A recent project I collaborated on was named Best New Restaurant in America by Bon Appetit magazine, that was certainly a highlight. But mostly, I'm excited when chefs and restaurant owners tell me that they enjoy working in the kitchens and bars I designed for them. When I asked the Chef at Locanda how things were going, perhaps 3 months after they opened…He said the kitchen was a "dream to work in."
My business is still in the start-up phase, we're in year three now, and I am still getting involved in the community at large. I have recently volunteered time and consulting for a few different faith-based organizations working on community kitchens, and I have worked closely with a non-profit in San Francisco devoted to incubating immigrant-women-based food business startups and recently spoke at their conference. Although a bit myopically focused on building my business lately, I am always looking for ways I can share my experience with a broader range of community activities.
Favorite part of job? I get to partner with chefs, food and beverage directors, architects, interior designers, contractors and tradespeople of all types, and we work collaboratively to build great restaurants, hotels and foodservice establishments enjoyed by thousands of people every day. I consider myself extremely fortunate to be able to do this for a living and I learn new things all the time!
Most inspiring mentor? My former employer Mark Stech-Novak. He is an ex-chef and the founder of Restaurant Consultation & Design in Oakland, CA. I worked with Mark for 5 years during which time I learned the ropes of being a commercial kitchen designer and foodservice consultant. He's a cross between MacGyver, Frank Lloyd Wright and a mad scientist chef. From him I learned the value of big picture thinking, followed up with detail-driven deliverables. You can't let the minutiae of business distract you from doing the best work possible. He reinforced my kitchen-driven understanding that great results are difficult to attain, short-cuts are rarely prosperous, and that you need to determine your end-result first….and then figure out how to get there!
Who is your living hero? My parents: Stuart and Shirley Bauer.
Favorite downtime activity? Cooking, reading the Sunday Times and hanging out with my wife Elizabeth and our almost-five-year-old son, August.
Favorite Vermont Escape? Shelburne Farms. My son is a regular attendee in the Shelburne Farms Adventures program and I keep expecting that one day I won't be in complete awe of the natural and architectural beauty of that place….but it hasn't happened yet!
Favorite social network? I use Facebook the most, though LinkedIN is preferable for managing my professional network. My company's Facebook page is still developing its relevance.
Favorite website? Vermontbiz.com of course!!
Vermont Business Person you would most want to network with? Bill Stenger.