Kathleen Culliton: What advice would you give to young chefs just getting started?
David Grossman: Work hard; only hard work will get you respect and success
KC: Do you recommend culinary school to aspiring cooks?
DG: Culinary school was eye opening to me, and I learned an enormous amount from my chef instructors at [The Culinary Institute of America], but it is no substitute for real world experience.
KC: What is your philosophy on food and dining?
DG: At Branch Water Tavern we seek to create an environment of outstanding service, and genuine yet innovative cuisine.
KC: What goes into creating a dish?
DG: Many different concepts must be considered when creating a dish: seasonality of ingredients, customer preferences, concept of the restaurant, cost effectiveness, execution in large volume, and most important, taste.
KC: What is the biggest challenge facing your restaurant?
DG: Every day is a challenge.
KC: What’s the toughest thing you’ve had to do in your job?
DG: Firing people.
KC: If you had one thing you could do over again, what would it be?
DG: I would have spent more time cooking in New York.
KC: What are some of your favorite food industry charities? Why?
DG: Nationally, Share Our Strength. Locally, Recipe for Success. Both fight and prevent childhood hunger and malnutrition.
KC: What’s your proudest accomplishment in your career to date?
DG: Opening Branch Water Tavern.
KC: What does success mean for you?
DG: Serving food and drink that I am proud of—profitably—to happy, repeat customers.
KC: Where do you see yourself in five years?
DG: Having multiple restaurant concepts in multiple cities.
KC: If you weren’t a chef, what do you think you’d be doing?
DG: I have always been interested in architecture.