which fuses anything from the soul with Far East techniques and flavors. 

CS- What was some of your biggest mistakes coming into the game as a new chef? 
CG I wish I would of saved my money and branded myself a lot earlier. I'm almost 30 and a lot of my ideas/creations were born in my early 20's. I would be a lot further in the game had I done that.

CS - What life experiences have influenced your cooking style. 
CG - Well growing up in the Hudson Valley has definitely influenced my cooking style immensely. I was fortunate enough to grow up in my Grandparents house with a backyard full of squash, cabbage, tomatoes, collards, apple, pear, and cherry trees, and grapevines. I would watch my grandma and granddad bring in this beautiful basket of fresh produce and start cooking from scratch! Nothing came out of can.. unless it was franks n beans lol. My granddad  had a lake so he would take me out fishing on his little boat, Catfish, perch and striped bass were on the menu quite frequently. I owe it to my grandparents for developing this passion inside of me that eventually made me want to become a Chef.

The beginning of some delicious oxtails 
CS - Who are your favorite chefs and food elite?
CG - I would have to say all of my peers. I have a lot of friends in my circle that are some pretty bad ass Chefs. Besides the legends I mentioned earlier, I would have to say that these guys keep me grounded and above the culinary curve. Anytime something is "trending" or a new product is launched, I get a phone call.

CS - What is your advice for the young and eager chefs of tomorrow? 
CG - Be consistent, remain hungry and grind hard.. in that order. Don't be afraid to broaden your culinary horizon. The longer you stay in one place, the more complacent you become. The more complacent you become, the less likely you are to learn new things and develop a well rounded pallet.

CS - With the success of BRAVO TV's "Chef Roble and Co." how has this experience changed you and your views on the industry?
CG - I still view the industry in the same way and I haven't changed one bit, It just opened my eyes to broadcast television and how you can use it as a canvas to leverage yourself into different ventures. Me and Roble knew this was something we wanted to do for many years. We both want our own shows but the concept he came up with was so solid he had to go with that one first. Stayed tuned though.. ;)

CS - A couple of months ago I read an article from the Chicago Tribune asking "Where are the black chefs?" Do you feel like black chefs and food related jobs (i.e maitre d, general managers, sommelier) get little to no exposure? 
Diver Scallop x Bonito Flakes x Pomegranate Reduction 
CG -  That's funny because 8 years ago, one of my fellow Culinary Market Brothers passed me an article that stated the same thing. I must say we've been here a very long time but the art of being a Chef or Culinary professional wasn't recognized by the black community as much as say, sports or music. Basketball, Football or Hip Hop and R n B was much more the focus of little black kids in the ghetto or mid-suburbia for that matter. It wasn't cool to become a Chef and in fact a lot of parents looked down on it like it was forbidden to go into a profession as a servant. Being that we just came out of The Civil Rights Era and becoming a professional athlete or musician was a lot more acceptable. We're here to change that perception.

CS - Whats next for you. What can we look forward to from you? 
CG - Well music has always been a passion of mine and believe it or not.. I'm in a little Hip Hop group called the "Food Tang Clan" which consists of myself, Chef Roble and a friend I grew up with J Brew. We do food-parody comedy rap. It's freaking hilarious and we're working on a mixtape called "Watch The Stove" dropping soon. Also my spin off show "Chef City" which showcases my Culinary talents a bit further and also features Celebrity guests and pretty much my personal playland so to speak. Stay tuned for that as well I my cookbook "101 Ways To Make Gravy" and my marketing team The Culinary Market Brothers which are a group of talented individuals I went to Culinary school with. So yeah I got some stuff in the archives. 

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