AUSTIN MAYNARD

Chef Austin Maynard

In this episode of “Inside the Pressure Cooker”, Chad Kelly interviews Austin Maynard, a hardworking chef who, despite some challenges, has found his passion in cooking, music and art. 

This episode is about The importance of finding something you’re passionate about outside of the kitchen. 

“We really are pirates and misfits, and he couldn’t be more right. We get to play with food all day and we get to make a living doing that, and it’s pretty damn awesome.”

In this episode, you will learn the following:

1. What it’s like to work in a kitchen and the different types of people you meet

2. How Austin Maynard got into cooking and what inspired him to pursue it as a career

3. The challenges and rewards of being a chef

Resources:

Chef Austin Maynard on his Instagram Page

I do not think this made it to the final take but Austin mentioned Chef Chris Cosentino as someone he follows and admires. Who wouldn’t really? Chef Chris is very relatable to so many of us in the industry. He screams “I’m a cook at heart” and not some kind of pretentious white coat know it all. 

Find Chef Chris on Instagram

Chef Chris Cosentino 

Books by Chef Cosentino

Beginnings: My Way To Start a Meal

Offal Good: Cooking from the Heart, with Guts: A Cookbook

Offal Good does not appear to be in production anymore and is a collectors item… kind of kicking myself for not picking up a copy when it first came out. I’m an avid cookbook collector but like many of us out there, restricted to budgets. 

Other episodes you’ll enjoy:

Riley Redfearn: Chef Riley’s Journey from Fast Food to Fine Dining

Josh Morris: The Delicate Balance between Work and Family

Jeff Platt: Culinary Diploma and Ego in Hand

Connect with me:

Instagram: @insidethepressurecooker

YouTube: @insidethepressurecooker7872

Website: https://insidethepressurecooker.com

Patreon: Inside The Pressure Cooker

Feedback: Email Me!

Loved this episode? Leave us a review and rating on Apple Podcasts or Follow Us on Spotify or your favorite podcasting platform.

[00:00:02]

Over the last 20 years working in restaurants, I met a lot of really interesting people. Bourdain called us pirates and Misfits and he couldn’t be more right. We really were. I say were. We are a hodgepodge of cultures and backgrounds, and we get to play with food all day and we get to make a living doing that, and it’s pretty damn awesome.

[00:00:27]

This is what inside the Pressure Cooker is all about. It’s about making some new friends and sharing some stories with some old friends. And listen, we all know that life inside a kitchen is not for everyone. We’ve seen plenty of people come and go that thought they could hack it and they couldn’t. It really does take a special someone not only to survive, but to really thrive in an environment of just what feels like complete fucking chaos.

[00:00:56]

But it’s pretty damn controlled. And then just the constant pressure and the stupid hours you put in, not to mention it can be a very thankless job. Before you know it, it’s all in your blood and it’s the only thing you know and you need more. It’s an addiction. This is the bond that all wine, cooks and chefs share.

[00:01:17]

It’s becoming the heartbeat of the kitchen, as cliche as that fucking sounds. But it’s in our blood, which means it’s fucking pulsing through our veins and it’s what we live for. This is Chad Kelly, and I’ve been slinging pants for over 25 years. And in that time, I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of many successful kitchen teams, many of which I had the privilege of leading. And during those final few years of my career, I found that my passion was not only just in cooking, but it was the people, and it was mentoring the next generation of chefs.

[00:01:56]

There’s something special about teaching someone how. To cook, and it is probably one. Of the most fulfilling things there is. It’s not about just putting a smile on a guest’s face after a certain time. Some of that luster kind of fades a little bit.

[00:02:12]

I mean, it’s always kind of special to a degree, especially for going above and beyond and really making something special for someone and just blowing them away. But it’s about the people that we’re on the line with, day in and day out, and making a positive impact in their life and helping them to be better people. So on the show today, we talked with Austin Maynard. Hailing from the Southern California La area. Separate your mind from your constant grind and it couldn’t seem to really slow down.

[00:02:45]

So I found these things. And music has always been something where I could put my headphones in and I could clear my mind, listen to music, or it’s a great outlet for everything. Just an awesome outlet.

[00:03:03]

With the painting as well I picked up. It’s a great stress reliever, for sure. We’ve all been in a situation where. At the end of the shift, or just not even at the end of. The shift, but when that last ticket is finally out and you just kind of collapse, you’re just like, man, what.

[00:03:28]

The hell is that? Some people just walk off the line. Go grab a cigarette, or just kind of go sit in the corner for a minute. It’s like, yeah, I know we need to break down and clean up, but just give me a minute. But we’ve all had those shifts and we will continue to have them.

[00:03:46]

They’re not going to go away. You take the good with the bad. And sometimes those shifts, it doesn’t have to be a special occasion or holiday or anything like that. Sometimes they just come out of the. Blue and it’s you just all kind.

[00:03:58]

Of look around like, damn, but how do you unwind from that? So, Austin, elevator pitch, 30 seconds or more or less up to you. Who are you? I am a hardworking chef. Very talented and great person and easy to get along with.

[00:04:22]

Very open.

[00:04:27]

Yeah, I’m trying to think of something else to throw in there.

[00:04:36]

This isn’t a dating app, by the way. Yeah, I know, exactly. That’s why I was thinking like, okay, that sounds kind of like if I were to put a description on getting someone well, shoot, I’m trying to think of maybe frozen it’s all good together. I get a little froze up on disgusting, trying to describe myself. I get it, man.

[00:05:08]

Honestly, that’s what I got my wife for. Because I’m just like, I don’t know, who do you want me to be? I am who I am. I’m here, I’m doing what I love. I’m just keep on going.

[00:05:25]

Let’s talk about more about what you love. Cooking, right. And being a chef. So how did you get into this? Well, I started at, like I said, very young age.

[00:05:39]

Very early on in high school, I got the opportunity, I want to say my senior year, I got the opportunity to do an ROP program. They had a chef come in and he was professionally trained. He was doing it for 20 years. And he started doing classes for the school district at the time. And I got the opportunity to do it, I jumped right on it.

[00:06:13]

It was something that I took an interest in a very young age. And from there it took off like a rocket. If you ever get an opportunity with someone, they take you under your wing and they show you everything. That’s kind of what happened with me, and I was so inspired by everything that he showed me. I had the opportunity to do catering events with him after school.

[00:06:46]

There was a few events that I did, and then he did an intern program which he sent the students out to go and do Internet restaurants for part time. And I think just finding something that you’re able to do that, you know, that you that you’re good at and that people enjoy what you’re doing. I it really just took off from there. Then I was able to get my first head chef position at the age of 21. Wow.

[00:07:28]

Yeah.

[00:07:31]

It was a small barbecue restaurant. Very small, little place. I was brought in there just lending a hand, dishwashing, cooking. Then I was showed what I could do, my skills, and how fast I was able to pick up on things and keep up with the fast pace. The owner went ahead and gave me the title head chef.

[00:08:04]

From there. I felt like, man, this is it. I reached where I wanted to be. That fast, though. So fast.

[00:08:15]

I was shocked when he told me he was an older gentleman and he was getting a little bit burned out, constantly running everything. And he put me in charge. I had about it was a small kitchen, probably a staff of four people. And, man, it was wild. I was just at that age.

[00:08:41]

I ended up moving. I moved to San Bernardino area, and I was working in multiple places there. I had my son. So that kind of was like a reality check. Things happen so fast, and it was just a lot going on at that time.

[00:09:05]

And I was only working a few different I was working part time, two different restaurants, riverside area and Colton area. I was able to get sous chef job at a little Irish pub in Colton and was working there for quite some time. Well, real quick, let me back you up a little bit. We’re going to go back to that ROP program where you mentioned if people don’t have this area, I know California is ROP. It’s a regional occupational program, and it’s really just about bringing the trades into the schools.

[00:09:58]

And actually, I love this, but they’re starting to do a lot more of this, especially in my area. I’m in North Dallas, and they’ve actually created there’s a whole building that’s part of the school district now that it actually has its own kitchen in addition to school. Kids can then go there and work and develop some skills there, which is honestly, back in my time, it was unheard of. Oh, yeah. So you mentioned, like, you were excited that you found something you love, and as long as you’re doing something you love I forget your exact words there, but it was something of that nature.

[00:10:45]

Right? But how did you know? It’s such a young age.

[00:10:51]

So many things you’re figuring out at that age, right? Yeah. How did you know? That’s the thing. I didn’t know what I wanted to do.

[00:11:01]

When my last year of high school, I wasn’t too sure what I was going to do. My father was in the advertisement business with Inland Empire Weekly at the time, and I kind of was looking at what he did for work, and I didn’t I didn’t see myself as very much upfront people person. And in a lot of ways, I struggled a lot with being shy and all that, but I was looking at a lot of more creativity, kind of. But when I seen that there was a cooking program and they actually had an experienced chef doing this program, I said, you know what? I’m going to try it.

[00:11:49]

I’m going to go for it, because I love food. I was like, why not? Why not give it a try and see what happens? And that’s probably the best decision I’ve made, because it showed me so much potential that I could do and make a career out of it a few years. I mean, I was able to be where I am today because of those opportunities.

[00:12:16]

And I actually, honestly, after that, after I did that and I was working, I went into community college, Chafee College, had a program, brand new program, culinary program, and I went directly right into that after high school as well. And working all types of different cuisine and showing me techniques just really sparked something in me at that time. Just amazing. And I’m able to take this ability anywhere, and it goes for all the young starting cooks and chefs out there. You feel it when you’re doing this, you could feel something you feel important.

[00:13:03]

And you also being in the restaurant environment as well. You get a natural feeling, natural, high from the environment itself and the people that you’re around. If that’s something that you feel and stick with it and just work as hard as you can, just keep going, because the sky is the limit. The sky’s the limit. With that, you could go anywhere.

[00:13:35]

Absolutely. Once you feel it and you kind of feel that, whether it’s that flame or that just kind of curiosity kind of gets peaked. And just make sure that, like they say, be the hardest worker in the room, right? To be a sponge. Absolutely.

[00:13:54]

Yeah, definitely. And you meet so many different characters. I met so many different characters throughout the years in the kitchen. I met some just wild cowboy chefs. That are just circus, man.

[00:14:11]

But it’s such a rush. It’s such a rush, and there is no other feeling like it. The way I see it, in a lot of ways, just the environment itself is just great. I get a kick out of it. But, man, we have a bunch of characters out there, that’s for sure.

[00:14:32]

And I love it. Right. So you got into this a pretty young age, right? You’ve been doing this your entire adult life so far. Is there any been a time in your life where you’re just kind of like, man, I should have looked at this, or just kind of you asked yourself, like, man, what the hell am I doing?

[00:14:55]

Yeah, there was a point I had a little bit of a downfall period.

[00:15:04]

I took a major break from cooking altogether for about a year and a half. And I was thinking of alternatives. And at the time, I had my son, so it was a little bit rough working the long nights and doing that and taking care of him.

[00:15:29]

There was that period and I was thinking, maybe I should stop. Maybe I should maybe go back to school. Maybe I should do something else to learn another trade. But I was like, I don’t know where to start. I’m clueless about what I should do and what’s going to be.

[00:15:50]

Going to wake up loving what I do and feeling good about myself. Did a very short period. I did a mail route position and that was like, what am I doing? But it was a very short break from the restaurant business and everything back of house. And I did that and I was like, you know what?

[00:16:15]

No, this isn’t me. I can’t do this. I’m not going to do something else. I’m going to keep pushing to keep going for what I love. But there’s a lot of doubts.

[00:16:27]

A lot of it’s kind of when life decides to introduce itself to the passion. Yeah, exactly.

[00:16:38]

I get it. Kids have an amazing ability to completely change your perspective too. Yeah. And it’s just you and you’re cooking. There’s no care in the world, and you’re just having a great time.

[00:16:53]

And then all of a sudden something else comes along where you’re just like, oh, son of a bitch. I’m responsible for that too. Right. I can’t fuck around anymore. Yeah.

[00:17:03]

I think with the added on responsibilities and stuff, you have all that in the back of your mind. But when you’re doing what you love and you’re looking forward to going to work and you’re excited and you’re making people happy and they’re enjoying what you’re doing, I think that’s another thing that you get from this is from all the customers and all the people complimenting. Everything that you do is also another rewarding feeling. Absolutely, man. Yeah.

[00:17:39]

There’s a lot of sacrifice that’s involved, but there’s also so much reward, both internal self fulfilling rewards. Right. I think I talked about this. It’s kind of like feeding the soul a little bit. And we all have to be able to do that because otherwise you end up doing a mail route.

[00:17:59]

Just wondering, like, what am I doing now? You’re lost. You’ve got no purpose. You’ve got no soul. Yeah.

[00:18:06]

You lost it. And you’re not going to be any happier than you were before. Right. I get it. There’s always been times where you’re just like, man, what am I going to do for those that when they come across this, it’s just like, hey, listen, it’s time.

[00:18:28]

It’s a place. It’s a phase. Yeah. You got to weather the storm because the grass is not greener anywhere else. Right.

[00:18:39]

It might pay better, it might be better hours, but it’s not going to fulfill you. Exactly. And so you’re just going to be lost at sea at that point. Yeah. You’re going to wake up not feeling great about yourself, and you basically lost all your passion of what makes you feel good and what your ability is for all the young guys out there.

[00:19:06]

Just man, if you feel that and don’t lose that, just keep going. Just keep hammering away. I was given so much from chefs and given tasks that I didn’t want to do. But you got to do what the chef tells you to do. You’re going to do it.

[00:19:28]

And hey, even if it’s like the smallest thing or the most ridiculous thing, just do it. Absolutely. Big time. No, and I mean, the other part, too, is that I tell everybody, especially young people coming into this is showing up is good. Doing everything you’re talking about is perfect.

[00:19:52]

Right. But don’t be scared to go to the chef or the sue or both and just be like, hey, I want more. Yeah, exactly. Don’t be scared. Challenge me.

[00:20:05]

Once you go and say, hey, push me, challenge me. I want more. I want to be able to do this first thing, they’re going to hold you to a higher standard, right. So there’s a lot less fuck off. It’s going to be able to happen.

[00:20:17]

They’re going to push you at times, and you’re probably going to be pissed at them a few times because you’re going to be like, why did I ever tell them this? Yeah, but now that they know, yes, you are going to be treated differently, but in a very good way. Right, right, exactly. And they’re going to give you tasks that you may not understand at that time, but it’s like parenting, right, that chefs almost like your parent, you know, and you don’t understand it at the time, but there’s a purpose for everything. You just have to trust and believe in that.

[00:20:50]

Yeah, exactly. That’s a perfect point. And also, always, number one, I’ve always been respectful to all staff in restaurants, front of house, back of house. You show up, you’re happy. You’re always respectful to everyone.

[00:21:15]

I also get you a lot of points. Yeah. There’s been line cooks. They show up and they’re just like, fuck off. Fuck off, man.

[00:21:28]

I don’t want to listen to your shit. Don’t talk to me. And they just steal bad moods and stuff. And those guys are the ones that they’re still sitting there chopping vegetables and stuff. Yeah, the six year old prep cook.

[00:21:47]

Exactly. Yeah, that’s true.

[00:21:52]

He’s always telling the same story. He’s always bitching about the same things, and he’s always going to bitch about how nobody loves him, everybody he’s never appreciated, look at me, I’m still prep cook. And it’s like, well, yeah, he’s sitting. There just f you and just continue cycle with that. But he’s for sure burned out.

[00:22:18]

He’s just burned out. Just prep cook.

[00:22:23]

He lost the passion, I think, right. He lost it. Or maybe he didn’t have it. He’s just been there, just punching the clock the whole time. There’s plenty of people out there that just the clock punchers, that some of them can advance just out of straight hard work, but their heart is not in it.

[00:22:46]

We’ve all experienced those people, and it’s just what I’m looking for. I’ve seen it where they try to get creative and then all of a sudden they’re like, hey, I’m doing this. And you can tell because the heart’s not in it. Yeah. Nothing else is there either.

[00:23:03]

Right, exactly.

[00:23:07]

A lot of the corporate guys, let’s jump back into that journey into the Irish pub. You got it? Yeah, sounds good. So the shift that nobody ever talks about, and for me, this was like a Mother’s Day brunch, and it was the first one we had, and I think we had been only open for, I think, maybe a month, and it was, like, forced on us, like, hey, we’re opening, we’re opening. The restaurant was just packed constantly anyway, for lunch and dinner, because we are just the newer restaurant.

[00:23:44]

And it was two different colleges were on this in the city, and both of them had graduation weekend, the same weekend as Mother’s Day.

[00:23:57]

And the doors opened, the wave hit. It didn’t stop. And I mean, the first time you’re executing a menu and it was just.

[00:24:11]

Man.

[00:24:14]

I could picture it. I could definitely it’s still kind of painful to talk about because at a certain point, there’s nothing anybody can do. Yeah, right. It’s scarring, for sure. It’s a deep scar, I’m assuming.

[00:24:36]

The Irish pub in St. Patty’s Day.

[00:24:41]

It was my first St. Patrick’s Day there. I never did one before, and.

[00:24:53]

It. Was a constant just bombarded. It was insane. It was a mess. Servers were taking the food to the wrong tables.

[00:25:05]

At one point. They weren’t taking the food quick enough. Stuff was getting cold. It was a cluster. Tickets were lined up.

[00:25:18]

It was a cluster. We had tons of corn beef. Corn beef and cabbage. That’s the traditional. And I don’t know how many of those I did that night.

[00:25:33]

It was slammed completely insane. They had bagpipes come in and the whole shebang. It was wild. And I did about. After that, I did four more St.

[00:25:49]

Patrick’s Day. Four more because I was there for four years, about four or five years. Did they ever get any better? No, it was all the same. Just crazy.

[00:26:02]

Just insane. Yeah, just a mad house. But it’s very much what’s the word?

[00:26:15]

You get a pretty good adrenaline from all that. You’re worked up afterwards, I think afterwards, a couple of times I was like, give me two pictures of Guinness. I’m fucking I’m going to stay here. I got off and I downed just two things. Again, if I sat there and I just had someone come and get me.

[00:26:39]

I was like, done. Yeah, I’m going to sit in this corner and leave me alone. Pretty much. Yeah, that’s pretty much what I did. It was pretty wild.

[00:26:52]

Pretty good stories there with the four St. Patrick’s days I did there. Each one was just a mad house. But that’s the whole experience of it. You’re there in that moment, you’re doing what you’re there to do and you’re moving as fast as you can and you’re just swimming.

[00:27:16]

You’re just going and going, man. Fun times. No, but I mean, there’s so many of those events too, that you see them coming up and you know they’re coming and you know it’s not going to be pretty. Right. But you’re just like, hey, man, it is what it is.

[00:27:36]

We’re going to have fun as much as we can. Yeah, right. Some days are just going to suck, but at the end of the day, we’re going to smile and laugh about it and promise that we’ll never do this again until next year. Exactly. Yeah.

[00:27:52]

And just have your fingers crossed until next year. And just don’t count the months leading up to that again. And then it’s there.

[00:28:07]

That’s how it goes. That’s the life, man. But I mean, for me, it was actually also like the holidays. After Thanksgiving, it was just like honestly, nobody seemed to be in a good mood until like the middle of January. That’s true.

[00:28:27]

It took a couple of weeks after December, after New Year’s for people to kind of get through that funk. Because it wasn’t just that. It was so much busier. Right. I mean, the busier is good.

[00:28:39]

And so in a chef’s perspective, running a busy restaurant is a hell of a lot easier than running a slow one. Right.

[00:28:50]

As long as you’ve got the staff and the product, but you’ve planned for it. Everything’s going and things are going, but the guests are just so much more bitter. Oh, yeah, I’ve ran into that. I still run into that. I mean, it’s a constant thing.

[00:29:08]

Yeah. It’s like, come on, man, this is the holidays. We’re all supposed to be fucking happy here. Yeah, right, exactly. Yeah.

[00:29:15]

It’s like Chubby Chase. We’re going to be the jolliest bunch of his assholes. This.

[00:29:24]

Is true, man. Yeah. I’ve had so many different just negative customers on certain things. I mean, it’s just the way it goes to you got to look at it like you’re always going to run into probably a couple of dozen every year. There’s going to be something, someone’s going to make an uproar about something and say, this isn’t I want it done like this.

[00:29:50]

And I think I also put in the questionnaire as well. There was modifying the tickets and there’s just wild stuff. It’s like this crazy stuff. You get all these modifications.

[00:30:09]

It’s just not good. Yeah.

[00:30:14]

He sets up his menu. It’s all everything that he wants that he’s presenting to you with the ingredients he’s putting, what he’s doing and what you’re presenting and needs to be left alone.

[00:30:32]

That’s it. Good luck. Yeah, good luck.

[00:30:38]

That was one of the questionnaires I remember that I put. I swear to God, I wish people just leave shit alone. Yeah, that’s true. Very true. There was a restaurant I was a part of in Dallas.

[00:30:57]

It was in kind of high end place in Dallas and it’s older clientele. And at one point I was joking about it, but I was going to redo the menu and I was just going to break it down into a list of ingredients that we had available. Because you didn’t fucking matter anymore. Right, exactly. And some people wanted everything chopped up real fine and stuff.

[00:31:28]

And I was like, you know what? We’re going to open a restaurant. I’m going to call it the feedback. You just pick your ingredients in your sauce. We’re going to fucking put it into the buffalo chopper, chop the shit out of it, add some digestive enzymes to let it start working for you.

[00:31:41]

We don’t want you to work too hard here. We’re just going to strap the shit on your face, man. There you go.

[00:31:49]

Oh, my God.

[00:31:54]

Yeah, that’s a good one. I like that. I don’t think it would work very well. No.

[00:32:04]

Maybe just we’ll chop everything up and throw it into a wheelbarrow instead of spoons and forks, you just get like one of those miniature shovels like you get for your sand castle kit. Yes.

[00:32:21]

Throw it in a wood chipper and just have them on the other hand, and just opening their mouth and just going directly to them. It’s all good.

[00:32:33]

That’s the way it goes. It’s a constant battle. But there is the customers that do appreciate what the chef is presenting. The menu itself, what they’re getting is the experience of what he wants to show them and showcase. And a lot of people out there, I don’t know, I would say probably 80% understand that in some ways, I would say.

[00:33:03]

And then the rest is the ones that, can you chew this for me? And can you slice this way? But that’s just the way it goes. But it’s good to see that people are experiencing what all these new chefs are doing and what they’re presenting and no questions asked. No, but I appreciate that you bring up the amount of people that actually do enjoy the food.

[00:33:29]

Because I know you’ll hear people bitching about it, especially me. And other people kind of complain about the customers that just masquerade everything that we try to do. But that’s actually a very small percentage of the population and the people we deal with. There’s been so many amazing clients and guests that I’ve had the joy of cooking for. And it really is.

[00:33:55]

It’s just a joy to cook for them because it is. They’re so damn appreciative. And they let you know that, too. That just kind of helps kind of fill that bucket a little bit more for you as well. Yeah.

[00:34:11]

And it’s great to see that people are so open now. They’re open to trying anything that you put in front of them. That’s what makes it great, too, because they’re so appreciative, like you said, and they respect the fact of what you’re presenting, what you’re doing. It speaks a lot that when people trust you right. It’s because they trust you.

[00:34:40]

Right. When they try new things, it’s because they trust you. And everybody starts at a level of trust. And then still, chefs working at restaurants, if you’re working on a menu and it’s like people just don’t get it. No, it’s not that people don’t get it.

[00:34:58]

Well, actually, it is. They don’t get it, but you’re trying to go too fast, too far, or too far too fast. Right. And like anything, you’ve got to train the guest on how to eat, how to order, as well as how to trust you. Exactly.

[00:35:18]

Right. And then all of a sudden, that shit takes time. Oh, yeah. It does take time to build that trust as well. When you first open a place or you’re presenting a new menu, you’re always going to get questions on certain things.

[00:35:36]

But as long as you have the people that are open minded and they’re open minded to try new things, that’s where you get the trust as well, because they’re blown away. They try your food, your menu, they’re blown away, and they’re going to keep coming back, and you’re going to build a relationship with them. And that’s an important thing as well.

[00:36:01]

That’s just the way it goes. It’s wild. All of a sudden. It’s like you’re cooking for friends.

[00:36:10]

That’s when you know you’ve hit it, man. Yeah.

[00:36:15]

So, music, you mentioned this earlier, you’ve kind of got a guitar collection up on the wall, so I’m also assuming you play. I do, yeah. Right. There are so many artists that kind of live in both worlds, the culinary world as well as the music world. Why do you think that is?

[00:36:44]

So I mean, I don’t, right? I appreciate the shit on music, but I’m not actually a musician by any means. Shit, I don’t need to sing in the shower. Well, there you go.

[00:36:59]

What do you think that relationship is? That is very artistic on both sides, right? Yes.

[00:37:08]

I would honestly go with the fact that they’re able to be creative in that way as well. Cooking and doing that and then being a musician, it kind of goes hand in hand in a lot of ways. Maybe not the food part, but the creativity part, I think. So what do you think came first? The starving musician looking for a job or the cook and the chef that was looking for another source to express their creativity, or almost like a coping skill to deal with stress as well?

[00:37:58]

With music and it’s a great outlet as well, right? Yeah. And that’s the thing too. I can’t sit still for too long. I’m so animated.

[00:38:10]

I just like using my hands. For the last two years I’ve been doing canvas, acrylic, art, and then playing the guitar. I just love making something, making something out of nothing. But I really got into the painting as well. Acrylic art really something else.

[00:38:32]

I have it on my Instagram. I’ve done quite a few canvases as well. Okay. Now did the music and the acrylic, obviously. So they came after you started cooking because you started cooking.

[00:38:49]

Yeah, way early.

[00:38:58]

Like you said, you just can’t sit still. But was it just because you got into those as both an appreciation or was it more just kind of I don’t want to say coping, but there’s so much stress that we all deal with in restaurants. The daily grind, the fuck the grind.

[00:39:28]

You just get hammered rather than going to those couple pictures appear after work, after St Patti’s, was it because music. And came into music was definitely the first for me and I just found it where you could break. Away from all the stress and trying new things and seeing if it feels good to you and you’re able to get some relaxation from doing these hobbies. That’s what really helps coping with coping with everything, the stress and trying to separate your mind from your constant grind and constant being slammed. And it couldn’t seem to really slow down.

[00:40:22]

So I found these things and music has always been something where I could put my headphones in and I could clear my mind, listen to music or it’s a great outlet for everything. It’s just an awesome outlet. With the. Painting as well, I picked up. It’s a great stress reliever for sure.

[00:40:48]

Right? So what do you do with your Acrylics? Do you try to sell them or you just collect them? Give them away?

[00:40:57]

I was giving them away. I was doing it for family first. And then my dad’s boss, he showed him pictures of the one I did for him, and he ended up buying two, paying for two of my pieces that I did. Nice. Yeah, I was able to do two pieces for him and he gave me $200.

[00:41:24]

I didn’t really care about the money. I wanted people to if they enjoy it, hey, more power to him. Because I just was having so much fun doing it. Yeah, I mean, it pays for supplies, so why not? Yeah.

[00:41:37]

And then I said, well, what colors you want? And this, that. All right, you got it. I went to town, but other than that, just mostly personal. Was doing it just mostly personal.

[00:41:50]

And it was great stress reliever. People can see that stuff on your Instagram, you said, right? Yeah, I do. I have a few on there. What’s your handle?

[00:42:02]

What’s that? What’s your instagram name? Real quick. Chef AJ mainr. Okay.

[00:42:09]

Yeah, I’ll put that in the show notes too, as well, for anyone looking for that as well. All right, awesome. Sweet. Nice. Got to give you some over there, bud.

[00:42:18]

Yeah, nice. So knives. You got a collection of knives going on? Yeah, well, I started with, like, pocket knives. I’m just fascinated with all types of knives, so I started with pocket knives a very young age.

[00:42:39]

I was probably got my first pocket knife when I was, like, 1010 years old. I got a buck 110 with a holster, and my grandpa gave it to me. He handed down to me from there. I just really started a collection. And then when I started getting into cooking in high school, I saved up enough money, and I got a hinkles set.

[00:43:13]

It was my first starting set. I still have them to this day, but I acquired quite a few knives over the years. Chef knives, hunting knives. I love collecting. What’s your favorite one?

[00:43:32]

Honestly, I love my ankles. I don’t know what it is. I love those.

[00:43:40]

I always can’t pronounce it. German tuisov. Yes. I have a set of those.

[00:43:51]

All those. I have a few Japanese steel ones, but I can’t remember the name on the top of my head right now. But I probably spent probably have, like, $10,000 worth of knives. And I have a huge box. I mean, a huge box.

[00:44:08]

It has locks on it and everything, and I store them in there. And I have all a bunch of cases I carry. I have them in my car everywhere.

[00:44:21]

One of my favorite things to do as well. I love it. Knives are definitely a chef’s best friend, obviously, for so many reasons. Where I actually started doing it, where it was almost an excuse to buy a knife, but it was an excuse where nobody could argue with me about it. My wife, every time I’d open a new restaurant, and so I’ve actually had the good fortune of part of several, several openings, but I would buy a knife specific to kind of that restaurant and what I was doing.

[00:44:58]

Right. It was a completely unique knife in so many ways. And now every time I see that knife, it’s related to that restaurant. Right. That’s awesome.

[00:45:11]

I like that. Yeah, I’ve got knives that are over 20 years old as well that have some of my first knives in, like, anything. They’re like cast iron. Like, you take care of them, they will last you forever. Oh, yeah.

[00:45:26]

I hope my kids will take my knives from me one day after I’m fucking dead. Right.

[00:45:36]

That’s what I tell my son. I said all this, man. When I go, I hope you appreciate these, and you just keep handing them down and appreciate it. Yeah, same thing. Each one will have a story to tell.

[00:45:52]

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. That’s awesome. Austin, I really appreciate your time tonight. Yeah, thank you.

[00:46:00]

So much talking to you. I’m so grateful for you having me. Come on. I’m so thrilled about it. It was great talking with you.

[00:46:11]

Yeah, definitely stay in touch. I had a great time. Thank you. Thank you, man. I appreciate it.

[00:46:19]

And thank you for listening to this episode of Inside the Pressure Cooker. If you enjoyed this episode and feel like you’re able to take something away from it, please go to Apple podcasts and rate and review us. If you don’t use Apple podcasts, please follow us as well as share this episode with a friend. This is a publication by Rare Plus Media, hosted and produced by me from Rare Plus Media and myself, Chad Kelly. Thank you for listening.

[00:46:48]

Keep kicking ass.

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