AFM: Where did you learn the most about who you are as a chef?
MT: Definitely at Mary Elaine’s. Bradford Thompson is an amazing mentor. Combine that with a seriously talented team that we got to work with everyday it was a life changing experience; one that I would relive in a heartbeat.
AFM: Assume that you could take a plane ride to any restaurant in the world, just for one meal, and you could take another chef with you. Where would you go, and who would you take with you?
MT: I would grab my dear friend Chef Brett Bird and head to Roanne, France for a meal at La Maison Troisgrois. There is no one else I know who would appreciate it more, and understands the history of that great culinary family.
AFM: What is always in your refrigerator at home?
MT: Condiments. Crystal’s hot sauce in particular.
AFM: What’s your favorite comfort food?
MT: Liver and onions with potatoes, apple cider and bacon. I could eat that almost every day.
AFM: Name your favorite well-known chef.
MT: Daniel Boulud. The amount of talent that has come out of his kitchens is an amazing testament to what an amazing chef and mentor he is. Seeing employees moving on to be successful has got to be one of the greatest compliments one could have.
AFM: What three things would you take to a desert island?
MT: A ukulele, a fishing pole and a case of Bic lighters… They are one of the greatest inventions ever.
AFM: What's the most important piece of your culinary past that has led you to where you are now?
MT: There are two: First and foremost the experience that I gained from my Chef Brad Thompson and peers at Mary Elaine’s, without that time, life would be a lot different right now. As well, the fact that almost the entire crew from that era are still great friends and are in regular contact with one another. Second, the few years I was privileged enough to be a part of the Michael Mina Group. There is such an array of talent that surrounds you daily with a company like that. Coupled along with working in two of the biggest hotels in the world (The Bellagio and MGM) I learned many life and culinary lessons.