Ami Cisneros is currently chef de cuisine at the newly opened Pacific Standard Coastal Kitchen in Little Italy, headed by Top Chef alum, Giselle Wellman. She’s worked with a number of San Diego food establishments, most recently The Hopping Pig Gastropub and JRDN at Tower 23.
Here are five things she keeps in mind when working on her craft.
1: “Mise en Place”
Translates to everything in its place. It’s a kitchen mantra that helps chefs keep control in an environment that is constantly moving. It creates order and peace of mind in order to be successful even if we are in the weeds. If you are prepared for the storm, it’s easier to navigate.
2: “Always say ‘Yes Chef'”
In restaurants the customer is always right in the front of the house and chef is always right in the back of the house. When you’re a cook, learning to swallow your pride is important because you don’t know it all. When you’re the chef, you need to be at a place where your cooks can trust you know best.
3: “Needs more salt”
Learning balance is the most important thing in life and in seasoning food. Too much kills your dish, too little gives it no soul.
4: “What can I do for you?”
Teamwork is everything in the kitchen. Components to dishes get spread along the stations, if one component isn’t ready, the dish isn’t ready. Everyone needs to help everyone.
5: “Stay hungry”
I’m constantly looking for more. Keeping the hunger alive to learn more, to do more, to be a better leader, is what is going to keep a chef going. I’m always looking around to see what can inspire new dishes; otherwise, I’ll just be bored and unfulfilled.
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