As 2010 comes to a close Chef Eric Brenner looks back on all the great work he’s done.
Ask any chef, at many points in their career what they hope to achieve, and they will likely answer “Some day, I want my own little place where I can work with my family & friends, make great food, have amazing service, and actually live off my own labor.”
Well, I pushed through my early culinary years to expand my knowledge, work with the best chefs, ask questions, learning to lead, to taste, and to create. Fortune ushered me openly into the realm of ownership pretty early in my career. I found great success both personally and professionally with my own little bistro. Accolades humbled me while my growing regulars and food fans emboldened me.
So, when a chef “has his own place”, what goals grow from there? What is the trajectory of a chef’s career after this bold move? Most chefs never think beyond that place…my own place…my kitchen.
I loved opening restaurants for others in my formative years. I continued opening businesses for others even while I managed and ran my own business.
Now, I find myself reflecting on the past year. I closed my restaurant and began focusing my energy and experience to create new restaurant concepts, new menus, new dishes, and to collaborating with the nicest group of people I’d ever known: the chefs and managers of the Isle, Isle of Capri and Lady Luck casinos.
I had never considered that I’d be able to move from one fabulous kitchen to another to work with like-minded professionals in the renaissance of a culinary culture. I was able to be a part in developing the great and future iconic brand that is Otis & Henry’s® Bar and Grill, while being able to work with the talented chefs of Farraddays’®, the army of cooks & chefs that produce the buffets throughout the properties; from the many O&H Expresssm, Tradewinds® and Kitt’s Kartsm employees to the bartenders of Lone Wolfsm and others that keep my spirits high.
As of the end of this year, Isle of Capri Casinos has opened four Otis & Henry’s, and more planned for the near future. Lake Charles, LA and Blackhawk, CO added to the successes of Caruthersville, MO and Waterloo, Iowa. There are always opportunities to improve all of the food offerings throughout the country. I am the happiest chef you’ll meet, fortunate to look into the next year with great anticipation and expectation, to be able to cook for a living and help bring new projects to fruition.
So, to anyone reading who wonders how a chef’s career path takes shape, I can answer…with determination, expertise, courage, energy, and drive all mixed with humility, passion, and the ability to learn as well as lead. Luck follows the hard worker and I’m a shining example of that… you gotta have moxie to thrive in this industry and with the Isle’s culinary team, I look forward to growing, working, and collaborating in more adventures in the kitchen.
You can keep up with all of Chef Eric’s work on Facebook.