2011 New York Rising Star Chef Aaron Chambers may have begun his career as an ardent vegetarian (despite almost succumbing to the guilty pleasures of a crisp bacon sandwich at 19 years old, and who can blame him?). But even with two meatless decades on his curriculum vitae, Chambers began early, eagerly, and undaunted in the kitchen. Born in Yorkshire in northeast England, Chambers was already at the stove at eight years old, baking scones and pies by his mother’s side. Family was an important influence, as were his experiences on his grandmother’s dairy farm. Observing the connection between earth and product provided an ideal background for the young chef in the making.
Chambers took his first job at 14, preparing soups, salads, and desserts as a commis at the Beverley Arms Hotel in his hometown. He then enrolled in a two-year culinary program at a local school before moving to the decidedly more bustling city of Birmingham and the kitchen of The Edgbaston Golf Club (where Chambers met Chef Julian Tolbert, a valuable mentor). Chambers got his first taste of a disciplined, formally organized kitchen at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxford, going from commis to garde manger under Chef Raymond Blanc. An urge to travel brought the chef to Al Mahara in Dubai and its global pantry of ingredients.
Chambers only made landfall in the States in 2005, as sous chef at the French-Indian fusion Indebleu. Next came Café du Parc, where Chambers embraced rustic French cuisine and his first exposure to in-house charcuterie production. Already a far cry from his idyllic English beginnings, Chambers delved deeper into the cosmopolitan world of cuisine, making a decisive move to New York to work at Café Boulud under 2009 StarChefs.com Rising Star Chef Gavin Kaysen. Kaysen’s youth and enthusiasm inspired Chambers in his own leadership role in Daniel Boulud’s organization. Now at Boulud Sud, the de-vegetarian-ized Chambers combines a seasoned creativity with the respect for product he learned years ago, across an ocean.