Blog & Media

Meet the Chef: Andrew Adams

In case you haven’t heard yet, Eat In Chef is coming to DC, LA, and South Florida! We’ve met many passionate and talented chefs in these cities, and we’d love for you to get to know them, too. This Q&A with Chef Andrew Adams is the first post in our “Meet the Chef” series. Keep reading to learn about his work, what inspires his cooking, and much more!

If you live in LA and like what you see, you can book Chef Andrew by clicking here.

Chef Andrew Adams
Hey LA: Coming soon to a kitchen near you!
What’s your name?

Andrew Adams

Where will you be cooking for Eat In Chef?

Los Angeles, around the Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills areas.

Tell us about your professional cooking experience.

Most young chefs or culinary students seek out big-name chefs to work for or go to Europe and stage in Michelin-starred restaurants. I wish I had the chance to do so myself. The road I took was different, like most things I do. My first job was an internship at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It was my first time away from home, and it opened me to many new experiences and cultures. When I came back to Missouri, I found a job as a bartender and server at a winery. One day, however, the kitchen was short-staffed and I ended up in the kitchen! I remember one hot July night, I was a bartender, server, and cook all in one shift. I was running around to make drinks, take orders, and cook. Something about that night hit something deep. I may have enjoyed the chaos just a little to much!

I was later given a chance to move to St. Charles, located just outside of St. Louis, where I attended L’Ecole Culinaire. While in culinary school, I had a full-time job at the Renaissance hotel. After a few years, I left the Renaissance and found a job as a sushi assistant, where I was introduced to Korean food. I didn’t know it at the time, but through learning about Korean food culture, I was developing the foundation for my style of cooking today.

It wasn’t until my time at the Four Seasons in St. Louis that I was pushed to my limits and forced to face my fears. It’s the only five star, five diamond hotel in the state of Missouri, and it’s also where I earned respect of my colleagues and started to gain confidence in my food. I applied for a job there four times before I was given a chance. While working there, I learned a lot from a group of chefs I refer to as “the three powerhouses”: Chef Fabrizio Schenardi (an expert in Italian cooking), Chef Marc Kusche (German), and Chef Jean-Pierre Yves Boulot (French). These chefs questioned my cooking, disciplined me for my mistakes, and pushed me to point that I wanted to quit. Importantly, however, they taught me respect for our craft and the ingredients. I was eventually given the chance to experiment with my recipe ideas. It gave me such pride knowing that some of my plating ideas and recipes were good enough to use at the hotel.

Chef Andrew’s plating skills.

In 2012, I was transferred from the Four Seasons to CUT by Wolfgang Puck at the Beverly Wilshire, in Beverly Hills, California. That was another push in my career that I didn’t expect. Firstly, the idea of reservations running 250 to 375 diners, if not more, scared the hell out of me. I could only think to myself, can I do this? What if I fail? The level of professionalism was intimidating in itself. I was running with the big dogs, not to mention Wolfgang Puck himself, who I watched on TV growing up all the time. I didn’t show it, but I was definitely screaming like a little girl at a pop concert inside my head.

After leaving CUT, I ventured into Los Angeles and became exposed to the city’s amazing and unique food culture. I worked at a Thai restaurant in Santa Monica, cooked Italian food at L’Ermitage in Beverly Hills as Chef de Partie, then became Sous Chef at the Luxe Hotel on Rodeo Drive. There, I also picked up hotel management skills and was given the opportunity to learn more than just the food side of operations.

I’m about to start a new and exciting chapter in life with Eat In Chef. Who knows what will happen next?! No matter what, I can’t wait to find out.

What inspired your love for food and cooking?

Food is powerful and healing on all levels. There’s nothing like smelling a tomato that had the chance to ripen on the vine – you can smell that sun-kissed aroma. Or like taking a bite of the perfect berry, and the way it sends chills down your spine. Or the smell that takes you back to a happy memory that makes you teary-eyed and reminds you of home. Its moving! When a chef, no matter what level of skill, talks about food and the world of cooking, they talk about it with great passion and desire. Sometimes it gets us excited to the point that we spend hours talking about it!

A beautiful dish prepared by Chef Andrew.
A beautiful dish prepared by Chef Andrew.
Why is food important to you?

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when I was in 10th grade. For those of you who aren’t aware, it’s an auto-immune defect in my digestive system that causes sickness and stomach pains when I eat food I’m not supposed to. Because of that, food became a very personal thing. As I got older, I had to teach myself how to eat. What will make me sick? What won’t? Where is my food coming from? What chemicals are in this? What is this ridiculous word that no one can pronounce on the back of the package? Crohn’s affects everyone differently. I started to study how food is medicine and how it can heal the body, mind, and spirit.

Also, my mother was recently diagnosed with nerve damage in her legs and feet. She had never taken any medication stronger than aspirin or cold medicine in the past, so her body had difficulty coping with the medication she was given. As a result, I started researching food that helps to treat nerve damage and sent her a 25-page document that contained recipes, juices, food facts, and more. Her doctor actually approved these remedies to help her deal with reactions to the modern medicine. Luckily, they’ve since found medication that her body can tolerate.

Do you have a signature dish? If so, why do you think this dish best represents you?

I’ve been that told my truffle mac-and-cheese is amazing. But more recently I came up with a nutella grilled cheese sandwich, with the nutella made from scratch. Its buttery, sweet, a little tart, and wrong yet so right. Just like me! Haha.

How do you think diners can use Eat In Chef to improve their wellness and overall quality of life?

Simple relief from having to think about dinner or cooking is a huge help. Eat In Chef can help you relax after long day at work, or act as a great host when you have guests over. People are busy and often don’t have time to shop, prep, cook, and clean up. It can lead to a lot of unwanted stress and bad food choices, like fast food. Let an Eat In chef take care of you by means of food.

What’s your favorite food?

Korean food, hands down! Luckily for me, Koreatown is just a few stops away on the train. I’ve spent many hours food shopping, eating, walking its streets, and smelling the Korean BBQ smoke fill the air. I love that LA has this truly special place outside Korea itself.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I can be a little unpredictable at times. Sometimes I just walk out my door and see where I end up! Its fun to me and I like good adventure every now and then. I love reading cookbooks and magazines to inspire new ideas. I try to spend whatever free time I have with friends and my boyfriend. Food is generally on my mind and I’m often shopping for food. I’m a big fan of superhero movies, too – Marvel and X-Men ’til I die! And of course I have some friends who find a way to talk me into cooking them lunch or dinner on the days that I’m off…

Anything else you’d like to add?

Everyday people are becoming more knowledgeable about food. Chefs – whether they work in hotels or restaurants, or work as personal and private chefs – are at the head of this movement. They influence how we eat and grow our food, and how we communicate with the ones who supply it. I’m excited to see how new generations of chefs tackle the food world. What stories will they create? What artistry will they create on a plate? What memories will they put in your head?

UPDATE: A special welcome video from Chef Andrew!

Posted on June 13th, 2016 by Ara Galarza