Pratt arrived 20 minutes early to our interview. By the time I walked in, he was in the middle of formulating a dish for his menu. Being a chef means you're constantly thinking about business, whether you like it or not.
Read our interview with David Pratt of Brick Pizzeria, part one. And now, on to part two . . .
Are you still working with Family Assistance Ministries? Giving back is a core priority for Brick. We work with FAM for food drives and feeding the homeless (at Thanksgiving, but planning to expand), and with various other groups. We are also active in partnering with the Ecology Center to help develop school gardening programs and to bring attention to environmental responsibilities.
Last thing you looked up online: Spring seasonal charts of vegetables while working on new menu.
What did you study in school? Did you always plan on being a chef? I studied political science with an emphasis on international relations at UCLA. I didn't know I wanted to be a chef until my ex-wife decided to go to culinary school and I decided to join her. I did, however, have an amazing exposure to and emphasis on food and farm ingredients as a child.
Where did you grow up? Diamond Bar. After deciding to return to the West Coast from Washington D.C., my ex-wife and I compromised between LA (my preference) and San Diego (her preference) by going Laguna Beach to open Mirabeau.
Do you have any other skills? I am a second level sommelier. I intend to test for my third level, the advanced level, within the next two years.
What were you up to five years ago? I was general manager of Studio at the Montage Hotel in Laguna Beach and as a chef instructor at the Art Institute in Costa Mesa.
What did you teach, and have you seen any of your students in the industry since? I have taught almost every class at AI with the exception of baking. At both Mirabeau and Brick, most of my cooks are my former students or AI graduates.
Last book you read. David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell.
Last song playing on your radio: Passenger on Pandora.
When you're not in the restaurant, what are you doing in your free time? With my family. Church every Sunday.
What's your favorite childhood memory? Spending time at my family home in Glacier National Park in Montana.
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Hardest lesson you've learned: Put the guests first. It's not only about me and what I want to cook. It's about meeting and surpassing the guest's preferences.
What would you be doing if you weren't in this industry? I've been in this profession for 20 years, so I can't imagine. But I would think that I would be running an import company of European specialties to the US.
Is there anything you'd like readers to know about your restaurant? Brick is dedicated to producing high quality, rustic Italian cuisine by using local farm ingredients and the highest quality of imported Italian products. Creating great guest experiences is how we measure our success.