Round two with George Eder, exec chef of Pizza Republica
Biggest mistake a chef can make on the line: A chef who loses his cool and starts yelling throws everyone off, especially in an open kitchen. There's no excuse for it. When something goes down, then it's time to step in and focus your crew, find out what the issue is and offer to help them out. Focused attention -- and fifteen minutes of teamwork -- is everything. Yelling just frazzles an already frazzled situation and takes all of the confidence away from your staff. A chef's job is to be the emotional rock. It's like being a general: If he loses his cool, the war is over.
Which chef has most inspired you? My mom; Jose Guerrero, who's the chef at Chloe in Denver; and Anthony Bourdain. My mom instilled the joy of cooking in me at a young age and always had a plated meal for me whether I was there for dinner or not; Jose is a great friend and colleague who has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge about any cuisine; and Bourdain...well, that takes care of itself. All three realize that the joy of discovery is the best part of the journey, and I'm grateful for what they've helped me to discover in myself.
If you could cook in another chef's kitchen, whose would it be? José Andrés, at his home in Spain with his wife, would be like learning guitar from Carlos Santana on his front porch while drinking tequila.
Most humbling moment as a chef: Preparing an awesome feature for dinner service, painstakingly researching it, driving around town to get all the exotic ingredients, meticulously prepping each component, tasting the stuff and getting unanimous praise...and then selling a total number of zero. You have to cook what your guests will like.
Biggest moment of euphoria in the kitchen: That Aha! moment when you first taste a dish and realize that you nailed it -- the first time. These moments are rare and elusive.
Greatest accomplishment as a chef: Surviving the storm from when we first opened in 2009 to now, and getting ready to open our second location. I'm truly grateful for my family, my staff and all my friends and guests who made us successful.
Last meal before you die: God willing, anything cooked by my mom.
If you hadn't become a chef, what would you be doing right now? I'd still be in the restaurant business, serving people in some manner or another. It's in my blood, and it's my life's work. I just feel better taking care of people.
What's in the pipeline? A huge second location, downtown at the Colorado Convention Center. Every time I'm down there to check out the construction progress, it takes my breath away. It's a little scary, I'm a little humbled, and I'm super-excited like a kid on Christmas to open my gift. It's a brand-new buildout in a great location, and it's going to have the most awesome patio in Denver, hands down. I'm super-excited.