One of New York’s most beloved and respected chefs, Scott Conant brings a deft touch and unwavering passion to creating food that is unexpected and soulful. This year marks his return to the culinary scene with the opening of Scarpetta in New York City’s Meatpacking District and Miami’s Fontainebleau resort.
Question: Is apprenticeship still important?
Scott Conant: Absolutely, absolutely. I’m- when I was- when I was-- you know I started, like I said, professionally cooking at 15. And I don’t know why my parents let me do it, but I was working 60 hours a week plus going to high school, and I just loved it. And I think the reason why- you know, they knew I was safe; I wasn’t out in the streets. I was spending time in a kitchen, you know, working; I loved it. And I- I think it was a-- you know, it’s- it’s interesting because it really made me focus on a- it was a goal, you know, there was a camaraderie in the kitchen that I’d never really kind of found elsewhere. And I think when you’re young and kind of impressionable like that, those are positive influences. And I- and I think as you-- even if you choose to go to culinary school, afterwards, you know, that- that doesn’t mean you’re prepared and ready to take on chefdom, so to speak. You know, there’s more- there’s a different level of apprenticeship that goes- that goes into it afterwards, or so it seems, yeah. But it is very important in anything, when you apply yourself and, you know, focus on it. I think that’s the important- the important thing, whether it be school or apprenticeship, and if you could do both that’s even better.
Recorded on: 03/24/08