Cooks Management

Pro Tips for Aspiring Cooks & Chefs: Nicco Muratore & Chef Kevin O’Donnell

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Written by Industry Press

From Nicco Muratore, graduating senior at Boston University:

I grew up in Jamaica Plain and got started in the industry when I was 16 and worked as a prep cook at a restaurant at Fenway Park. I fell in love with the kitchen and ended up staying at Fenway for 3 baseball seasons and 2 off-seasons before the executive chef, Steve “Nookie” Postal, approached me and told me he thought it was time I moved on to something else to broaden my horizons as a young cook. I ended up working at both Sofra and Oleana during the year and a half afterwards. This was an incredible experience as I was exposed to the amazing world of spices and truly farm fresh produce.

After working at Sofra and Oleana, I studied abroad in London. Working in Europe was a dream come true. Each day I had the pleasure of cooking on a French Molteni system, and working with talented cooks from across Europe. Upon returning from London, I worked in NYC during the summer of 2014. I got an internship with Union Square Hospitality Group and worked at Union Square Cafe, with some cross-training in front of house operations. I returned to Boston and, soon after, I got an email from my former boss, Nookie. He opened Commonwealth Market and Restaurant and was looking for a cook; it was the perfect match. I have been working at Commonwealth for 7 months now, and am loving every minute!

Upon graduation from my Masters program, I want to be employed as a sous chef at a restaurant in Boston. A few years after that, I want to move to a different city and explore what another part of the country has to offer. In the end, I want to return home to Boston and open a restaurant (or 2 or 3…). However, I feel that I need to explore somewhere else (possibly abroad), to continue my education of cooking, culture, and the industry as a whole.

 

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Pro Tips from Kevin O’Donnell, Executive Chef of The Salty Pig:

Nicco,

The fact that you are going to travel is great. Taste food everywhere you go, meet people, ask questions, learn the language and get lost.

I spent about 3 years working in Italy and during my time there I travelled the entire country tasting food and wine and getting to know the differences in regions. I was able to learn the language and some regional dialects and slang which really helped me get the most out of living there. After Italy I moved to New York to work at Del Posto where I fine tuned my Italian cuisine working under Chef Mark Ladner. From New York I moved to Paris to open L’Office as Executive Chef. After a year of living in Paris and traveling around France on my days off I decided it was time to move back home, and that’s when I found The Salty Pig.

When you come back from traveling don’t rush into becoming a chef or opening a business. First, you have to become the best cook that you can be. You can’t expect to be a great chef if you aren’t first a great cook. At culinary school my instructors didn’t tell me this and I found this out on my own after working for some great chefs. Becoming a chef takes time, dedication and hard work- if you don’t push yourself every day to get better and always hold yourself to the highest standards then who will? When you finally feel confident in your abilities to lead a team and create great food then start learning the business side. If you use the same dedication and hard work that you did to become a chef then as a business owner, you will no doubt be successful. Best of luck!

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Industry Press