How we got started
how we got started
I went out to get beers with my friend Vince, who was, at the time, the sous chef at Kaya. I was a junior at the University of Pittsburgh and wanted to pursue cooking, but I didn't have any experience. I had, at that point, staged at Kaya with Vince and loved it and wanted more of it. We met up at one of our regular places. We had a couple of beers before his friend sat down next to me and introduced herself and said hello to him. We all drank together for a little while then Vince said he would be right back and left. His friend and I got along great. We sat drinking and making fun of strangers at the bar. When Vince finally returned he told to tell his friend, Danielle, what I wanted to do with my life. I said "I want to be a chef" she said "Shut up! I'm the chef at Soba. Do you want a job?" I said "Well... Yeah... But I've never cooked professionally before, usually just for myself and usually not sober." She said "If you suck, I'll fire you." She didn't fire me. And I did suck for while.
I graduated from Pitt with a degree in chemical engineering but knew thats not what I wanted to be doing. I had always loved food and decided to make a career of it, enrolling at Le Cordon Bleu in Pittsburgh. Not the best news for my parents, but not the worst either. I went to do my externship, and was working late night for room service one night. I made an order of Sysco chicken wings to take home since I hadn't eaten all day. When I left around 2 am, I was stopped and searched by a security guard and cited for property theft. I spoke with my chef the next day, apologized for my error and left thinking it was settled. My family was coming to stay at the resort so I had a few days off. Their last day, I went back to work but was stopped and brought up to the executive chef's office where I was told "We're here to discuss the, uh, chicken wing incident." After a brief discussion, I was fired for chicken wing thievery. I packed up my stuff and left with my parents the next morning so they could drop me off in Pittsburgh. My friend was a busser at Soba and told me they were hiring so I set up an interview with chef Danielle Cain. She hired me, I finished my externship and eventually became her sous chef. I really love chicken wings though. Like, a lot.