Sous-chefs are very busy folks in the restaurant world–no exception for Cameron Pishnery at fire. Cameron is fire’s third in command. Along with executive chef, Doug Katz and chef du cuisine, Ian Thompson, Cameron assists in menu development, management of the kitchen staff, ordering ingredients, expediting plates as they emerge from the kitchen en-route to guests, and of course cooking. In addition, lots of Cameron’s time is spent on sourcing the farm fresh locally grown produce, meats, eggs and cheeses we serve. Saturday mornings you find him at the farmer’s market and nearly every morning Cam is on the phone with our farmers, and purveyors coordinating deliveries, seeking new products or just building stronger ties with the local folks that raise the raw materials for our cuisine. While Cameron prepped a vast quantity of chicken thighs for confit we got the chance to ask him a few questions.
Childhood dream: At 10 or 11 I actually thought I wanted to be a chef but when I graduated from high school I choose a different path. I went to college and got a good liberal arts education-I majored in psychology. Though I didn’t pursue a culinary degree, throughout college I worked in restaurants. Not long after college I finally realized that food was my true passion and my career direction was set. I’ve never looked back.
So you’re actually self taught? As I said, I didn’t go to culinary school but I’ve learned a tremendous amount in each of the restaurants I’ve worked. I lived for a time in Boston so that I could work in some of the city’s top kitchens. It was a fantastic experience. I’ve also logged time in several other high end Cleveland restaurants.
Favorite part of your job: I love coming to work every morning–truly. And I enjoy every aspect of what I do here at fire-from prepping, to service, to working with our purveyors. We have over 30 different farmers, cheese-makers, foragers and bakers providing us with ingredients. I really enjoy getting to know them and understanding the challenges they face in their work.
What inspires you: So may things! I’m inspired by chef’s like Thomas Keller (The French Laundry). I love his almost micro focus on the smallest of details and his devotion to perfection. I’m inspired by Doug’s dedication to simplicity and quality.
What is your greatest challenge at fire: Maintaining a high degree of focus on the hundreds of small details that make a good restaurant a great one, and training our cooks to do the same.
Favorite dish at fire: The pork chop…definitely the pork chop.
Random thoughts: I’m inspired each day to do the same things I’ve done the day before but better…Yesterday was great but tonight I want to do everything better!
Post and photo by Amy VIny