An Interview With Chef Kayser

Gallerie Bar & Bistro restaurant chef Josh Kayser has more than twenty years of experience in the food and restaurant industry. As the restaurant chef he manages various departments of the Gallerie Bar & Bistro, such as: the dining room, lounge, as well as, executive lounge, coffee shop, and all in room dining, which he staffs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

He describes himself as the kid who knew how to create a meal out of nothing. And last September, Kayser had the pleasure to cook beside chef Bill Glover for the James Beard House, in New York City. So I sat down with Kayser to grab insight on his life as a chef and career accomplishments…

 

What led you to become a chef as your career?

I come from a long line of good cooks; a lot of my blood comes from Southern Ohio, so fishing and hunting came from that vein learning from my grandmother and mother.

I began cooking by dish washing when I was 14, which led to cooking fast food, and by the age of 18 I began cooking fine dining.

 

What inspires you to cook?

There are a lot of things that inspire me as far as cooking, for example, doing research and development in order to help further my career and use it as inspiration.

 

Where do you gather inspiration?

New York is the big apple, so when I went to a Korean Gastropub called Barn Joo; a jazz club was hidden behind a false wall of books that opened up leading to an underground level. Experiencing it was very inspirational because cool things like that you don’t see in Columbus everyday.

 

How do you stay up-to-date with the latest trends?

I went to school through a lot of hard knocks, working for different chefs who had a lot to teach. I also worked at The Ohio State Faculty Club, with classically trained chefs, so I had the chance to get paid while also receiving an education within the industry.

 

When designing a meal, what factors do you take into consideration?

For a complete dish, flavor is first for me. It’s important that everything is meticulously seasoned and (generally speaking) I try to be spontaneous and imaginative. Of course you’re looking for different mouth-feel components, such as: crunch, acid, creaminess, brightness or color and people eat with their eyes, so I consider the dish to look presentable as well.

 

How do you take ownership within your position?

My forte is being a good cook, but to be a successful chef I have to balance it all. From dealing with people, being approachable, reading my cooks, fellow managers, and the guests, as well as, circumvent problems before they arise.

I always said, the front of the house and the back of the house cannot independently succeed; you have to be a cohesive unit. And when you find that symbiosis, it’s a beautiful thing.

 

Career accomplishments you are proud of?

One of the most things I’m proud of aren’t necessarily things you see in ink or on video. The cooks that I’ve taught and brought up fresh out of high school or culinary school, teaching them is what I am most proud of.

 

The most memorable dish you ever tasted?

My favorite dish I ever tasted was the corn chanterelle mushroom salad at Esca, in New York City. The dish included: roasted corn, su vie chanterelle mushrooms, raw spinach, and shaved pecorino Romano with olive oil. The way it hit my palette, I got emotional…

 

Will you keep your talents and skills in Ohio or expand them elsewhere?

I’m up for whatever in the future… I do have children here in town, so I am rooted here for now. But this is where my industry is; I like Columbus, including the big strides its taken within the last 10 years.

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