May 19, 2016

Yes, Chef

Inside the head of sous chef Joel Orsini.

It’s one of our favorite foodie events of the year—the Texas Sous Chef Dinner. Founded by Lucia sous chef Justin Holt, this event celebrates the second in command of the kitchen and gives them a chance flex those creativity muscles.

This year’s edition of the Sous Chef Dinner is unique: Instead of a single night of ten courses, there will be two nights of food festivities on June 12 and 13. We’ll be taking a deeper dive into the background of some of the featured chefs, and this week we’re chatting with Joel Orsini, formerly of CBD Provisions and now at Filament.

  • Guilty pleasure snack: Doritos Cool Ranch or anything involving American cheese.
  • Why you started cooking: Growing up, our family really focused on eating well. My mother prepared dinner everyday and my father would always help when he was home early. I never went to school without a packed lunch made by my mother. Our holiday family gatherings are completely focused around the kitchen. It’s a place I’ve always felt comfortable.
  • The best thing you’ve ever eaten: My grandmother’s Sunday gravy. It’s not the most amazing sauce I’ve ever had, but there are so many memories attached to it. Seeing it being passed down through three generations also makes it special.
  • If you weren’t a sous chef you would be:  A rancher. I love working with humanely raised animals and seeing the difference in quality from commodity to something treated with the upmost of respect. Every creature on this planet deserves the same treatment, no matter where they come from.
  • My first kitchen job was: A dishwasher at an Omni Hotel in Houston, Texas. It was part of a extra curricular program through my high school, and the chef made a point of making us work in the dish pit first so we would understand how hard that particular job is and respect the people that work there. I will always remember how he told me if this part of the kitchen isn’t taken care of everything else will suffer. He was so correct in his statement.
  • Favorite vegetable: It depends on the season, but if I had to pick one, corn. It has changed more in the world than people know. It is used in more ways that benefit society and quality of life for most than the common consumer sees day to day.
  • Never have I ever: Set off the Ansel system. Knock on wood.

The Details: The Texas Sous Chef Dinner is taking place on June 12 and 13 at CBD Provisions. To see more interviews with Sous Chefs, click here