Chef Patrick Weber on rock 'n' roll and why chefs throw things
Each week, we'll interview two of the chefs participating in our 2013 Iron Fork competition. On November 7th, these six culinary masterminds will go head to head to see who can create the most appetizing and healthful dish using a secret ingredient provided by Lunds. For more information on the event, or to purchase your tickets, click here.
www.miseenplaceconsulting.com Chef Patrick Weber
Arts Institute International Minnesota
His resume is impressive: He studied at the Culinary Institute of America in New York; earned his bachelors in Hotel and Restaurant Management in Miami; and has worked with such nationally recognized chefs as David Bouley in New York, Jay Sparks in Minneapolis, Guenter Seeger in Atlanta, and Mark Militello in Miami.
What few know about celebrated chef Patrick Weber is that his roots are on a dairy farm in Iowa.
"Our mailbox was a mile away from our house -- we were rural."
After high-school, Weber attended Iowa State University where he studied "finances... kinda" for about a year. Like many other students, he had gotten a part-time job at a local restaurant
"I fell in love. I just loved the energy, and the stainless steel and the culture."
Nine weeks later, at the age of 19, he left the dairy farm for culinary school in New York City.
"I had no idea what fine dining was. I mean, I didn't know what foie gras was -- I hadn't even eaten asparagus."
What followed was a career as Executive Chef in kitchens from Miami to Missouri; South Carolina to Minneapolis. Now, as a consultant and educator, Weber finds that coming from such humble beginnings has made him a better teacher. He has an empathy with the young cooks that some others don't.
"You know, you're standing in front of someone and you're teaching them how to make a baguette... and you're thinking, 'Really? You don't know this?'" he says. "That's why a lot of chefs are notorious for throwing pans..."
Patrick Weber will be one of six contestants in the City Pages' Iron Chef Competition on November 7th. He's confident he'll do well because he considers himself a "quick-fire cook" who works well under pressure. In fact, Weber says he finds the high-stress situations of food competitions pretty true-to-life. A real restaurant kitchen -- much like the competition -- is frequently under the gun and having to improvise. Even at home, Weber finds good training for the Iron Fork.
"I look at it like, 'Alright, I just got home, this is what's in my refrigerator. What can I do to make something for my wife and me in 20 minutes?'" he says. "I'm pretty good at that under pressure sort of thing."
Weber knows many of the other chefs who will be going face-to-face with him -- several are good friends. All the same, he can't guarantee there won't be any temper-tantrums or hurled plates.
"Chefs by nature are competitive. Yeah, we're all gonna want to win."