Round two with Lon Symensma, exec chef of ChoLon
Rules of conduct in your kitchen: Follow your recipes precisely, always keep your station and the walk-in spotless and organized, support each other as a team, and cook hard or go home.
Favorite celebrity chef: Tom Colicchio. He's an incredibly talented chef who's been a huge part of New York City's food scene, and I really like watching him on Top Chef.
Celebrity chef who should shut up: Every chef decides the direction that they want their career to go in, and I'm not going to judge anyone for it. That said...while Bobby Flay is a nice guy, I think the level of attention he gives to the media aspect of his career has adversely affected the quality of his restaurants.
Are chefs artists, craftsmen or both? Both. As a chef, creativity and proper technique are both necessary for success, but I think that every chef first needs to focus on the craftsmanship aspect by learning all the fundamentals of cooking before exploring and developing his or her creative side.
What's next for you? Helping my fiancée, Noelle, start planning our wedding and hopefully buying a house in the near future. I have my hands full with ChoLon right now, but I eventually want to start exploring other restaurant concepts, and I really enjoy cooking Italian food, so I would love to return to Italy at some point. I ran my second half-marathon this past September, and I'd like to run a full marathon someday. I'd also like to get up to the mountains more often to become a better skier. And we're also working on building a rooftop garden above the restaurant.