“Legacy, legacy, legacy, legacy
Black excellence, you gon’ let ’em see…” Hov
So for my first installment, we have Brooklyn’s own (from the Flossy) Celebrity Chef, Caterer, & Philanthropist Ronald Harris, creator of The Flossy Food Spot. Enjoy the interview guys!
1. What made you fall in love with cooking?
“Well, growing up in a Caribbean household, cooking was a team effort. So on Sunday’s my mother would always prepare a meal from scratch and everyone had to chip in. Whether it was grating coconut, to squeezing the milk out of rice, kneading flour for dumplings or washing dishes. It was also a way for us to spend time together as a family since my moms worked two full time jobs.”
2. Why did you decided to become a chef/caterer?
“To this day I ask myself the same question lol. I guess it was my destiny. Being a chef is something some people are just born to do. I took carpentry in high school for four years. So sometimes its still a surprise to me that I cook for a living. As for why I became a caterer, its simply because I wanted more control over the food I put out and I wanted to be able to not only express myself through my food; But also not have to seek approval from management and bossess. It was time for me to do things my way!”
3. Did you train professionally?
“Yes, I attended The Culinary Academy of New York from 2007 to 2008. I also did culinary externships at the Soho Grand Hotel for about 3 months. If I were to go back, I wouldn’t go to culinary school. I would just start as a dish washer in a reputable restaurant and work my way up as an apprentice under the chef. The two reasons are one, avoiding the student loans. Learn to earn instead of paying lol and two, cooking is a hands on job, and you just need to be thrown into the fire.”
4. What did you like the best about the culinary educational experience?
“Learning!! There was so much to learn. I learned new cooking techniques, new ingrediants, other cultures and their cuisine. As well as learning the correct ways to do things. Culinary arts is math, science, history, geography, biology, horticulture and so much more.; Mixed with self expression.”
5. Whats your best memory from being in the kitchen?
“Well, I guess I would say my best memory from being in the kitchen was when I was working at The Tribeca Grand Hotel. I was on the graveyard shift, though it seemed like the worst possible shift to work because you were the only chef/cook in the kitchen. That meant you needed to be well knowledgeable on every station and every dish in the restaurant. As well as have the skill to execute them in a timely fashion. I think this was the job that really made me realize how talented I was as a chef and a leader.”
6. I am curious, how do you find the balance between cooking for others and life outside of the kitchen?
“As a line cook or as a chef, in any restaurant your life is basically dedicated to the kitchen. Most restaurant peak hours are the same hours that our social and family lives take place, which makes it difficult to spend time with loved ones or attend social events. So for the first 10 years of my career I felt as if I was missing out on time with Bae or hanging with the homies. Plus all the other events that you didn’t want to miss growing up in the biggest city in the world. So it’s hard to balance that life and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to become my own boss.”
7. As you have developed your culinary skills/love for cooking, Is there a chef or family member that has infulencd you and your style?
“Well as a chef you become a culmination of the chef’s you work under and the cooks you work with; not to mention your family influences, mom, dad and the bbq king uncle every family seems to have. You will learn more from them than you will learn from any book. but I can’t say there is a chef that influenced me and my style of cooking. I’ve just been influenced by my life.”
8. Whats your favorite dish to make?
“Well that changes for me very often. I love a dish that tests my skill and culinary techniques. Usually something like seafood from a foreign culture. I also love fine dining. Refining a dish and making it better is one of my passions especially when it comes to Caribbean food. As for a favorite dish to eat, I would have to say any meal cooked with loved and shard with people of love.”
9. Are there any food trends you think will be big the rest of 2020 and going into 2021?
“Thats a good question! As a chef its our job to stay ahead of the trends. People love to be wowed when their food arrives at their table. I’m always trying to push my culture’s food to the forefront and put it on a big stage. So I would have to say Caribbean fusion. One of the local restaurants I’ve seen in Brooklyn, has recently been pushing the envelope with the opening of each new spot. By not only having great food but also the great ambience and the entertainment as well.”
10. Finally, Do you have any advice for us amateur cooks?
“Just always be open to learn new things. There is a world of knowledge out there, so always humble yourself to learn. Anytime I start working in a new kitchen, I take the lead from my seniors in that kitchen and try to learn as much as I can. At the end of the day, it will only elevate me me as a chef as I go on to my next venture. Also hard work is the key. This isnt an easy profession but with the right knowledge and skills developed through hard work you can make it look easy. Lastly, but not least, invest in yourself and your craft.”
I have to take a minute to shoutout the bro Ron. I absolutely appreciate you for taking the time to share a bit of your story here. Go check him out at his page, IG: flossyfoodspot for all your catering needs!