This column is a continuing series by Chef Peter X. Kelly of Xaviars Restaurant Group which runs every Thursday.
Restaurants, as any business, are only as a good as the team behind them. As the Chef Owner of a restaurant, I know this very well. Our kitchens function as a coordinated culinary team butchering, trimming, peeling, baking, prepping and plating as orders are anticipated and placed. There is no one --- from the porters to line cooks, sous chefs, pastry assistants or expediters -- that can function well without the support of the whole team.
Leadership is critical and a team needs focus and direction. This is why the quarterback in football is so vital to success. My quarterback at my X2O in Yonkers for the past several years has been our Chef de Cuisine Eric Diokno.
Eric started with me nearly 20 years ago as a prep cook at Freelance Café in Piermont. He has worked every station within my restaurant group including line cook at Restaurant X , Sous Chef at Freelance Café, pastry assistant at Restaurant X, pastry chef at Xaviars and, in 2007 ,he switched back from pastry to the savory side to join my opening team at X2O in Yonkers.
Working every culinary station within the kitchen including pantry, sauté, grill and even helping out in sushi, he quickly rose to be my right hand and Chef de Cuisine at this 250 seat fine dining venue. He has mentored scores of culinary students and left an indelible mark on my restaurants.
As is often said all good things must come to an end, so it is with great admiration I say goodbye to a very talented employee and wish him much success in his new endeavor which will take him to Seattle Washington for yet another new challenge. Eric will begin a new life as a commercial fisherman working the waters there to find the most pristine fish to offer to restaurants across the country.
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