Name: Brad Evers
Hometown: Webster Groves, Missouri
Title: Executive Chef
Education: Associates degree from the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park NY. I graduated second in my class. I did my externship at the United Nations Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, NY. I cooked for many dignitaries.
How long have you been with Cordillera Ranch? 5 weeks
What is your favorite aspect of working in the Hill Country? I was pleasantly surprised by how beautiful the Hill Country really is. I love the flora and fauna and I see deer often. I have seen numerous birds (I am a bit of a birder) and a porcupine and a roadrunner running down the cart path.
How did you get started in the food industry and what made you want to become a Chef? I was a pre-journalism major at the University of Missouri and inn my second year I started working as a cook in a local restaurant. The next year I worked again as a Cook and fell in love with it. However, I couldn’t decide which career to choose. I went to the library and looked at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics 20-year job outlook for careers in journalism and chefs. Chefs would be in demand so I make my choice.
What has been your greatest challenge working in the food industry? The biggest challenge has been finding qualified employees. Cooks must be willing to work very hard for little pay until they advance. Even when they advance to a sous chef position they are looking forward to 60, 70 or even 80 hours of hot, stressful hours on their feet a week.
What has been your most rewarding experience working in the food industry? At this point in my career mentoring has been the most rewarding. It feels great to work with a young kid and watch him grow. I am proud to say I have mentored four cooks; I trained them to become sous chefs and now they are executive chefs at various properties. Favorite aspect working at Cordillera Ranch? Cordillera is a fantastic club. The best parts are the people. The members have been very positive and accommodating. The staff, from the front of the house to the kitchen to the outside, has all been great.
What is your favorite cuisine to cook? I like to cook many cuisines. I started with classic French then expanded to many others. I enjoy “slow food” – three day marinades, slow smoking, roasting, playing with different brines, braising. All of these things can’t be rushed, take true love, and in the end the results are more satisfying than a ½ hour dinner.
What is your favorite food? Thai: Pad Kee Mao, wide rice noodles, soy, beef, tomatoes, chiles, basil-fantastic Indian: Lamb Vindaloo – a rich spicy stew with Naan bread to cut the heat Chinese: Peking duck with scallion pancakes Mexican: Chiles en nogata. Invented for Mexican Independence Day in 1821. A poblano pepper filled with pork, dried fruits and tomatoes with a white walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds American: Mom’s meat loaf.
What are your hobbies/interests outside of the food industry? I am an avid gardener and looking forward to starting a vegetable garden here at the club. I love to read, mostly nonfiction and military history. I am also an Eagle Boy Scout and love to hike and camp. But most of all I like to travel. I have been to Mexico many times, Belize, Honduras, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Bali. I am a certified diver and used to dive quite a bit in Cozumel, Bahamas (shark dives) and Turks and Caicos. Now that I am getting older, Europe will be next.
Any advice you would give to someone wanting to be a professional Chef? Be very, very careful. Most young people don’t have a full understanding of what it takes to be a chef. Long hours can disrupt family life (you work most holidays) and it can be physically demanding. I feel bad for some of these kids who watch the food network and decide to be a Chef. They spend a fortune on tuition, and don’t understand you have to start at the bottom. They may start at $9.00/hr and decide they don’t like it and will be paying off their loans for years. (I have a problem with some of these culinary arts schools advertised on TV with the insinuation you will graduate and be an instant Chef). When I was growing up in the 80’s it was a lot easier to find good jobs – Chefs were not celebrities yet, demand for Chefs was high, and the market was good. Today there are more Chefs than jobs. Advice if you decide to pursue it? Study hard, it is not just the schooling, it’s on you. Apply yourself, research, work for free, and find a great mentor. It’s all up to you!