Meet Chef Troy, Executive Sous Chef at Teak
Today we’d like to introduce you to Chef Troy, the Executive Sous Chef here at Teak. His path to becoming Teak’s Sous Chef is not conventional, but it IS very inspiring. Chef Troy learned to appreciate the culinary arts from his mother. Although he loved the craft, he was not always in a culinary role. Although he explored different career paths, he always found himself gravitating towards cooking. Surprisingly, he has no formal culinary training from a school or institution, but rather started working as a prep cook for a chef who eventually became his mentor. Chef Troy soon became a line cook, learned the ins and outs of each station and began to develop an expertise in his craft.
The New St. Pete Pier Under Construction. Photo by 83degrees Media
Eventually, Chef Troy became Sous Chef for two and a half years at Birch & Vine, Teak’s sister property. This experience presented him with the memorable opportunity to open a new restaurant in the new St. Pete Pier, which was under development. Together with Birch & Vine Executive Chef Lee, he helped oversee everything being built, from the kitchen to the menu to the shelves on the walls. We caught Chef Troy on a rare quiet moment to learn more about his career path and what inspires him:
How does your travel inspire you?
Chef Troy: I picked up a lot of things while traveling and living in Europe. In Germany I learned how to make homemade spaetzle, I learned how to make a proper Beef Wellington from my grandmother in England, and how to make pasta in Italy. It’s been a gift to be able to taste the food of those cultures firsthand.
Why do you enjoy being a chef?
Chef Troy: I enjoy being a chef because I like to be challenged. Every day is a challenge. I’m the first person anybody asks to get something done. I have a million obstacles to overcome in a day. It doesn’t matter what the problem is, people always come to the chef. I’m a problem solver by nature and that’s what makes me a better chef, outside of the cooking aspect.
Chef Troy preparing seafood paella
Can you describe your food style in five words?
Comforting and hits the spot.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by my beautiful wife and two daughters. They are why I hit that grind every day, they’re the reason I want to be successful.
What is the most memorable meal you’ve ever enjoyed?
This is an easy one. The most memorable meal I’ve ever enjoyed is at a family dinner in England with cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, twenty or thirty people all gathered together. My grandmother, who’s just recently passed, did all the cooking: beef stew, all the braised meats, potatoes, roasted vegetables, in the old-school way. I haven’t had a meal yet that could top that moment. Ever since then, every Christmas, every Thanksgiving, I try to recreate that meal, that pot roast or that brisket or whatever it may be to take me back to those moments and that meal. Because those were some of the best times of my life.
Who is a chef that you look up to?
There are a few of them. But the top has got to be Gordon Ramsay because obviously, he’s English and I’m English, but he’s just got everything happening from kitchen knives to Master Chef to a show on National Geographic traveling the world and just exploring the foods. I would love to be able to travel to different places, different regions, different countries and just learn the culture. I’m curious about everything: Where does the food come from? How do they grow it? How do they raise the cattle? How do they butcher the meat? I find that very intriguing, and in the future, I’d love to be able to go to different places and just explore..
Comforting Food That Hits The Spot
Today, Chef Troy loves what he does each and every day – not just the cooking; but the challenges he overcomes as a problem-solver. He draws inspiration from his late grandmother’s recipes and experiences traveling as a child in a military family and his own excursions. His travels inspire his culinary craft because he knows the authentic tastes of the cultures he’s visited from personal experience. The next time you visit Teak, we hope you enjoy the authentic flavors and ingredients that Chef Troy and his team prepare. Hope to see you soon!
Seafood Paella photographed by the Negosa Family