Roots of the Passion

My name is Brad Kilgore and I am 21 years old and a recent graduate of Johnson and Wales University with an Associates in Science degree in Culinary arts. Cooking for me started as an interest when my mother went back to school when I was in third grade. One of my first memories of cooking on my own is when I tried to make some brownies from scratch and instead of a tsp. of I put a tbsp. of salt. Those were the most disgusting brownies I have ever had. I began working when I was twelve (just a few months before I turned thirteen) at a little diner in Overland Park, Kansas called Santa Fe Cafe. I was a dishwasher and my other duties were to make fresh orange juice and sometimes cut out biscuits. I thought it was awesome that the cooks would let me do these things and I loved them. A few months after I had started the cooks would let me go on line and make pancakes, toast, and french toast.

After working at Santa Fe Cafe I started working at another restaurant at the same time washing dishes. This time it was at a turn and burn fried chicken joint called K.T. Fryers. There were several people that I worked with there that I would be reconnected with later on in life when I attended Broadmoor Technical Center (but more on that later).

After a future friend of mine yelled at all of the dishwashers to hurry while I scrubbed burnt carmalized onions off of a huge rondoux after working at two different restaurants washing dishes on MOTHERS DAY. I was so pissed off I walked out (the only time I ever walked out on a job).

No matter where I ended up working it always seemed to be in a food establishment. The summer after K.T. fryers I had to get a job where I could walk to. Pretty much the only place that was in walking distance was Mcdonalds. So for the entire summer I made $5.50 working the cash register in the morning and lunch and then the drive through at night. It was cool with me because my fat ass got to eat as much MickeyD’s as I wanted and they let me take hand fulls of the wrappers for hashbrowns because the had the monopoly prizes on them.

After the summer I began working at a catering place in Overland Park, Kansas called Arcadian Catering. I was once again dishwasher but hey I had just turned 15. On the day of my 16th birthday they gave my a knife to use and gave me permission to use the slicer. At first I thought this was so cool until they told me to slice an entire box of red onions and laughed at me while I cried. HAHA. I worked there for several months until it was to slow for me to have enough work and I left to work at Little Caesars.

Now remember at this point I like cooking but the first time I had ever heard of anyone going to school to cook was at the catering place and I thought that was ridiculous. Little Ceasars was run by a bunch of punks and it was perfect for me at that time in my life. I worked there for a year. Half way through working at Little Caesers I started attending Broadmoor Technical Center for Culinary Arts classes.

At first I took the classes so I could eat and have a break from school. That is the way it was for the first quarter of my junior year. Then I noticed that I really liked the cooking and it was very interesting to me. There were oppurtunities through this class that could give me a future because I had never thought about my future before this. My teacher Bob Brassard never gave up on me no matter how mad I made him in class. He became my mentor and he is still a good friend. My senior year I became more serious and I quit Little Caesers and began working at Indian Hills Country Club in Mission, Kansas. I started in the dish room for the first couple of months and then when the summer came I moved out to the snack bar by the pool where there was a small oven, flat top, and a double fryer. I had a great time and there is where I learned what a rush was! After the summer I moved into the kitchen at the pantry station and stayed ther for 8 more months until I left to go to work at Pierpont’s at the Union Station.

At Broadmoor Technical center I competed in a couple competitions but I only got second in both and it was completley because I did not understand food yet. How come broccoli does not cook in seven minutes exactly every time in every city? These were both great experiences for me and the made me who I am. The summer after graduating high school I went to Italy with kids from the culinary school and the teacher Bob Brassard. One of the students was the guy that made me walk out of K.T. Fryers 4 years earlier. We stayed in Tuscany on top of a mountain for a month. We were allowed to work with the chef as much as we wanted and I took advantage of that.

I really began shining at Pierpont’s I started working in the prep room where there was one guy in the morning and one guy at night. We prepared all sauces and well everything for the line that served 300-400 on a good night! I had a lot of fun there and learned a lot too. After about 7 months there I left for Johnson and Wales.

When I arrived in Denver for school I did not have a job set up and I did not know the city very well. So most of my time in the first few weeks I was on the internet and reading local magazines to find out where the best places were to work. The name Table 6 popped up many times so I mapquested how to get there and showed up one afternoon and dropped off an application and resume. The next day I heard back and they asked me to stage. After my stage they offered me a job but then they looked at my school schedule and said that it just wouldn’t work out, but the chef did have a friend at a restaurant that needed someone with the same schedule as me. The name of the restaurant was Tante Louise. I was kind of disappointed before I found out it was one of only three AAA Four Star restaurants in the city. I staged and got the job. Now I am glad that I did not get in to Table 6 because they just went downhill after that.

I worked at Taunte Louise for just over 5 months because I couldn’t afford to pay for rent in Denver I moved back home at the end of the school year. But it was nice for me working there because I got to do a vegetarian special every week and I learned a lot on top of that too. When I got a home I got a hold of my old chef at Pierponts who is now the one of the corporate chefs for the Anderson Restaurant Group and he told me they needed a butcher for the Idependence Restaurant that just opened.

This was a wonderful experience for me and I loved the fact that I had to only worry about parties, banquets, and oh yeah cutting lots of meat. One day I cleaned 72 beef tenderloins my best time was 2 minutes and 45 seconds (side muscle and chain included but since I have done one in 2 minutes and 5 seconds). I have always loved cleaning meat so this was a challange for me. I made a couple of sauces for the specials and kind of kept to myself while working there. Oh yeah and I ran the grill at lunch a couple of times (It was coal and had to be reloaded every 45 minutes or so.

I moved back to Denver and started working for a woman who sold dry pastas, 18 year old aged Balsalmic Vinegars, and Truffle Oil at farmers markets and I also did dinners with herl, business partners and, customers over the summer. I got to travel all Colorado and see the beautiful landscape while making pretty good money too.

After the farmers market season was over I was jobless because I was so picky and the market was slow for cooks. I waited until I found a job with under Kevin Taylor at Kevin Taylors at the Opera House. I learned a lot under the chef there (William “The Crazy French Guy That Threw a Saute Pan At my Friend For Overcooking Lamb On His First Night” ??Last Name??” Even though I only worked there for 4 months I think I learned more from him that any other chef even if in the end it was just discipline.

The summer after that school year I went to Italy to work for two and a half months. It was in a small town one hour south of Milan called Salice Terme. This kitchen had no air conditioner and the walk-in in did not have a fan but just a cooling unit. Crazy HUH? It was extremely hot in the kitchen because there was no central air or fans, and it was really wierd how the hours were 9 a.m.- 2p.m. and from 5-10-11 or12 p.m. It actually made you tired all day because the space in between the shifts. I was really happy because I worked only five days a week and had the chance to travel for two days week and go to places like Monaco, Lake Como, Switzerland, Venice, Menton, Nice, Turino, Villefrance, Maranello (the home of the Ferrari), Parma, Alba, Asti, Alba, Barbaresco, Milan, Genova, Modena, and, Portofino. I got to see a lot.

After I returned I started working at The American Restuarant in Kansas City to finish up my degree for my internship from Johnson and Wales. My Chef Celina Tio was just named The Best Chef Midwest from the James Beard Foundation. This was really exciting for all of us and we were so proud of her award.

I Left Kansas City and moved to Chicago to work under Grant Achatz at Alinea, I worked there for only a few weeks when an opportunity to open up L20 under Laurent Gras. This was the most amazing kitchen that you can imagine. I worked under chef Gras for the next year and a half observing and learning his skills and techniques. We had every piece of equipment a modern chef could ever want, from rovovap, to a freeze dryer, and even 5 gastrovacs.

When i decided to move on I went to Boka in Chicago as Pastry Sous Chef, I was there just a few months (it really wasnt the place for me, and ironically right next door to Alinea). I left Boka to open up EPIC in downtown Chicago. I was the Executive Sous Chef running a two kitchen unit with 45 employees. EPIC is a restaurant/Lounge, and the opening chef was Stephen Wambach (previous executive chef for all of the BLT restaurants worldwide). We recieved three stars from Phil Vitell and John Mariani awarded us with the Best New Restaurant in America List 2010.

Currently I am at Azul Restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental Miami, The Chef de Cuisine is Joel Huff (previous Chef de Cuisine of Bazaar in L.A.) The current Posts are from here.


14 responses to “Roots of the Passion

  • Nancy Rickard Fast


    Love the website. Grandson Tate was asking about you last night. Tate is now 8 years old and interested in working in the restaurant business someday like you and also his father. He asked me how you started in this but I could only put together bits and pieces. Now I can share the whole story with him of how you became the wonderful chef that you are! I also love hearing about some of your recent, and I’m sure, delicious concoctions.

    I was wondering if you know anything about the cuisine of Lake Garda Italy? I am completing a mural of this region and have invited the art patrons to my studio. Would you possibly have a suggestion for an appetizer and wine to serve them?

    Thank you,
    Nancy Rickard Fast

    P.S. By the way, what is the name of the city at the top of your blog? Is it Salice Terme?

  • chadzilla

    Brad… I like your blog, and thanks for reading mine. The food is clean. The focus flavors are nice. It seems you are in a good place at the moment. Chef K, who I work with and is one of my long-time best friends, grew up in the Kansas City area. His brother, Brian Jantz, is the chef of a country club in Wichita right now.
    Your dedication to food and learning will be with you forever, as long as you do not get too comfortable. Taking the next step and learning how to run a kitchen and manage people is the hardest part of becoming a chef. Whenever you decide to cross that line, do not put your desire to study food on the back burner. All I can say is keep studying, keep reading, keep searching for information. Take notes, be organized, and learn.

  • Justin Hoffman

    Brad, (my man)

    Broadmoor and Italy is a long time ago huh. I am really impressed with all the work you have and are doing! I am graduate next week and then I am moving out to Colorado. Congrats on the wedding!

  • matto

    hey dude, i like your blog. i’m using google reader to subscribe to your feed. i looked at your code and i something is generating errors that stretch your images vertically. you can check the code by going to:

  • Craig

    Your progression in the food world is a wonderful experience for me to watch.
    The world will seem to be a better place with you designing our meals.

  • soussurvivor

    Im the sous chef at a restaurant called Plumpjack cafe in San Francisco. thanks for the add and ill have an alinea update in a few days – goin in for dinner tomorrow!!

  • Al Malekovic

    Hi Brad: My name is Al Malekovic ( and I represent a very, very small company called Country Bob’s, Inc. We are making a great sauce called, “Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce” and we would like to get the word out about our product.
    I know that review blogs are a great way to get information to the general public. I conducted a google search for food blogs and your name came and after looking at your blog, I was wondering if you would be interested in trying my sauce and perhaps reviewing it for me.

    If you send me your name and address via e-mail, I would gladly send you a recipe brochure along with two bottles of Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce in hopes that you would write a review.

    If you would like more information, I would be glad to respond to any questions you might have. In fact, if you are interested in interviewing me after you’ve sampled the product, I would gladly make myself available!

    Thank you for your consideration. We also have two two bottle give a ways for your blog.

  • Tristen

    Great blog! haven’t had a chance to go completely through it yet, but I’m sure I will return.
    I’m 19 years old and a young aspiring chef, currently finishing a culinary course at North Island College in British Columbia. Its very inspiring to see some of your dishes (as food like this is what REALLY interests me).
    Thanks for doing what you’re doing.

    Tristen –

  • Tristen

    Hey there Brad,

    Haven’t seen any recent updates but I still come back from time to time and look through your dishes for inspiration. They’re really really great.
    I’ve found myself getting into more sweets lately, and trying to cross the line between sweet/savoury by combining some not so common flavour pairings (TGRWT).

    Last time we talked you mentioned a restaurant that you were looking at buying?
    Hope everything went well, and I’m assuming thats why there havent been updates:P

    Happy Cooking!

  • Sectional Garage

    i always visit food blogs because i always like to do some home cooked meals “-‘

  • Sophie

    Hi Brad!

    I have been a fan of your blog for a while now, and I really think we share the same enthusiasm for everything creative about cooking. I would really appreciate it if you could take a look at my new website, . It is mostly about offering a new and fun perspective on molecular cuisine. Tell me what you think of it! And if you like it, maybe you could include the URL in the Links section of your blog.

    Thanks already! 🙂


  • Remote Energy Monitor

    Made me want to read more…

    I wonder if everyone will need to learn more on this….


    I blog as well and I am crafting something comparable to
    this blog post, “Roots of the Passion The Power of a Passion”.
    Would you mind if Imake use of a number of your
    ideas? Thanks for your effort -Lynette

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