Oak Chef Jason Maddy on Starting at McDonald's, Tiny New York Kitchens, and More
How did you get to Dallas?
I actually went to Austin first, where I worked with Josh Watkins and David Bull at the Driskill Hotel. I was there for three and a half years, then I came to Dallas to work at the Stoneleigh Hotel. Shortly after that, Tesar at the Mansion contacted me.
I was there for three and a half years. The first year and a half with Tesar and then Bruno [Davillion] came on, and I wanted to stay and work for him because he had so much to offer.
What did you learn from working with Chef Davaillion?
He's a very controlled and meticulous person almost the opposite of the tyrannical chef. Genuinely a hard worker, but his techniques are classic and pretty old school. So, I was just trying to learn from that.
What do you mean "controlled?"
He's very quiet, likes things his way, almost a complex person. He works his own way. But in terms of his management style and the way he works with other people, I don't consider him to be controlling or a forceful person. His kitchen is actually a really nice environment.
What did he teach you about leading a kitchen staff?
It's all about technique and getting people into the right places and watching their technique. Just having everyone organized so they can flow in a very nice organized way. There's no chaos.
Do you try to create that here?
Yeah, I brought Brian Zenner with me and we already had a good working relationship. He's kind of a west-coaster and I'm kind of an east-coaster, but there are not any conflicts because we're use to working in the same environment.
How do you create cohesion with the front of the house?
I don't consider that the front part and that the back part, it all has to be one house.
Everybody has their job to make the whole thing work right. If you get that separation then you have what's considered the two -team theory and I've never been into that.
Also, when we were hiring and training here, I made sure to tell everyone that I'm a very open chef. I don't want anyone to ever be afraid to ask me a question. When they're standing in the kitchen waiting for a plate, we're always discussing the food.