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Thursday, March 25, 2010
92Y Video: Food Talks: Doing What You Love With Dan Barber and Dorothy Hamilton

Attention aspiring chefs. In the video above, French Culinary Institute founder and CEO Dorothy Hamilton asked James Beard Award winner Dan Barber of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns what he looks for when he hires chefs. “When someone comes for a job to be a cook at Stone Barns,” she inquired, “what its it that you are looking for?”

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.

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