Round two with Cory Treadway, exec chef of the Wynkoop
If you could cook in another chef's kitchen, whose would it be? Thomas Keller's. It would be such an honor to work beside an American icon and gain perspective on his pursuit of perfection. And then I'd get to eat at the French Laundry.
What skills and attributes do you look for when hiring kitchen staff? Cleanliness, good knife skills, punctuality, honesty and integrity.
Biggest mistake a chef can make on the line: Losing their shit in front of the staff and not taking responsibility for mistakes as they happen; it's so important to show your staff how to correct errors as soon as they happen. Being a leader in the kitchen is critical, and the chef sets the tone and the standard. If you behave badly, why shouldn't everyone else?
Describe the challenges facing today's chefs: With smartphones, you now have to become a cop in your own kitchen to bust your staff from texting, e-mailing, sharing photos or playing games rather than working. As useful as our phones are, they can be extremely distracting.
What's your idea of a great dining experience? Cheap and fantastic food, good wine and great friends. It doesn't matter where we are as long as there's laughter.
What's the best compliment someone could give to you? When customers come back, that means you're doing something right. It's the best compliment that you can receive.
Craziest night in the kitchen: There have been a lot of crazy nights, but the one that left the biggest impression was New Year's Eve 1998 in Louisville, Kentucky. I was working at a place called Brasserie Deitrick, and we were running a duck-three-ways special. Unfortunately, our chef miscounted how many we had on the board and how many we had working. We were down a duck breast, and our entire line stopped to watch him totally lose his shit and, believe it or not, pull a duck right out of the trash that he'd overcooked earlier. He re-seared it and served it smothered in Cumberland sauce. That moment gave a whole new meaning to "by any means necessary."