2014 Washington, D.C. Area Rising Star Chef Austin Fausett of Trummer's on Main

2014 Washington, D.C. Area Rising Star Chef Austin Fausett of Trummer's on Main
December 2014

In his hometown of Horicon, Wisconsin, Austin Fausett started cooking as soon as he could get his hands on a pan, first learning from his mother how important it was for food to bring people together. He began his professional culinary career at 14 in one of the kitchen’s most essential roles: dishwasher. Fausett’s passion became his career when he decided to choose the restaurant industry over his acceptance to journalism school.

Fausett started out in San Francisco, landing at Town Hall during its opening under Chefs Steven and Mitchell Rosenthal. He then traveled to New York City where he fell in love with seasonal cooking while working at Craftbar. In New York, Fausett met his future spouse, and eventually moved to Washington, D.C. to be with her, after accepting a position with Michel Richard at Citronelle. When his wife had a job opportunity in Europe, Fausett followed her to Novelli Bacaro con Cucina in Vienna, Austria, where he absorbed Mediterranean and European culinary technique.

Returning to the United States, Fausett accepted a position as chef de partie at The Inn at Little Washington, where he engaged deeply with the Virginia agricultural community and was eventually promoted to sous chef. Now at Trummer’s on Main, Fausett combines his years of experience and creative zeal to introduce guests to his style of American cuisine.


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Interview with Washington, D.C. Area Rising Star Chef Austin Fausett of Trummer’s on Main

Meha Desai: When did you get your start cooking?
Austin Fausett:
I started cooking when I was 14. I wanted to build a car with my dad. To keep the car I needed to make money. So, I got a job at a restaurant and started as a dishwasher and prep cook. I thought the guys in the kitchen were very cool. I loved it. hen the time came to go college, I chose culinary school.

MD: Did you have mentor?
AF:
From Patrick O’Connell I learned restraint, respect for the ingredient, and to work with local Virginia farmers. He seasons his food with sugar, as well. Everyone else seasons with salt and pepper, they miss the third element. Like my grandma’s tomatoes with vinegar and sugar, it adds the third dimension. 

Also, Cedric Montpied. He’s so passionate. Nothing that wasn’t perfect left the kitchen. My favorite question to ask cooks is “Would you serve that to you your mother?” It needs to be the best.

MD: How do you inspire your team?
AF:
I try and inspire my guys to do one thing better each day. We have meetings and address issues and goals from the day before that we need to improve on. The idea behind it is that there are eight guys out there, if each of them did one thing better, imagine how much better we can be in three months. Also, it needs to be a challenge and creatively inspiring. That’s the environment I try to create out there.

MD: What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to do in your career?
AF:
Working in Austria and not being able to speak any German. I was the immigrant. It was a good experience to have. You had to learn very fast, and I grew very fast from that, too.

MD: What are you most proud of?
AF:
This restaurant, the menu we’ve been able to accomplish, and the way we work back there. It’s a good work environment. I love coming to work everyday. It’s harder to be a shoulder to shoulder mentor, but that’s the only way to be a mentor.  

MD: What's your five year plan?
AF:
I’d like to say still here. Some day, I’d like to have a restaurant of my own. But this place feels like home. 

MD: What’s your philosophy on food?
AF:
Food that grows together goes together. I think I want food to be familiar, and the best of what it is. Not overly complicated, well executed, well seasoned, and recognizable food. We can take steps to make our food look prettier, but it’s more important that it tastes perfect.