What inspired you to become a chef?
My first job at fifteen was at a steakhouse in Atlanta. I started as a dishwasher and worked my way up to line cook. Once I took that position, I fell in love with the rush, the preparation of food and the feedback from guests who loved what was presented. I knew at that time that I loved to cook and it was something I needed to explore further.
What is your favorite cuisine to cook?
I don’t have a favorite cuisine to cook, but I love to create fusion cuisine. I’m very experimental with flavors, textures and colors. My believe is to always let the food speak. Which means I never want to completely eliminate the natural flavors of the food products I am cooking with.
What is your greatest weakness, as a chef? What are you doing to improve on it?
I would say my greatest weakness is not really a weakness and that’s to continue to cook with new and different ingredients. One of the most intriguing things about being a chef is finding different ingredients and exploring different cuisines. So I will continue to keep an open mind about food and how I can add it to my arsenal of techniques and creations.
Which chefs do you admire the most and why?
I have a two part answer. I admire some trailblazers, Chef Patrick Clarke and Chef Joe Randall. I admire both, because they helped pave the way for this generation of chefs. Our history in kitchens around the US, the world is rich and vast, but many times overlooked. These two chefs made it a point to be recognized and also bring more of us with them in their kitchens. Currently, I admire Sat Bains. I love his style and how he incorporates bold flavors while still having shown technique and sophistication. I think my style is quite close to him. Marcus Samuelsson, his story of being an orphan from Ethiopia and becoming the youngest chef to receive a three star rating from the New York Times. His entrepreneurship is something I look at and review. He has restaurants and books with his name on it.
What has been your greatest professional success and biggest setback?
Winning multiple awards for being the top Chef in the Atlantic Submarine fleet, while in the United States Navy and being a Chef Instructor at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. The biggest setback was when Le Cordon Bleu closed all it’s campuses. This position was my top two favorite positions. I love teaching those that love and want to learn more about our industry.
Favorite food and restaurant?
I love Thai food. It’s flavorful, light and healthy. Favorite Thai restaurant is Naan.
How has your family shaped your personality and who you turned out to be?
My family has instilled in me a no quit attitude and to always look outside, make your way, work hard and have the utmost belief in God. I live these principals.
What’s your best childhood memory?
When I was very young, I would spend the night at my grandmother’s house and eat vanilla ice milk.
If given a chance to meet three most famous people on the earth, who would it be, answer in order of preference?
I assume you mean living so in order. Robert Smith, Denzel Washington and Ryan Coogler.
What are the top three places you need to see before you die?
Great Barrier Reef, Shark Cage Diving and The Great Pyramids of Africa.
How can everyone keep in contact with you on social media?
Follow me on Instagram: @dukes_delicious_dogs, @chef_bkdukes and @foodie_apparel .