Top Chef: Stephan Durand “I want to cook until I can’t anymore”

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Stephan Durand
Stephan Durand

This Q&A first published in the Spring 2015 print edition.

Get to know “Chef Stephan Durand”

Q: Where did you grow up?
A: Most of my young life was spent in Haiti, however, I also spent part of my childhood in NY and DC.

Q: When did you know you wanted to be a chef?
A: In all honesty I never knew I wanted to become a Chef. I think this career chose me, really. My last year of high school I worked with my cousin who was a Catering Chef, and that’s how I really got introduced to the professional life.

Q: What is your favorite food memory?
A: My favorite food memory is on Sundays making spaghetti with vienna sausage with my Dad and Sunday dinners at my grandmother’s house.

Q: Where were you trained, and how difficult was your training?
A: I got my training at Johnson & Wales University, really a great place of higher learning. And I have to say I went all in, and it paid off.

Stephan Durand
Stephan Durand

Q: How do you get your inspiration?
A: In all honesty, I get my inspiration from other chefs. I read a lot of books and I follow a lot of Chefs who are putting out great food.”

Q: Favorite kitchen equipment or gadget?
A: A good Chef knife will take you anywhere.

Q: Best piece of advice you would give a home enthusiast?
A: You really have to love what you’re doing. I think when you have fun doing something, you put out this wonderful energy that goes into the food.

Q: Best cooking tip for a novice just getting into the business?
A: Learn learn learn, be hungry for learning.

Q: Funniest kitchen incident?
A: Woow there have been so many. But my fondest is my teacher at Johnson & Wales who picked up all the garbage cans and dropped them on the kitchen tables, and said “Look how much ……. you guys are wasting……this is my money and soon to be your money that you are throwing away.”

Q: Who in the food world do you most admire?
A: I admire quite a few people. Closer to what I like to cook are Bobby Flay, Marcus Samuelson and many others, but most of all, I admire my peers.

Q: What do you think is the most challenging ingredient to work with?
A: I don’t think there are any ingredients that I have found challenging. I think there a few things to keep in mind: respect the ingredient, learn about the ingredient and don’t try to transform it too much into something else.

Q: Do you have a favorite wine?
A: Beaujolais Village.

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten?
A: I just know I want to keep cooking until I can’t anymore

Q: What do you do for fun?
A: I cook first and foremost, but I just like to chill with my good friends like Chef Alain and whooop his behind at FIFA PlayStation.

Q: What do you most love about your career as a Chef?
A: I want my legacy and my story to be about people saying that I was a pretty decent cook.

Q: What’s your ‘Last Supper’ meal?
A: Mais moulue with smoked herring, sweet plantains with morue, soupe de giromond.

Q: How can people book you?
A: Via e-mail: Stephan@ChefStephan.net

Q: Where can people find you?
A: I am in Haiti most of the time, but one can check my website: www.ChefStephan.net or Facebook: ChefStephan or twitter or Instragram: @HaitianChef

Q: What do you have going on?
A: Working on Taste of Haiti NYC, Haiti Chefs for Education Atlanta and of course Haiti Food and Spirits Festival 2014. In addition I am running my own place in Haiti

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