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A Chef James, FoodReference.com interview with Chef Frederick J. Tiess, author of The Culinary Reference Guide. September, 2006
CHEF JAMES: Why did you decide to pursue a career with food? When did your interest in cooking begin?
CHEF TIESS: When I was 11 I started cooking for my family, because of their encouragement I decided to make a career out of it and have been working in the industry since I was 16, 27 years ago.
CHEF JAMES: Please tell us a little about your culinary education. What did you like and dislike about it?
CHEF TIESS: I graduated from the CIA in 86, the experience was great but it did not fully prepare me as a business person.
CHEF JAMES: As a culinary educator, what are some of the qualities that you feel a successful chef should have?
CHEF TIESS: The first is an open mind, we will always be in a changing market. I feel that we can always improve upon what has been accomplished, if not the flavor, we can improve through efficient and consistent replication.
CHEF JAMES: What do you enjoy most about your work? What are your greatest stresses? Your greatest joys?
CHEF TIESS: I enjoy working with a group of students and seeing the progress that they achieve. The greatest stress, someone who has given up on them self. The greatest joy, when a Light goes off in a students mind and you see that they get it.
CHEF JAMES: Do you have an amusing kitchen incident to share with us?
CHEF TIESS: Everyday is an adventure, if I ever have an un-amusing day I will tell you.
CHEF JAMES: If you were stranded on a desert island for a year surviving on coconuts and seaweed, what would be the first meal you would like to eat after you were rescued?
CHEF TIESS: I am sure that anything would taste good after that ordeal, but I would sure go for a Stage Deli Hot Pastrami on Rye, Half Sour Pickles, Potato Pancakes and some Ice Cold Beer.
CHEF JAMES: What 3 cookbooks or culinary books would you pick to save in a time capsule to be opened 500 years from now?
CHEF TIESS: ‘Le Guide Culinaire’, ‘The French Laundry’ to show the progress that was made over the 20th century and T’he Soul of a Chef’ to put it all in perspective.
CHEF JAMES: Is there anything else you can tell us about yourself, your career, or the profession that would be interesting or helpful to others aspiring to enter and succeed in the culinary field?
CHEF TIESS: Examine your strengths and weakness's daily, Its a very efficient gage of your progress, "To thine own self be true " WS
About the Chef: Frederick J. Tiess B.S., C.E.C., F.M.P., C.C.I, has taught at Johnson and Wales University since 1995. He was the former Executive Chef at the Founders Inn and Conference Center in Virginia Beach and the Sous Chef at the 5 diamond rated Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. He has also worked in Palm Beach Florida, Hilton Head South Carolina, and New York City. Fred holds four national culinary titles, and has earned 3 best in show finishes at culinary competitions along with 12 medals. He is a graduate of Johnson and Wales University, the Culinary Institute of America, the State University of New York, and the Greenbrier Apprenticeship Program. His guest list included former President George H.W. Bush, the late John F. Kennedy Jr., the late Isaac Rabin, Comedian Bill Murray, and Dr. Pat Robertson. He can be seen on ABC Family Television on the "Living the Life" cooking segments.