Hometown: I’m originally from Akron Ohio. I moved to Columbus for my wife, who’s a nurse. About 10 years ago she got a job offer she couldn’t pass up at Ohio State’s Ross Heart Hospital, and off we went. She’s from here, so it works out well.
Background: I’ve been cooking for exactly 20 years now, but my career was definitely not by design. I started out at Akron’s Carousel Dinner Theatre, at the time the largest dinner theatre in the country. My brother was the executive chef, and he asked me to help him out for a couple months during the busy season. Three months turned into three years, and before I knew it cooking was a part of me – it just came natural. After that, I wanted to get experience with as many cuisines as possible to develop my skills. So I cooked in everything from Italian to barbecue restaurants before landing a great position at Mitchell’s Ocean Club here in Columbus. I spent two years there before transferring to Cameron’s American Bistro, where I spent four years. I started with Cameron Mitchell Restaurants as a cook and worked my way up to sous chef. It was great. But my goal was always to be a head chef at one of the best fine-dining restaurants in the city, and so when I heard that Final Cut was opening up, I jumped on the opportunity.
Most memorable kitchen experience: Opening day at the casino. I don’t think I’ve ever seen crowds so big – on the casino floor and in the restaurants. I was amazed at how great the casino looked and proud of how prepared our staff was for the number of guests who came through our doors.
Best thing about the Columbus dining scene: The variety. From food trucks to fine dining, our city has a lot of great options in each price range. Within Hollywood Casino alone, there are four options-great burgers and craft beers at the sports bar and grill o.h.; an unparalleled buffet and made-to-order selections at Epic Buffet; delicious grab-and-go food at Take 2 Grill; and upscale fine-dining at Final Cut.