Behind every successful chef…

May 27, 2011 at 5:29 pm Leave a comment

Lantern's Andrea Reusing and Miguel Torres (Photo by Takaaki Iwabu

When you send your “compliments to the cook,” don’t forget the sous chef. Andrea Weigl, award-winning food writer for the News and Observer, has written a fabulous feature about the cooks in the kitchen who make some of the Triangle’s best chefs shine.  Andrea Reusing (Lantern) relies on Miguel Torres.  Amy Tornquist (Watts Grocery) turns to Sunny Gerhart. Ben Barker (Magnolia Grill) has Amanda Forsyth, and Walter Royal (Angus Barn) is backed by both  Jimmy Alfano and Jim Long. You can read all about these super sous chefs in the full story, or savor this morsel below about Miguel Torres. He began his career in his mother’s restaurant in Guanajuato, Mexico, then started over in NC as a dishwasher:

“Miguel Torres, 31, came to the United States from Mexico at the age of 18, knowing very little English, and with only an uncle’s promise of a dishwashing job at a Chapel Hill restaurant…..

“Six months after Torres arrived in Chapel Hill, chef Bret Jennings took over the restaurant, turning it into Elaine’s on Franklin. Torres climbed the fine-dining kitchen’s hierarchy: dishwasher, prep cook, line cook.

“When Lantern opened across the street in late 2001, Torres got a second job there working as a pastry assistant. Torres worked 80 hours a week, splitting his time between Elaine’s and Lantern. Eventually, Reusing offered Torres more money to come work for her full time and he left Elaine’s.

“Along the way, Torres realized food could be more than just a livelihood. He was inspired by the fact that Reusing was so successful despite never having gone to culinary school. He says he thought: ‘I can do this.’  [Claro, si se puede!]

“Three years ago, he was made Lantern’s chef de cuisine. This year, Reusing won Best Chef of the Southeast from the James Beard Foundation, which not only reflects her skill but the ability of her staff – and especially Torres – to execute her food.”

Follow @andreaweigl on Twitter.

Entry filed under: Chefs, Sustainable Food, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , .

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