Barber wants to know what you are reading. He wants people who come with a passion for agriculture or experience with farming. “I tend to like cooks who have a physical background, so that often is in farming.” These are the chefs he covets, and in his experience make the best cooks. “They bring a kind of passion and devotion,” he explained, “that ends up making food taste better I think, in the end.” These are the individuals, with “stamina and drive,” Barber candidly noted, who can withstand the intensity of a line.
“Any cook can thrive on a line. It’s the cooks that adapt well to when things go wrong. And the cooks that adapt well to getting five hours of sleep a night. These are the cooks you want on your line.”
If the dedication and drive required to work at Stone Barn isn’t clear, Barber drove home the point in response to a question about misconceptions newly minted chefs have about working at Stone Barn, especially as it is situated on a farm: “They have this idea that 50% of their time is going to be spent in the fields, picking vegetables.” That’s not actually how you will be spending your time. “They’re in the kitchen by 9:30 in the morning, and they generally leave about 1 in the morning. And that’s a solid five day a week schedule.”
So what’s that you were saying about wanting to become a chef?
Upcoming Food Talks include Food Network “Unwrapped” with Marc Summers and Robert Irvine on Apr 25; Food on the Tube: How TV Shapes the Way We Think About Food with Padma Lakshmi, Amanda Hesser, Kathleen Collins and Charlie Trotter on Jun 1; and Eat, Drink and Think Like...The Ancient Greeks on Jun 6.