Bobby Rahman is a Chef with 15 years of experience in the restaurant industry. He grew up in Ontario and always knew he wanted to work in food, so when he enrolled at College of Culinary Arts it was an easy decision that cooking would be his career path.
He has been learning about cooking techniques for over 10 years from all around the world- what ingredients are used, how they’re prepared and cooked, their significance to culture and history—so that every dish we make retains its authenticity while still being surprising for their diners who expect new tastes with each visit.
In this interview, he shares his experience with cooking, effects of covid-19 on the restaurant industry, friendships among professional chef’s and much more!
What is your favorite cuisine to cook?
Bobby Rahman: My favorite cuisine to cook is an easy one.
I love making stir fry that isn’t just chicken with broccoli; I like adding in mushrooms for some added nutrients and a well-cooked egg to pack in the protein. A little sesame oil or soy sauce will give it flavor, and if you prefer your food spicier, then cayenne pepper does the trick just fine. Add some soy sauce mixed with garlic and let that marinate together while frying the vegetables up — yum! Like I said, an easy one. What’s not to love about fresh veggies in a thin layer of flavored oil?
What is the best part of your job as a chef?
Bobby Rahman: This is a really subjective answer, but I think that the best part about being a chef is when you finally get to show your talent and share it with others. You can spend hours looking up recipes, reading reviews of different techniques, and trying new dishes out in your kitchen before you actually share them with anyone–and I think that always feels great.
It’s also about the experience. It’s one thing to cook at home for your family and another to be working in a kitchen where you share ideas, thoughts, and discussions with other chefs. That kind of creativity can’t be found anywhere else. Plus when it all comes together- that feeling when everyone is happy- I’ve never felt anything like it before.”
Do you have to get along with the other chefs in your workspace?
Bobby Rahman: I get along with other chefs in the industry pretty well.
I’ve never really had any issues, but I’m very selective about the places I work. The key is to focus on people rather than restaurants when interviewing for a job because you’ll always have bosses and sous chefs, but you will only work at one restaurant at a time. And once you find good people that are passionate about food and want what’s best for their customers, it doesn’t matter where they’re working – there’s going to be mutual respect and desire to push each other so we can learn more together down the road.
How did covid affect the restaurant industry?
Bobby Rahman: Being a chef and seeing my favorite restaurants go out of business made me sad, but it also helped me find better work.
I didn’t know how to feel when I saw my friends’ businesses close and the banks start seizing property that was worth way more last time I checked. As many of them try to give their loyal customers a good last meal before they have to close up shop for good, at least we can remember some awesome times together over some fantastic food.
The saddest part is that it’s not just the restaurateurs getting hurt by covid, it’s all the people who depended on them directly or indirectly for their income as well as those who served us every day.
How do you test the quality of your ingredients?
Bobby Rahman: You test the quality of your ingredients by cooking them.
All fresh produce is tested as best possible before being shipped to retailers that will sell it, with the help of careful inspection for mold, bruises and blemishes. But it’s always a good idea to take a look at your ingredients before you cook them if you happen to notice anything out-of-the-ordinary. The less processing an ingredient goes through (including cooking) the higher its nutrients are likely to remain after cooking or consumption. That means if there’s too much food coloring present, proteins denatured due to heat treatment, or poor quality oil used in addition to higher priced oils then these things might not be apparent until they’re cooked or eaten and those.
Do you think food trends are changing in the US?
Bobby Rahman: Nowadays we are blessed by Eastern influences in Western cooking like sushi and Pad Thai; you can’t ignore how Americans are starting to get scared of high cholesterol cooked egg yolk; expect South Indian fare soon in Manhattan without sacrificing too much of New York’s noisy vibe.
People crave change sometimes – they need it. Food can help provide that for them (without having control over what should be a guilty pleasure).