Adam Gottlieb is the executive chef at Seagate Beach Club in Delray Beach, Florida. He was the runner up at the 10th annual Delray Beach Garlic Fest Competition. As busy as he is, Adam was gracious enough to sit down with us and let us in on some of his experiences as a chef.
Why did you want to become a chef?
21 years of working in the culinary field brought me to the point where I am today. It’s the only field I could ever see myself in. It’s my passion!
What education would you recommend for aspiring chefs?
A good culinary program is great if it is affordable. If not, hands on training in a strong culinary environment under a great chef can be an extremely valuable opportunity.
What do you recommend for on the job training?
An open mind, positive attitude, and strong work ethic.
Do you see any changes in food trends?
Definitely… Molecular gastronomy is getting more and more popular. Smaller portion sizes, bite-size desserts, local produce.
What is your greatest challenge in getting the ingredients you need?
The price of product has sky rocketed along with the rest of the economy.
Has the price of energy affected your industry?
Definitely, it affected everything from the number of guests going out to eat as well as the cost of needed product.
Do you see any dining trends within the US or abroad; including types of food today?
Yes, smaller portion sizes, bite-size desserts, local produce.
How much of the recipes you create is corporate and how much is your own?
Our company doesn’t have a big corporate end. Original menus and recipes are my own creations since we are a new entity and I didn’t have any staff to turn in the beginning for input. Moving forward, I do accept feedback from my kitchen staff on certain recipes and my Sous Chefs assist me greatly with ideas that get placed on regular and seasonal menus as well as giving me their professional input on future creations.
What fabric and style of uniform do you enjoy wearing most? Pima cotton & Egyptian cotton.
What is your method of developing your Sous Chefs?
Giving them freedom to explore their knowledge. Challenge their skills and lead by example.
Do you try to create a team spirit and environment with the kitchen staff? If so how do you accomplish it?
Definitely. I don’t want my staff feeling as if their job is a job. I believe in allowing my staff to explore their talents and skills. Giving them a bit of freedom with creating new dishes, specials and ideas allows them to challenge themselves as well as make mistakes which they usually learn from.
When preparing your menu do you consider health and try to prepare foods that are healthier?
Yes… My menu consists of a lot of fresh produce, low calorie items with an emphasis on fresh seafood and proteins. I don’t use much cream, thickeners or butter on my menu.
Do you notice any resistance to unhealthy dishes?
Yes. Guests are definitely more health conscience when they come into my restaurant. Therefore, salads and seafood definitely top the list of dishes I sell most on my menu.
Do you enjoy dining out in your free time?
Yes, it is always nice to be waited on once in a while!
Do you try to experience the food at your competitors? Do you ever get ideas from competitors?
Yes, I enjoy seeing dishes competitors are creating. I wouldn’t necessarily say I get ideas. I would say going out to dine sometimes gets my wheels spinning when I see ideas that interest me.
Do you think it is important to visit the markets rather than just have standard orders?
Absolutely, quality of product changes like the wind. Unless you check out what is new regularly, there is a lot to be missed out on.
How do you test a new recipe without putting it on the permanent menu?
As a “special” or weekly feature. Whether or not it sells or not, or I get positive or negative feedback from a dish lets me know if it is a good creation.
Do you pick the wines or is there a separate beverage manager? There’s a separate manager who deals with the selected beverages.
If so, does he try to pick wines that work well with the type of food that you prepare?
One of the owners of the company is a leading producer of beverage alcohol brands so our wine list consists pf many of his products.
We thank Adam for his time, and as an added bonus, he shared a delicious recipe for his take on grilled Atlantic salmon. Sounds like a winner to us, thanks again Adam!