Hell’s Kitchen Season 9
Brendan HeaveyAge: 31Occupation: Head ChefHometown: Hoboken, NJSignature Dish: Salmon with Basil Cream Sauce
Fired. Finished 16th
All my experience comes from restaurants…
Unlike previous contestants, I won’t let the pressure get to me…
I’m really looking forward to working with Gordon Ramsay…
When I win, I want to join Ramsay’s empire…
Question and Answer.
What was your first job in a kitchen?
I started working the grill in the snack bar of Tuckahoe Recreation Club in McLean, VA when I was 13-years old. My parents told me that the days of summer camp and vacations were over. Now that I was a teenager, I had to work. I didn’t mind, though, the snack bar manager was a gorgeous blonde UVA student who is single-handedly responsible for my entering puberty. I spent all summer trying to impress her with my culinary skills, to no avail.
What is the first dish you ever mastered?
Black bean enchiladas! In 7th grade at Longfellow Middle School, I took a class called Teen Living with a wonderful teacher. She taught us how to make these and I nailed it. I took the recipe home and made them for my family that night. My mom was shocked at two things: 1 that I wanted to cook, and 2 that I needed her to go to the grocery store and buy all the ingredients.
What is your signature dish?
Salmon with a basil cream sauce. It’s an old Marco Pierre White recipe from his days at Harvey’s in London. Chef Ramsay should recognize the dish, he was a young line cook at Harvey’s under Chef White.
Any stories of triumph from the kitchen or workplace? Disaster?
As a culinary student in Chicago, I was working in the kitchen of a new restaurant that was having some difficulty with the chefs. We were on our third chef in two months, and she quit right before dinner service. The GM promoted me on the spot. The results? The restaurant had it’s highest grossing night ever, the GM said it was the best food and smoothest-run operation he’s seen there, the waitstaff gave me a standing ovation, and the owner bought me drinks afterwards.
Who was your first cooking inspiration?
My first cooking inspiration was, believe it or not, Emeril Lagasse. I’ll never forget going over to a girlfriend’s house in 1999 and seeing her family huddled around the TV in rapt attention. I thought that something bad had happened or The Beatles had reunited, but no, it was a cooking show. As I was mentally preparing to dump my girlfriend, I started watching and was completely blown away. He brought so much energy and enthusiasm to cooking; it was something I had never seen before. I wanted to have that much fun doing what he was doing at some point in my life. I got to meet Emeril at Taste of Chicago a few years ago, very nice guy. He signed a cookbook for me and we talked about my time in the Army.
What’s the one piece of advice you took away from HELL’S KITCHEN?
Stay focused and don’t get distracted by pretty blondes in cowgirl boots!
Hell’s Kitchen Season 9 Brendan Heavey