As a part of Geek Eats I not only want to talk about food but those who prepare it as well. For that reason, I thought it might be fun to spotlight some chefs. I decided to start with one of my best friends who also happens to be an executive chef here in Phoenix. Richard Rodriguez is the executive chef at OHSO, a happening nano-brewery in Phoenix’s popular Arcadia District. As executive chef, Richard oversees food production, kitchen staff, scheduling, ordering, and anything else food related. Originally from Queens, NY, Richard graduated from Globe High School 2003 and then attended the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, graduating in 2004. He also happens to have created my favorite burger of all time, the sweet chili burger. Richard was kind enough to answer some questions for me.
How long have you been a chef?
I’ve been cooking since I was 17, so 12 years now.
What inspired you to become a chef?
I have an Uncle who is a chef, so he kind of took me under his wing.
What type of culinary training did you go through?
Besides working my way up through the kitchen and learning as I went, I also attended the Scottsdale Culinary Institute where I earned my associates degree and Le Cordon Bleu Certificate.
What is your favorite thing to cook?
I love to prepare Asian ingredients using French techniques. (Interviewer’s note: his love for Asian flavors is apparent especially in my favorite burger, the Sweet Chili Burger which tops a hamburger with sweet Thai chili sauce, bleu marbled jack cheese, and applewood bacon.)
Did any pre-conceived notions about cooking change once you became a chef?
Yes, cooking in a professional kitchen is nothing like cooking at home. Not even close.
What is the best thing about being a chef?
The adrenaline rush I get in the middle of a busy service and the satisfaction I get knowing we put out amazing food.
What is the worst thing about being a chef?
Working long hours when everyone else is out having fun.
Are there any foods you hate to cook?
I won’t prepare anything involving Ranch Dressing or Cornbread.
Do you find TV chefs inspirational or annoying to the culinary community? Why?
I used to watch Emeril Lagasse and Mario Battali every day after school. Their passion for food and cooking continues to inspire me today.
Who has been most influential in your culinary career?
My Uncle has guided me through my career since day one.
Can you share one kitchen tip with our readers?
Things don’t need to be cooked to death. It’s ok to eat a medium rare steak.
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to become a chef?
As long as you are willing to work hard and passionately, show up every day then you can be successful in this business.
I really appreciate Richard taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer these questions. He was also gracious enough to share a recipe with us! You can see it below. Try it out and leave a comment with your thoughts and/or questions you may have for Richard and we will do our best to get you some answers!
Enjoy What You Eat!