Chef Ross-Taking the culinary world by storm!!!

Washington, DC is fast becoming a Hot Spot for the culinary world and Brownstone is lucky to be right in the middle of it. This week we would love to highlight one of the up and coming stars of the District's food culture. Chef Ross has a bright future in front of him and we are proud to introduce him to our family.

KP: So are you from this area?

CR: Yes, I'm actually from PG County. Seat Pleasant to be exact. I grew up there and went to Fairmont Heights High School. And then I went to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. While there I studied hotel and restaurant management.

KP: Was being in the culinary field something you wanted to do? Or was it something you found later in life?

CR: It's something that I always wanted to do. I got my first start at the age of 15 at a local restaurant called Pizza Movers. I had just got my work permit and they put me on the grill. I was a grill cook and if anyone you know worked a grill they would tell you that was the toughest place in a restaurant. I did pretty good and I knew from there that I could probably go pretty far.

KP: How do you make the transition from grill cook to chef?

CR: Just consistency…keeping my foot on the pedal. I had to go through all of the steps. A food and beverage director saw something in me and gave me the opportunity to use my talents and abilities. She definitely coached me in certain areas. To be a better cook and eventually a chef. That was my start

KP: Over the last 10 years, almost coinciding with the time when top chef became really popular, DC has become a place where chefs are coming to open restaurants. Before that it was your New York's and LA's. Do you feel like the area has become crowded or is there still room for new chefs?

CR: Oh, there's definitely still room in my opinion. The area is very demanding but it is still growing. The MGM Grand is opening and new opportunities are being developed. The area is still lucrative and growing. I actually thought about making a change to a location…change to the south, you know? Maybe Atlanta or Florida…something like that. Then I realized this is where it's at! I can't leave home!

KP: So what makes DC food different from all the other regions?

CR: I think it's the variety. DC has a lot of different backgrounds and ethnicities and people from all over the country; all over the world. All in this little small space. You know? I think that's what it is. I think it's just the various ethnicities and cultures that are all crammed into this small 13 mi. square area. Sometimes I've seen dishes infused to a way… Are you familiar with Mexi-Soul? Latin dishes mixed with Soul Food dishes. You'll see a lot more things like that in the DC area. It's very unique

KP: What inspires you? Who do you look up to and strive to get to a certain level?

CR: I used to watch a lot of G Garvin I thought he was pretty cool he was definitely one of the guys I looked up to. Not too many people besides him. I never did a whole lot of watching the cooking shows.

I actually met JR Robinson of KitchenCray. I've worked with him at quite a few events over the last year. And he's actually been an inspiration for me as well. KitchenCray is pretty inspiring. Giving back to the community at events like that. I was with him when he did Operation Nourishment, feeding the homeless for a day. That was pretty exciting and I like the energy over. So he's definitely one as well that I would love to mention as an inspiration.

KP: What would be your signature dish if we sat down at your table?

CR: That's a tough one I have a couple of them [laughs]. I get rave reviews about my Filet Mignon and I would probably serve that with a side of mash and asparagus and probably have a Merlot reduction on the filet. That's really hot! I get rave reviews about that every time I make it.

KP: There are a lot of young people nationwide who graduate from high school with no clear career path. If someone was trying to get into your field where would you try to tell them the start?

CR: I would tell them to start in the kitchen [laughs]. I have friends that have done culinary school…that when you paid a lot of money and ended up being electricians or something else in different fields [laughs]. I would say if this is something you want to do you need to start in the kitchen.

For example if you're too out of shape to get in the gym you do sit ups and push ups at home until you get your confidence to be in the gym. I would say, start in the kitchen, play around in the kitchen, make up your own recipes express yourself first. get the book work done as far as your certifications. You have to know your food science in your food safety how to handle food and all that good stuff. I would just definitely starting the kitchen.
 A dish prepared by Chef Ross

KP: Where can someone find you? Where can they come and get that chef Ross experience?

CR: I'm currently with entertainment cruises. The same company that runs the Spirit of Washington I'm in charge of the private yachts. We currently have a yacht at the National Harbor called the National Elite and that's where I can most likely be found. If not there I'm also on the Capital which is located at the Southwest waterfront. I also have a joint venture in which we have dinners that we throw on Sunday's for the last 15 years. And of course private gigs that are happening all over the area.
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