With a resume that includes being part of the opening team at The Cosmopolitan in Vegas and spending time with Eric Ripert when he launched Blue in Ritz-Carlton's Grand Cayman, I had high hopes for our interview with corporate chef Thomas Trevethan. He didn't disappoint. With Dana Point Harbor as our backdrop, we discussed his Aussie roots and stressful morning. More on that tomorrow; today, it's all about the food.
As national chairperson for the National Pastry Committee United States, what are your responsibilities? To coordinate monthly conference calls with the four other regions of the US to develop a training, education and demonstration platform for national culinary schools to adopt and train the professional chef in the importance of being certified as a professional chef with the American Culinary Federation. Most undervalued ingredients: Butter, cream and wine.
Your earliest food memory. My grandmother's beef stew with dumplings, and sweet scones with jam and cream. Where was your most recent meal? An Indian restaurant in Azusa. I had vegetarian curry, lamb, basmati rice and green curry soup.
Favorite chef. Rainer Zinngrebe. He was my former chef for four years at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. He is the most talented and humble person and chef I have ever met.
Tell us about the last culinary competition you won. It was in 2009 in Las Vegas at the American Culinary Federation at the MGM Hotel. I made a six-foot sugar and chocolate piece, and won two gold medals and best piece on the floor.
What is your favorite meal? Definitely breakfast. I love to start the day with bacon, eggs, country potatoes and a New York steak with eggs Benedict on the side, fresh orange juice and coffee.
Best culinary tip for the home cook: Try to keep the leftovers and use your imagination to create another meal. And keep the grill hot and clean.
Weirdest customer request (and did you do it?): Naked picture on a birthday cake. NO.
Could you elaborate on your involvement in the "Move to Schools" program? In 2010, I was the national chairholder with the ACF, and the White House invited me to attend the launch of Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign in schools across America. The goal was to have chefs involved in the school program, educating kids on how to eat healthy and exercise.
One food you can't live without. Lobster and steak, because they are my favorite foods to cook and eat.
Favorite places to eat (besides your own). All Indian, Chinese and Thai restaurants. I love all ethnic foods, and this is not something we eat every day.
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Your best recent food find. Skuna Bay salmon, farm raised in Vancouver Island, Canada.
What is cooking for British royalty like? Are there certain dishes you must know how to prepare? The food quality standards are the highest in the world. Everything is checked, tasted and tasted again for quality. I prepared English tea sandwiches, pot roast, fish and chips, plus English scones with lemon curd, strawberry jam and Devonshire cream. The flavors are identifiably classic, simple and clean.
Do you have any stories about working at The Cosmopolitan? 3,000 people at the buffet every day, and opening events with over 3,000 VIP people with Coldplay and Jay-Z. But before all these events, there were six months of walking the kitchens wearing a construction hat and protective shoes.