Sunday Inspiration: Lunch with Gabriel of The Selden Standard

Sunday Inspiration: Lunch with Gabriel of The Selden Standard

Welcome to our Sunday Inspiration series where we feature inspirational individuals living out their dreams in the worlds of food and travel.

Join us as we discover the passions, challenges, and motivations that drive these unique creators to quit their 9-5s and embark on their entrepreneurial journeys.

Today we’re speaking with Gabriel, a mixologist and foodie working in Detroit. Gabriel grew up in an Italian-Mexican household and learned the importance of food and community at a young age. Gabriel is bringing his love of people and passion for food and drinks to the popular restaurant in Detroit, The Selden Standard. We spent an afternoon with Gabriel to learn more about his journey within the Food industry. Please see our conversation below.

 

Food Inspiration Travel: How long have you been in the food industry and how did you get your start?

Gabriel: Through family I have always been involved in the food industry. My family was very involved with our cultural Italian banquet center so I remember starting at 12 years old being in the coat check room. Then I worked my way to the dish tank then into the kitchen and from there busing tables and serving. I was there until 18 years old so I learned a lot.

 

Food Inspiration Travel: What does food mean to you now compared to you when you were younger? 

Gabriel: It’s always been very cultural and very personal to me.  I’m half Italian and half Mexican so food has had an important place in my life. My 86 year old grandma always cooked for the family and still cooks for all of us and now my kids too. So when you taste something and it invokes that thought of warmth and family that’s what food means to me. It’s something I try to give guests and convey to people that I am giving them more than just food; I’m trying to give them warmth and that [family] feeling.

Food Inspiration Travel: We definitely felt your warmth and that’s the reason we come back!

 

 

Food Inspiration Travel: What has been your biggest challenge within the industry?

Gabriel: Finding the place where you fit. There are a lot of restaurants and bars, but not every place is right for you. It comes down to the people you want to work with. I try to find places with diversity and places where I can continue learning. I also think about places that are understanding. I have 2 small children and a life outside of here. In my current situation, the owners also have children the same age and so we have a tremendous understanding of what it is like outside of the restaurant.

 

Food Inspiration Travel: What made you come to The Selden Standard?

Gabriel: I made the shift in the last 10 years from managing restaurants and bars to coming back to waiting on tables and being on the floor to broaden my education. Working at the Selden Standard where we are focused on the quality of food as everything is farm-to-table, I am learning a lot. The great thing about working here is that there is a lot of training. You learn something everyday.

I also know a few people here and gained a lot of respect for the Chefs during the interview process. They both wanted to meet me and they really showed that they cared about their people.

 

Food Inspiration Travel: Why is the Detroit food scene so unique?

Gabriel: It goes hand in hand with the renaissance and the revival that’s happening here, which has sped up within the last couple years. My first experience with coming to Detroit and working here was because I was going to art school. I was very in tune with the art scene, which was in 2004…2005. There was a lot less out here and I felt that the art scene was a big catalyst for everything…including the food scene.The heart beat [ of the food scene] really came from the art society.

 

Food Inspiration Travel: Who is your biggest inspiration in Detroit right now?

Gabriel: The first person I worked for who was Paul Fradeneck. He is the Cocktail Manager at the Mable Gray now. We worked at Republic together. He gave me the tools I needed to become a cocktail bartender. He made me respect the profession more and helped me to practice technique. I saw right away how customers respected me more since I was a lot more knowledgeable.

 

Food Inspiration Travel: What is your signature cocktail?

Gabriel:  I like to make the Last Word cocktail. It’s a Prohibition-time cocktail from the Detroit Athletic Club. It’s kind of the reason why every bar has green chartreuse in downtown Detroit. It’s comprised of equal parts gin, green chartreuse, maraschino liqueur and lime juice.

 

Food Inspiration Travel: What’s your advice on immersing yourself in the food scene?

Gabriel: Don’t be afraid! Be open to listening and trying new things. There’s something for everyone and one of the great things to do is going out and searching for it. There are a lot of new restaurants so I like to go to as many places as possible. You’ve got to be open to try everything to fully immerse yourself.

Gabriel’s #FITip: [on quitting your corporate job to get involved in the food industry] I would still tell them not to be afraid to try new things. Also, don’t be afraid to do it yourself. If you see a cocktail being made or a dish in an open kitchen like we have here, talk to that bartender or chef and ask them, ” how do you do that?”

Follow Gabriel on Instagram @gabeedee

Are you exploring your interests within the food industry? Tell us how you are immersing yourself! Leave a comment below!

Travel Wide. Eat Well. Live Your Passion.

Sarah + Monty 

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Sunday Inspiration: Dinner with the Family Behind Taverna Paros

Welcome to our Sunday Inspiration series where we feature inspirational individuals living out their dreams in the worlds of food and travel.
Join us as we discover the passions, challenges, and motivations that drive these unique creators to quit their 9-5s and embark on their entrepreneurial journeys.

 

Today we’re speaking with the family who owns Taverna Paros, a restaurant offering delicious traditional Greek meals on the island of Paros. Taverna Paros is almost like having a meal at this family’s home. They serve their meals family style. After having dinner here almost every night of our stay, we finally got the opportunity to speak to Maria, who is the head cook and mother in the family. She shares her food journey with the help of her daughters, Fotini and Vaggelitsa, who translated for her. Please see our conversation below.

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Food Inspiration Travel: Where did your mom learn to cook? 

Taverna Paros: When my mother got married, she learned to cook from her husband’s grandmother.

Food Inspiration Travel: How did you start your restaurant? Who started it?

Taverna Paros: We first had a restaurant in Athens where we are originally from. We had it up until 1993. Then we moved here to Paros in 1993. This restaurant has been open for over 22 years now. It has always been a family business.

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Food Inspiration Travel: What do you (Maria) love most about cooking?

Taverna Paros: She likes making tasty food. She likes to make sure that the food tastes perfect.

Food Inspiration Travel: What is your (Maria’s) favorite dish to make?

Taverna Paros: Hmm. Pastichio!* It is not currently on the menu as we start to make it during peak season. We will start to make it next week.

*This is a baked pasta dish, which is so good!

Food Inspiration Travel: What advice would you give someone who is interested in becoming a chef?

Taverna Paros: You must love cooking. If you don’t love it, don’t do it. My mother loves to cook. The most important judge of her food is her husband, our father. He will let her know what tastes good and if it doesn’t she will make it again until the taste is just right!

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Moussaka
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Keftedes (Greek meatballs) with Rice and Tomato Sauce

Food Inspiration Travel: Is her husband, your dad, a chef as well?

Taverna Paros: No, but he knows what the perfect taste is as he grew up eating his mother’s food. His mother is who taught our mother!

Food Inspiration Travel: What inspires you (Maria) to continue cooking?

Taverna Paros: The people who love to come here again and again. This motivates our mother to continue cooking.

Food Inspiration Travel: What would you tell someone about Paros (the island) if they have never been?

Taverna Paros: First, the beaches here are the most beautiful of all of the islands in the Cyclades. Second, you must visit the church in the main square. Lastly, our restaurant, Taverna Paros! lol

We hope you enjoyed this interview and hope that it inspires you to continue to do what you love. If you are in the Paros area, check out Taverna Paros!

Travel Wide. Eat Well. Live Your Passion.

Sarah + Monty

Sunday Inspiration: Cooking with Prisca of Ma Cuisine Creole

Welcome to our Sunday Inspiration series where we feature inspirational individuals living out their dreams in the worlds of food and travel.

Join us as we discover the passions, challenges, and motivations that drive these unique creators to quit their 9-5s and embark on their entrepreneurial journeys.

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Today we’re speaking with Prisca, a local chef and entrepreneur from Martinique. She’s the founder of Ma Cuisine Creole, which translates to “My Creole Cuisine”. Ma Cuisine Creole is a multi-service brand which offers: cooking classes, catering, food blogging, a web series on YouTube and recipe development for food companies. She does all of this while raising a family with her partner Jerry.

On a previous trip to Martinique, Food Inspiration Travel was fortunate enough to meet Prisca at one of her cooking classes. She was energetic and passionate about teaching us about Martiniquais food. Her food was so good that it inspired us to come back to Martinique to learn more about her. Please see our conversation below.

Food Inspiration Travel: What were you doing before you became a chef?
Prisca: I went to France to study Marketing and Communications. I didn’t plan to be a chef instead I imagined myself working in an office. I wanted to work in Tourism in France. When I came back from France, I was working in Television Sales. I was selling advertisements. I was bored because I wanted to create something special as an entrepreneur. I went from the idea of working in an office to wanting to become an entrepreneur because my boss in France was a great mentor and entrepreneur to me.

Food Inspiration Travel: Why did you decide to come back to Martinique?
Prisca: I always wanted to come back to do something for my country. The only reason why I went to France was because my parents encouraged me to go and find opportunities to learn and work outside of Martinique. My generation wanted to come back to make Martinique better and not just come back when we are ready to retire. The reason though was for love. Jerry wanted to come back to Martinique after spending 8 years in France with me.

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Food Inspiration Travel: What inspired you to start cooking?
Prisca: When I arrived in France, for the first year I didn’t know anyone. I was really missing my home country, Martinique so I started cooking traditional meals after class. I did this to feel connected. I would call my mother to ask her how to create the meals that she would cook for me at home…I was never interested in cooking before because my parents owned a restaurant in Martinique and I saw how hard it was to manage. I just enjoyed eating what they cooked. I wanted to do anything but that.
Cooking the traditional meals of my home country was how I made friends. Everyone loved my accras; and I soon realized that cooking was an important way for me to share and connect with people as well as my country.

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Food Inspiration Travel: What prompted you to share your love of cooking through your blog, Ma Cuisine Creole?
Prisca: I studied and worked in France for 8 years. During that time I enjoyed reading the French food blogs. When I came back to Martinique I decided to start my own blog because I wanted to share my love of Martiniquais cuisine. It was also a way for me to share the recipes of my home country with my sisters who were at that time studying in France.

Food Inspiration Travel: What made you make the leap to entrepreneurship?
Prisca: In 2009, there was a great strike in Martinique that lasted for one month. A lot of companies fell at that time and many people were fired because there was no business. It was a big crisis. I realized that one day you can have everything and the next day you can lose it all. I was almost 30 years old at that time and didn’t have children yet. I asked myself, “What do you want to do?” The only thing that I really wanted to do was to cook. I began using my blog as a way to post my recipes and work with other companies so that they could use my blog as a channel to advertise their products. We [Prisca and companies she worked with] all had a shared passion for buying and cooking locally, which was not popular at that time because everyone was importing goods.

Food Inspiration Travel: Who are your inspirations in the culinary world?
Prisca: I’m inspired by female chefs from France. Some of them manage their business and family simultaneously. Secondly, the women who sell goods in the markets in Martinique. They wake up really early in the morning to sell their goods while also raising their kids. Next, the farmers are inspiring to me. It is such a hard job to grow produce. They inspired me to create my web series on YouTube, which currently has 2 episodes. I wanted to share their stories and their work. Lastly, the local chefs in Martinique. Within the last 5 years, they have moved towards cooking traditional meals instead of only French cuisine.

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Food Inspiration Travel: What are you cooking at home with your family?
Prisca: We love Dombré. It’s something “rude” because it is nothing compared to classic cuisine that you would find in a restaurant. It is a rustic dish that doesn’t look like much, but it tastes so good! They are small balls made of flour, water, and butter paired with pink beans. You can have it with meat or seafood. It’s really nice and I can’t stop eating them.

Prisca’s #FITip: [on quitting your full-time job to become a chef] In fact, the first thing I would say based on my experience is you shouldn’t be alone in what you are doing. You should find support through your family, friends, or community. For me, Jerry has been my support. At times, you will need their financial support as well as emotional support. Second, be sure you know where you want to go. In hard times, that goal will be your motivation and energy. Lastly, you must work hard. Never think that you are finished. You should always look for the next step and always try to see further.

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Learn more about Prisca here: https://www.macuisinecreole.fr/
Follow Prisca on Instagram @macuisinecreole
Watch the latest episodes of Ma Cuisine Creole here: Youtube

Are you interested in taking a cooking class with Prisca? We would love to hear your feedback. Tell us in the comment section below!

Travel Wide. Eat Well. Live Your Passion.
Sarah + Monty