- 1 An Interview with Steve Weber
- 1.1 Full Name:
- 1.2 Birthday:
- 1.3 Location:
- 1.4 Hobbies:
- 1.5 If you were an animal, what would you be?
- 1.6 Interesting! I like you already. What did you always want to be since you were young?
- 1.7 Haha, I’ll try not to. What’s your best memory as a child?
- 1.8 Now I’m almost in tears! I hope that wasn’t too personal?
- 1.9 Cooking! How did you love career with cooking begin?
- 1.10 Sounds like a fantastic woman Webby, and a ton of history there. So, if you were to become any chef on earth, who would you be.
- 1.11 Awesome! So who introduced you to the culinary world?
- 1.12 Great! How would you describe your cooking technique?
- 1.13 Huh! Seems someone loves a pound of flesh! What’s made your cooking skills better so far?
- 1.14 Alright, meaty Webby! So, what are the industry shifts since you first got into the business?
- 1.15 Quite Insightful! So, tell me Webby, what’s your greatest achievement so far?
- 1.16 What gives you the biggest satisfaction in your art?
- 1.17 What do you value most in kitchen management?
- 1.18 In as much as you are being sentimental, Webby, I honestly never looked at things in that light! So what are your ambitions this coming decade?
- 1.19 You haven’t ceased amazing me so far. Any final words as we conclude to anyone pursuing the culinary arts as a full-time career?
An Interview with Steve Weber
It was amazing catching up with Steve Weber – one of America’s greatest chefs (he’s humble enough not to take the credit for the best).
Steve Weber, though my friends call me Webby. Don’t even tease me on that!
1978, 21st March.
Cooking, swimming, sky-diving, snowballing, reading and definitely, a lot more cooking!
If you were an animal, what would you be?
Assuming I had divine power to decide what I’d want to be, then I’d surely be a desert ant! You’ll never notice them until you dare cross their territory! What’s more, their ‘family instincts’ makes even the toughest bear shy of getting close to their path!
Interesting! I like you already. What did you always want to be since you were young?
Here I am crossing fingers hoping you wouldn’t ask about that! You should promise not to read my mind again. Anyway, I always wanted to be Batman. It took some growing up to finally realize how expensive owning a super-flying car is – perhaps in the next 2 decades I’ll see my ambitions fulfilled.
Haha, I’ll try not to. What’s your best memory as a child?
My most memorable moment also happens to be my saddest moment. But I’ve learned to find happiness in the saddest and worst of circumstances. This was when we visited the Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canon in China back in my 4th grade. Everything appeared to be perfect until I slipped and almost fell off a depth of nearly 2000 feet were it not for my papa’s smooth reflexes. Other than peeing in my pants, I wept and made the rest of the tour unbearable for the rest. My papa passed on a week later!
Now I’m almost in tears! I hope that wasn’t too personal?
No, it’s fine. It’s always a healthy habit to reminisce a bit and remind yourself of where you’ve come from.
Cooking! How did you love career with cooking begin?
As a young boy, I always enjoyed my mother’s unique cooking abilities. If she was to start professional cooking, she would best me 9:1! However, back in the day, she only enjoyed cooking for her family and was comfortable with her nursing career. Moreover, those weren’t the days when you would easily source the best kitchenware from trusted sources such as mykitchenadvisor.com. I thus made her a solemn promise to one day cook as good as she does. I’m still trying to attain that level of perfection to date yet she always claims I’m the best cook in the universe! Mama will always be a mama!
Sounds like a fantastic woman Webby, and a ton of history there. So, if you were to become any chef on earth, who would you be.
I have a great personal admiration for chefs who’ve been in the industry and maintained their high-level discipline and standards. But at the end of the day, I’m comfortable in my skin and would rather be no one else.
Awesome! So who introduced you to the culinary world?
My vacation in Paris back in 1995 was a blissful experience as I ended up extending my visa stay once I got under the tutelage of Joël Robuchon – my first mentor. I worked under him for 4 years at a small spot known as Jamin where I slowly developed my character. He would later push my application and fully fund my learning program at the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts. Every other chip started falling into place since then and now, here I am!
Great! How would you describe your cooking technique?
I’m always on the crossroads between a touch of traditional cooking styles and classical-modern style. I’m always blending in a little bit of this and a little more of that. I had the traditional French cuisine ingrained in me from a young age: mixing that with my mother’s enviable skills, I’m able to come up with my classic recipes. That notwithstanding, I have always found a deep gratifying passion for meat and my grilled and barbecue cuisines are so far the best I’ve had – trying not to brag here. You should definitely try my grilled zucchini boats with beef!
Huh! Seems someone loves a pound of flesh! What’s made your cooking skills better so far?
That’s easy – technology! Remember how we couldn’t afford quality cooking stuff? I firmly believe in the motto; ‘a farmer and his tools!’ There’s a whole heap of advantages I’ve gained from the best kitchenware. I’m always at it to update my restaurant with the latest technology of cooking tools – be it microwaves or ovens, juicers or even fryers! I can’t emphasize enough how these have taken my kitchen mastery on a whole other level. However, you have to start with the basics if you’re planning to bbq your meat with these pieces of machinery. One needs to learn everything traditionally about meat – the moisture content, the different kinds of meat and their associated heating degrees and the likes before settling on the automated cooking techniques.
Alright, meaty Webby! So, what are the industry shifts since you first got into the business?
Every day there’s a constant change in the industry – though most of these are rather subtle and you will only notice them if you’ve been a player long enough in the industry. For instance, just a few years ago, the rare most expensive Olive Wagyu beef would only be eaten in the Metropolitan Grill in Seattle. Now, with farmers finding newer scientific methods to increase the production of the rare cattle, the steak is now readily available at a much cheaper price in several other outlets.
The industry is making a move to contain anyone and everyone who has polished tastes. It isn’t like a decade ago when you had to be a notable name in your social setting to get access to good food. Moreover, chefs are now more collaborative than competitive which was the case when I started. The internet is another outlet that has made reviews and recommendations possible to the dedicated chefs – thus more recognition. This has made it possible to shift out the ones who are only in it for the money or personal interests.
Quite Insightful! So, tell me Webby, what’s your greatest achievement so far?
It was back in March of 2013 when I was chosen by my peers to feature in the top 20 of Best Chefs America! Even the Nobel Peace Prize could not give me such a sense of humility, gratification, and satisfaction to be placed in such high regard by my fellow chefs.
What gives you the biggest satisfaction in your art?
The end-goal or the purpose to put it more plainly! Just like in football, the players are most happy when they have a tactful game characterized by goals. Similarly, my end goal when cooking is always to surpass the customer’s expectations. This is no easy feat but whenever you have the end goal in sight, it becomes much easier. It’s always a gratifying ordeal to see a customer eating with a huge smile and coming back for more.
What do you value most in kitchen management?
Being a chef, I used to learn a thing or two every once in a while. Being the head chef, it has become imperative to learn something new every day! It’s not a learning ground for my kitchen stuff only but also a place that has taught me much.
There are several things my kitchen stuff knows me for – discipline, being conservative and that good food comes from good loving. Discipline is self-explanatory. I’m conservative in the sense that I’ve always emphasized on proper utilization of everything including electricity. It’s a joy to see my employees adopting the positivity. The most important lesson which I learned from my mother – love conquers all. She made us the best dishes because she loved us sore! With love, it ceases to be a competition in the kitchen and becomes teamwork. With love, you can always be sure the restaurant will always be filled with loyal customers.
In as much as you are being sentimental, Webby, I honestly never looked at things in that light! So what are your ambitions this coming decade?
I’d love to make the best recipes accessible to those who’ve never had access. We are opening 4 branches of restaurants next year in Africa: 2 in Kenya, 2 in Ghana. Depending on how those will pick up, we’ll proceed to Asia.
You haven’t ceased amazing me so far. Any final words as we conclude to anyone pursuing the culinary arts as a full-time career?
Sure thing! In as much as technology has made things better and accessible, more movies are also now in circulation which makes most youngsters coming into the industry delusional. This new generation is less willing to put in the extra efforts, is money-focused and will cower at every admonition from the head chef. If you are willing to get corrected and change your ways, and you also have the final goal – the customer – at the back of your head and center of the heart, then you are ready to become a chef!
I thought I’d be learning a thing or two about cooking from Steve Weber but only ended up gaining crucial life lessons. I had to try his bbq steak, for sure, this guy isn’t just talking. Follow him on his profile for more.