Today for Seeing Red, we interviewed one of our Pastry Chefs, Chef Andrew Ede. More lovingly known as AJ, he's one of the many talents in Red Rooster Harlem's kitchen. With an interesting look into his career, we found out that AJ not only masters the kitchen but at one point also mastered the art of Fashion. Here's a look into one of Red Rooster's sweet treat chefs.Â
What do you do here at Red Rooster?
I do pastry production and occasionally I work the pastry line, as well. I've been here for about 4 months now.
Tell me a little about yourself.
I'm a graduate of the French Culinary Institute about two years ago. And before studying culinary arts, I worked in Fashion for about 10 years. I did retail merchandising for Gap in their corporate locations in New York and Massachusetts.
Really? Wow! What made you switch over to Culinary?
I don't know, I guess I was looking for the next logical progression in my life and after a while of fashion I kind of stopped feeling like there was going to be a 'next' thing so I quit my job, cashed in my 401K and went to culinary school.
How does the food world compare to being in the fashion industry?
Not at all actually, I don't think that there is a direct parallel. Both are demanding in their own ways but nothing really similar.
I think I fit into both genres wonderfully. After I graduated culinary school and worked at my first restaurant, I went back and worked in fashion for a little bit and I just missed being in the kitchen. So I went into private chef-ing and it led me back to working in a restaurant. And I met Chef Jeremy and Nils and eventually made my way to Red Rooster.
What are some of your hobbies outside of work?
Haha! I've currently been dedicating a lot of my time to work here so my hobbies have kind of come to halt. So I'm either here working or at home sleeping. But as for my lifestyle, I ride my bike everywhere and I read a lot of book, those are generally my two favorite activities. Riding my bike allows me to clear my mind and help me to prepare for wherever I'm riding to.
So what is the best dessert you've ever had?
Wow! The best dessert I've ever had was a Sweet Pea souffle-type of cake with Tristar Strawberries, Caramelized Strawberry Compote and Dehydrated Peas and Strawberry Gelato. Everything on it was fresh, and you don't really think about peas being in a dessert but the sweetness of that in combination with the strawberries and sprouts all came together beautifully!
Well I like all the people that I work with and a lot of them I've worked with in the past for quite some time so it's a very comfortable place for me. Also it allows for a lot of leeway for development and creativity here. If I decide I want to make a certain type of ice cream or dessert, I just go ahead and do it and it's up to the Chef, but in all likelihood if it's good it might end up on the menu. The kitchen here allows for a lot of growth.
Photos: Cyndi Amaya
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