Derik Moran and Kristin Tyborski of Dakota Jazz Club: Chef Chat, Part 2
We began our Chef Chat yesterday (read Part 1 here) with Derik Moran and Kristin Tyborski discussing Dakota Jazz Club's foodie nights and menu changes, how they acclimating to the changing demographics of diners at the Dakota, and more. Today, the two discuss talk about their shared role as executive chef and challenges within the industry.
Dakota's Tyborski and Moran: Are two head chefs better than one?
You guys seem like you have a really good vibe together.
Tyborski: We spend all day around each other, so it's pretty easy to, yeah.
I don't really know of any other restaurants where they have two people sharing a head role.
Moran: I think this is the only one. I think this is a crash course for the city
Is there anything challenging about having to share that role?
Tyborski: Well, sure. It's interesting because we are sharing the same role, so we joke around about not fighting for each other's jobs, but it is new to us, so we're just constantly learning, and every month it gets easier. Power struggles, I wouldn't say I feel. I think it works because we both respect each other and really just want everything to work out
Moran: Yeah, I mean, we share a common goal. And we also share all the same values.
Tyborski: We both want fresh tomatoes, you know?
Moran: But we'd have to talk about who to get them from.
Tyborski: They definitely had an interesting idea. I give props to the Dakota. It's kind of a human interest story, which I find exciting. Not many people do it. The funny part is that we're still both very engaged in the place and still working a lot, so it's good. You've got two chefs that are dedicated.
I think I'd have a hard time with that; I'm used to either being in charge of something or having to report to a boss or client.
Tyborski: There's definitely times when it's interesting, because if I want to make a change I have to be like, well, hold off on that idea until I can consult with my partner, because even though I want that change he might not want that change, and his opinion is as valid as mine. I don't think that's terrible, but it's interesting because as a boss you're used to being like, more, that's the way I want it.
Have you found that it's helped you understand your own reasoning for things you want changed more?
Moran: Definitely. It's definitely valuable to get a different perspective on it. It broadens the dynamic of how your brain works. I was really excited to work in this position particularly with a woman, because the male and female brains think differently...
Tyborski: ... and respond to each other differently
Can you give examples of decisions you've made that you've thought about differently because of your gender?
Moran: It's not necessarily because of our gender, it's just two different ways of thinking. Sometimes things can be cluttered or clean as far as why you want to change something, and I think that definitely overall the outcome is typically better getting those two dynamic thoughts out and one conclusion.
Tyborski: I think it's healthy to butt heads because it means both people care enough to stand up for what they want. The difference is how it's settled.
What are your favorite and least favorite things about working in the industry?
Moran: The homewrecking capabilities.
Tyborski: For a lot of spouses who aren't in the industry, it's many hours away from your spouse.
Moran: It's very demanding in a lot of ways, both mentally and physically, and just the sheer hours, anywhere from 50 to 90 hours a week spent hanging out in the kitchen.
Tyborski: And I'd say on the good side it's a lot of fun, it's a labor of love. Because of the reasons Derik said, it's not for everybody, but for the people it is for, it's an addiction. It's hard to leave.
Moran: I've always associated it with a disease or a plague. Once you get into it you can't get out of it, and we've both been doing it for 14-plus years.
Tyborski: Also, unlike I think most people in most jobs, we spend the majority of our day wishing time would slow down, and I think a lot of people look at the clock and wish the day would speed up, but we don't have that problem. Even if you're here for 12 hours, you're not even done.
Moran: It's a very exciting environment. It's stressful, it's hot, it's sharp, and we're not sitting behind a desk all day.
So how do you juggle ... you have children, right?
Tyborski: I have one six-month-old, and he has one on the way.
So how do you juggle the long hours with being a mom?
Tyborski: Well, the day never is over. The long hours doesn't mean anything anymore. Nobody cares when I get home if I'm tired or anything. It's fantastic. The only thing that matters is if my baby's well taken care of, and he is, so ... when I get home I just turn into mom and then I leave and come to work. It's great. I feel right now I have a really good balance. I started here when my son was eight weeks old, so it's been an interesting ride. Learning how to become a mother and then starting a whole new job, I think if I had to think it over again would be interesting. But people have been supportive here; if I have to leave early to take my son to the doctor they understand. And he's got one on the way, so his story will soon change.
We'll return tomorrow with the final installment of our chat with Derik Moran and Kristin Tyborski.