Greg Daniels of Haven Gastropub, Part 1
|Photo by Kimberly Valenzuela|
Greg Daniels: Creative, comfort, casual, gourmet, flavorful, fresh
OCW: What are ten words to describe you?
GD: Sarcastic, driven, creative, caring, leader, impatient, demanding, intelligent, careful, self-aware
OCW: Your best recent food find:
GD: Pork Flatiron. Was just given a sample--all natural, well-marbled, delicious. Definitely the next menu addition.
OCW: Most undervalued ingredient:
GD: Salt. I think this is where many restaurants fail to deliver good food. I don't know why so many people want to eat tasteless, bland food. I understand the health factors, but until a doctor tells me otherwise, I will continue to salt my food so that I can taste it.
I know that some chefs will tell you that using fresh ingredients requires less seasoning, and I totally agree. The point is to "properly" season food. This doesn't mean over-seasoning or under-seasoning. There is a balance that you reach with the use of salt that if done properly, highlights the ingredients without actually tasting salt.
OCW: Rules of conduct in your kitchens:
GD: Work clean, and don't complain. I don't yell... much. I expect that my team shows up on time, puts in 100%, and is happy doing it. I run a kitchen that is very open to suggestion. I feel that if a line cook is involved in the development of the dish, he or she will have a sense of ownership that only comes with that involvement. Dishes that we work on rely on just about everyone being involved, whether it be the whole thing or just a small aspect of it. It's important to hire creative people, that can bounce ideas off of you. As a chef, I believe being open to those ideas is what makes a restaurant great.
OCW: One food you detest:
GD: Anything from McDonald's. Anything from Olive Garden. I hate when people say, "Well, the breadsticks and salad are really good." If a restaurant's claim to fame is breadsticks and salad, I don't want to be there. Besides the fact that you can find a much better plate of pasta for the same price or less anywhere.
OCW: One food you can't live without:
GD: Tacos. Being from Whittier originally, I was raised on Mexican food. I don't think I could live without it. Growing up, we had tacos every Friday night - the spicier the better. My stomach has paid the price over the years, but it's not slowing me down any.