By: Ryan Hodros, Culinary Arts StudentWe recently finished the Regional cuisines block of the culinary arts program with Chef Kyle Marston. As I do at the end of every block, I interviewed him for my blog. For those who don’t know him, Chef Kyle is something of a man of action, not of words, and so his interview isn’t as wordy as some of my other interviews with Auguste Escoffier chef instructors.
In other words, I hope Chef Kyle doesn’t mind if I fill in some of the gaps left by his answers, having spent the last six weeks getting to know him and his teaching style.
What’s your background in the culinary industry?
I attended culinary school in Cincinnati in 1998. Since then, I have worked in restaurants in Cincinnati, Portland, and Boulder. These restaurants were all fine dining establishments.
What made you want to get into culinary education?
I wanted to experience a different aspect of the industry and to share some of what I learned throughout my career.
In addition, Chef Kyle has a real knack for the profession. By the latter portion of the program, the students know the basics of being in the kitchen. We’ve learned where all the tools are, we’ve got a foundation of techniques, and we know how many kitchen items are meant to be prepared. It’s a finicky period in your culinary education where you need guidance, but also a certain degree of freedom in order to develop your creativity and style.
Chef Kyle is a master at striking this balance and keeping it balanced throughout the six week period. The amount of creativity grew and shrank depending on what region we were in for a given day, allowing us to learn what we were meant to learn while still expressing our own blossoming food philosophies and having fun.
It was an impressive thing to experience.
What is your favorite part of being a teacher at Escoffier?
I enjoy seeing myself in my students and knowing that I can share with them what I have learned.
For someone who works as much as he does, Chef Kyle has an amazing sense of humor. At one point during our time with him, he was responsible for organizing a dinner for some VIPs who were coming to the school. It was a multi-course, complicated meal that would have had many chefs stressed and shouting. Chef Kyle, however, not only finished teaching our class for that day, but also began prep for the dinner without missing a step, cracking jokes the entire time. That kind of cool-under-pressure is something that can only really be taught by example, and it was great to experience it first-hand.
What is the most challenging part of teaching?
What was your favorite job prior to coming to Escoffier?
I was the Chef de Cuisine at John’s Restaurant for 9 years.
What is your favorite thing/dish to cook?
Risotto and duck
What advice would you give to students about to come to the Culinary Arts block?
Stay focused, learn, and have fun
Working under Chef Kyle was a great experience. Not only did I learn a great deal about regional and international cuisines, I learned a ton about the industry and (as I stated above) keeping your cool when the heat is on. Thanks Chef Kyle, I appreciate you taking this interview, and I appreciate everything you’ve done for our class!