Hometown: Grove City
Background: Graduate of Columbus College of Art and Design. I’ve spent 15 years working as a cook at restaurants such as Lindey's, Bexley's Monk and Pete’s and 15 years running kitchens at places such as Frezno's Eclectic Kitchen, Dagwoodz, The Riverview, Doc Henderson's, Bella and Liberty Tavern.
Most memorable kitchen experience: A friend of mine convinced the chef at Lindey's to give me an interview, even though I had almost no experience as a cook. About half an hour into my tryout I was given a knife and told to slice some mushrooms. Almost immediately I sliced off the end of my thumb. I bandaged it up, put duct tape on it, put on a glove and kept working. It was busy and I had no clue what I was doing but I kept doing it through the night. We sat down at the end of the night and the chef told me I wasn't qualified or experienced enough to work there, but he liked that I kept working after I hurt myself and that I listened and tried not to fail. I worked at Lindey's for four years after that and learned so much about food, working in restaurants and life, I would not have accomplished what I have so far in my career without cutting myself that night.
Best thing about the Columbus dining scene: The diversity of independent restaurants. No matter what you are in the mood for you can find a small independent restaurant that will give you a phenomenal meal. Whether it is American, French, Southern – whatever you crave – someone is doing it.