Celebrity Chef Wenford Patrick Simpson, or "Chef Patrick" for short, didn’t attain his culinary superstar status overnight. His superb dishes are the result of skills he's been fine tuning since a young age, when he began cooking in his hometown of St. Ann Parish, Jamaica. His talents were recognized even in his youth, and it wasn’t long before he was cooking professionally at resorts, on cruise ships, and eventually, in New York City, at some of the best restaurants in the world.
Today, he delights guests with his Caribbean-American fusion as executive chef of B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, spreads the joy of food and flavor as a Culinary Ambassador, and entertains even more during his many media appearances, including facing off with Chef Bobby Flay on a recent episode of Food Network’s hit show “Beat Bobby Flay.”
With such a long and successful career, Chef Patrick has learned quite a lot about how chefs can maximize their performance in the kitchen. Here’s just some of what we learned from him:
On Finding the Best Restaurant Equipment
A restaurant’s equipment is an invaluable piece to a much larger, delicious puzzle. Without reliable equipment for storage, prep, and cooking, the entire kitchen operation could be disrupted, leaving Chef Patrick with a frustrated staff and dissatisfied customers. Chef Patrick’s advice is very simple.
“When I purchase equipment for my kitchen, I go for durability,” he says, adding that chefs choose the brands and models they can trust in the long run, even if it means a higher initial investment. “You can cut corners, but it will eventually cost you more.”
On the Importance of Thoughtful Plating
As any chef knows, the job isn’t done once the food is cooked. The next stage is plating that meal for presentation to guests. This step's significance, according to Chef Patrick, cannot be overstated.
“People eat with their eyes first, so a great presentation of your dishes is very important,” he explains.
A great presentation has a lot to do with having the right dinnerware to enhance your dish, continues Chef Patrick. There is no single correct answer, however. Instead, it’s more about finding the perfect complement to what deliciousness will be going atop it.
“For example, you would not put a steak on a plate that is black," he says. "You are better off with a white plate to highlight the color of the steak.”
So, feel free to explore using ceramic or stoneware, round or square options for your dinnerware, but just make sure you consider how it looks with your menu.
On Finding the Best Supplier
With restaurant equipment and supplies so important to the efficient operation of a busy kitchen like B.B. King Bar & Grill's, Chef Patrick stresses finding a supplier that prioritizes your business. Without durable equipment, or perfect dinnerware for his signature steak or fish, the distinguished and superior quality of his cooking is jeopardized.
So, determined to always give his guests the best dining experience possible, Chef Patrick takes no chances in selecting the ideal supplier for his kitchen.
For him, that means working with Sam Tell Companies, and we could not be more thrilled with his loyalty.
“I’ve been working with Sam Tell for more than five years,” explains Chef Patrick. “I’ve never had a problem getting what I need. Delivery is always on time and they have great customer service and prices.”
If this weren’t reason enough, Chef Patrick summarizes what has really made all the difference for him:
“With Sam Tell, I feel like family,” he declares.
Chef Patrick's most important tip for success in the kitchen, though, didn’t even necessarily pertain to equipment or supplies at all, but rather, achieving your dreams, no matter who you are or what they are.
“Never give up on your dreams,” he says. “Always fight for one more day, believe in yourself, and be your number-one cheerleader. If you believe in your fate and love what you do, then you’ll never work a day in your life.”