Chef Timothy Delling prepares for his first Guest Chef Night
Chef Timothy Delling is the executive chef for the FareStart Restaurant and FareStart Catering. He has a critical eye on the training opportunities for students and approaches his work with a dedication to maintaining FareStart’s stellar food reputation and staying focused on our mission.
We caught up to him as he was preparing for his Guest Chef Night, which he’ did in collaboration with FareStart Executive Corporate Chef Wayne Johnson, on March 21.
What is your Guest Chef Night going to be about?
I’m collaborating with Chef Wayne and Chef Danny Barksdale. It will be a Spanish Mediterranean theme. It’s exciting to work with Chef Wayne, he was an actual Iron Chef! I’m looking forward to putting my spin on things, but Chef Wayne is the star here and I hope that this leads to other collaborations moving forward.
Where did you work before?
I’ve been here at FareStart for about five months, but before that I worked pop-up events on the East Coast - traveling from city to city and setting up pop-up restaurants for a few nights, setting up seven-course themed events.
One of our most successful was a Spring Fling where I used the theme “In like a lion out like a lamb.” I played with more robust flavors at the beginning of the meal and went softer towards the end. It was so much fun playing with seasonal ingredients to create surprising dishes for my guests. One of the crowd favorites was a granita I created using Butterfly pea tea from Thailand. It is a beautiful cobalt blue and when a guest squeezed a provided lemon into the ice it turned a beautiful purple color.
What got you into food in the first place?
My grandparents were all European. My grandfather and his brothers came from Italy and opened a restaurant in New York. There was always a culture of food in my family. There is a chaos to a big family and every family has issues, but around the table no matter what happened in the day, you sat down at the table and got this sense of joy and love.
What is your favorite dish to prepare?
I find joy in the human experience in sharing my energy through food with other people. So, it’s whatever is the favorite of the person with whom I’m sharing. I love when I can put my spin and creativity on it. As much as I love food, the true star of the experience is the diner. Their perception and experience is where the magic lies.
If you had to give anyone one piece of advice about cooking, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid of salt. If you’re making pasta, the water should taste like the ocean.
What is something people don't know about working in a kitchen?
Working in kitchens is what our society was always supposed to be. There is clear leadership, but collaboration and teamwork. Everyone has a purpose. There is no judgement of where you come from or what color you are and what your sexual preference is. Are you putting out a product that you are proud of? That’s all that matters. It’s a beautiful model.
How has working with our students changed your point of view?
I came to FareStart with a love for people. It’s what draws all of us to this organization. Your past doesn’t dictate your future. We are all unique and we honor that. There is a common denominator between all of us. Given the right tools and environment we can all thrive.
What is the thing that most surprised you about working with our students?
It is such an equal exchange. They give as much to us as we give to them. You would think that this is a job training skills type of relationship, but there is so much respect and love and effort between the students and the staff. We get back tenfold what we give to them.
Do you have a student moment you can share with us that touched you?
I was recently at a restaurant and the server asked me where I work and I said FareStart. He called over the manager and the manager came out and said “FareStart! We love you guys!” Two of the line cooks were FareStart graduates and I was just so proud of how proud of themselves they were. You see their journey from start to finish in this building but to see it happen outside and see them thrive- it was just a beautiful moment.