Our Blend on Main brand ambassadors recently checked in with Chef Lou to wrap up the 2016 Summer Season. Check out our transcript from the event. Congratulations on a successful season!
Q: How was your summer, Chef?
Chef: It was great. There were a lot of familiar faces & some new clientele as well. We were blessed with a good season.
Q: September was more of the same beautiful weather. Did that help?
Chef: Without a doubt. It seems to be that beautiful weather ushers in crowds from all over. Even though summer is gone, we are still running some special promotions to honor our locals.
Q: What do you mean exactly?
Chef: We offered a lot of special discounts and complimentary dishes throughout the month of September, and this will possibly go into October as well. So get on that email list.
Q: The restaurant has made some changes recently. Can you walk us through?
Chef: Yes! I took the small space on the one side of the restaurant and created a sister restaurant called the Peach Pit Cafe. We serve breakfast, lunch & dinner.
Q: Any relation to 90210, the show?
Chef: I knew it was a catchy title. I hoped that people would recognize the name from somewhere and relate it to an eatery. Sorry, guys, but you won’t be seeing Dylan or Nat here any time soon, lol.
Q How is it going with the new venture?
Chef: We seem to be gaining some ground and have become more noticed. Our customers enjoy the quaint space and casual menu.
Q What is your breakfast specialty?
Chef: We do frittata pretty well, all sorts of specialty pancakes, and French toast. The kids love us. Some sweet stuff we serve. I do have to say you can’t get a better corned beef hash anywhere. It is a lifelong favorite of mine and we do it from scratch.
Q What is the hardest thing about being a chef?
Chef: Hmm…that is a tough question. I think that since we have to be so on all the time and timing is such a huge part of our world, it gets very frustrating dealing with people out in the real world. It is hard to turn off the full court press. It is hard to relax.
Q: So it is stressful, I imagine?
Chef: There are so many aspects to being a chef. We are psychologists, artists, business people, accountants, purchasing agents, teachers, directors, and traffic control operators all wrapped up into one profession. It is a lot of ground to cover. But I wouldnt’ trade it for anything!
Q: What is your favorite part?
Chef: We get to create food for people when they are relaxed. There really is not tragedy involved in our daily work. I know there is a lot of professions out there that deal with the darker side of life. We keep it light and have fun. Everyone must contribute in the kitchen for that to happen, though.
Q: Do you have to rely on a lot of people?
Chef: Without a doubt! You can show them, but eventually have to let them take the wheel. I can’t be everywhere. Good people are hard to find though, now. It seems harder now than ever before.
Q: What could you attribute that to?
Chef: I blame the Food Network. It seems like there aren’t any more kids who want to come up the way I did… working hard, learning from professionals, and putting your time in. They want that sous chef job right away and that needs to be earned through time.
Q: How old were you in your first restaurant?
Chef: I was 14 and worked at Roy Rogers. I was the youngest ever to make the chicken room. That was a big deal to me. I learned about time, speed, and accuracy there.
Q: Where did the name Blend come from?
Chef: It is a culmination of my career and all of the different styles I have learned. A “blend” if you will. You will see American, Italian, French, South American, Pacific Rim, and Asian on my menu at any given time. We love that part of it as well. Not being tied down to one cuisine.
Q: How do you execute all those different styles? How did you learn?
Chef: Just like I explained before. I learned under some very talented chefs. I kept my eyes open, mouth shut, and listened. I learned much of what to do and also what NOT to do. I traveled. I ate. I read as often as possible and use the techniques I have learned to sharpen the different flavor profiles.
Q: How do you handle all of the reviews and the way society is today where everyone is a critic and has a perception?
Chef: Great question. It is tough. Our only answer here is to take away the weapons they may use against you. You give them the best service and quality as timely as possible. Sometimes we fall short. More often than not we deliver. We aren’t like weather men or athletes. We can’t be right 1/3 of the time. We need to hit our mark as close to 100% of the time. We have a motto: We can chase perfection only to catch excellence. We have a good track record and seem to please the majority.
Q: On a personal side, tell us about your family.
Chef: I have the most beautiful girls in the world by my side to support me. I have my three daughters, Emma, Sara & Julia. They are my light & my happiness. I am also married coming up on 18 years to my lovely bride and partner here at the restaurant, Tara. She does all of the event bookings.
Q: How do you balance it all?
Chef: Organization is key. Chef’s are very organized by nature. It is an extremely fast paced lifestyle, it is called “controlled chaos.” When it appears to be out of control it is not at all. I rely on a loyal staff and realize that plans are great until life happens. So I go with the flow. I mean we are all on a journey.
Q: There is a stigma that all restaurant people are living the dark life. Can you elaborate?
Chef: LOL…no question I have run across some crazy pirates in my day. Like I did say, you must surround yourself with good people. You can tell the bad seeds almost immediately and rid yourself of them asap. We are a drug & alcohol free kitchen. That is a must. Too much on the line to be otherwise.
Q: What can we expect in the near future?
Chef: We will be changing up our menu for the new seasons real soon. Please come by and visit. It was great talking with you, but I must now get back to the stove.