Executive Chef, E&O
“Don’t wait for things to come your way. Ask lots of questions and be willing to work longer and harder than everyone else.”
BC: What was the journey that led to your current position at E&O?
SN: I started at E&O 12 years ago as the chef de cuisine, and was promoted to executive chef four years later. I truly love being in the kitchen, but was also very interested in restaurant operations as a whole. So over the years, I found myself more and more involved in other aspects of running the restaurant. When I finally transitioned into my current position of overseeing both front and back of house operations, I was already familiar with much of my current responsibilities because I’d been doing them before. I also enjoy the challenge of taking on something new, and so far, this journey has been extremely gratifying, fun and educational.
BC: How are you apart of E&O’s vision to be a truly singular restaurant?
SN: I’ve always thought of E&O as our home, and we are inviting our guests into our kitchen and our dining room. That is the experience I want all of guests to take away from dining here. To feel it was personal and warm, where they can be themselves and have a great time, while we provide them great food and service. Much of our staff members have been working here for many years with each other, so the familial aspect is very much part of our culture.
BC: What is the first moment in your career when you felt truly proud?
SN: When I was first promoted to management position in the kitchen. It was during my first restaurant job out of culinary school. I came in earlier than I had to and volunteered to come in on my days off to learn as much as possible. It paid off and was the first moment where I felt I had potential in becoming a chef.
BC: Three wines you could never go without?
SN: Must say this is too tough to choose. I do love to start an evening with a glass of sparkling; Billecart Salmon is a favorite go to.
BC: Where do you go for inspiration? Similarly, who do you go to for inspiration?
SN: Ideally, would like to travel a lot more of the world, but when that doesn’t happen, I dine out whenever I can. Inspiration might come from a design element at another restaurant, an ingredient on a plate, or even the plateware itself.
BC: Would you say that women bring a unique energy to your workplace?
SN: Women have a different eye when it comes to detail and have a more nurturing aspect to their personality than men. I’ve worked with many of the chefs and cooks here for many years and they are like family. I spend time with them and try to get to know them so that I can realize their strengths and potential.
Isabella Welch is a graduate of UCLA with a degree in history. Her writing has been featured in history journals, travel blogs, arts & culture magazines, and more. Director of Editorial & Creative Development at Bob Cut Mag, lover of stories and tinto de verano, she’s usually found wandering the Headlands.