Chef Staff Interview - David Hackett
1. Where were you born?
The South Side of Chicago
2. Did you always know you wanted to be a chef?
No, I wanted to be an architect. I got into the business by accident. My older brother Tom had a job interview scheduled at a very popular restaurant on the South Side of Chicago named the House of Hughes. The day of the interview he sprained his ankle in football practice. My mom did not want Tom to lose the job opportunity so I was sent in his place at the age of 12. The owner said I was there grandson. I washed bar glasses and restocked the bar until his ankle got better than I was moved to busing tables, then the dish pit & pots and pans.
3. What was your first kitchen job?
Cold Pantry Station, Preparing Salads, Salad dressings, Assorted Seafood Cocktails and Homemade Pies. I was 15 at the time.
4. Who do you consider to be your most influential culinary mentor/teacher?
There has been a few – The teachers at Washbourne Trade School in Chicago, Reimund Pitz (Past Executive Chef at Disney MGM Studios at the time) and Mark French (Executive Chef at the NY Marriott Marquis in Time Square)
5. What is the oddest ingredient or meal you have ever had?
Lebanese Dish – Little Birds (larks) Deep fried and tossed with garlic butter or pomegranate syrup served with Lebanese flat bread
6. Have you ever cooked for someone famous?
Yes many people – Barak Obama, George Bush Jr, Jeb Bush, Jack Nicklaus, Paul Stanley & Tommy Thayer (From Kiss), Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, Dolphin Legends John Offerdahl and Loius Oliver plus many more, Rudy Giuliani, Paul Tuttle Jr. (American Chopper), Ivanka Trump & Donald Trump Jr.. I am sure I missed a few but who’s counting.
7. Do you cook at home? What do you have in your refrigerator?
Yes but not often. Not much: Water, Gatorade, Cheese, Corn Tortillas, Hot Sauce, Salsa, Apples, Oranges and a ton of Condiments (samples).
8. Any memorable kitchen disasters?
None that I can disclose
9. Speaking of disasters…what beverage or cocktail do you like to unwind with?
I don’t drink that often any more, but when I do I enjoy a nice glass of red wine or a Crown and Coke.
10. What is your favorite dessert?