Chef Joe Fish is a graduate of the CIA (that’s The Culinary Institute of America) in Hyde Park, NY. During his studies he had an externship at at the world famous Savoy Hotel in London, where he was on a brigade of chefs who had the great honor of preparing breakfast and lunch for the Royal Family including the late Princess Diana. He then traveled the world participating in Guest Chef work in Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin and Munich before returning to NY. He has worked in venues ranging from 4 Star New York Times rated restaurants, Zagat rated historic hotels to Corporate Dining facilities including time spent at the World Trade Center.
Chef Fish was recruited to come to Dayton back in 2007 to take over as Executive Chef when Pacchia went through one of its transformations. Just as Joe, his wife Tonia and daughter were settling into a house in the Oregon District, Owner Glen Brailey sold the business and his position was eliminated. Until recently Chef Fish commuted to Columbus for work at Whole Foods, but Chef recently accepted a position as Head Production Chef at UD. But being a man who likes to stay busy, he’s also opened The Chef Case at the 2nd Street Market. The Chef Case focuses on Local, Organic, Free Range, Hormone free products, focusing on sustainable food service solutions including actively recycling and composting. Oh and did we mention, Chef also does private catering, teaches cooking classes and advocates for locavores.
In between both jobs Chef Joe managed to squeeze in time to answer our 10 questions:
What is your favorite ingredient to cook with?
Right now I am really a fan of quinoa. Quinoa is a grain alternative that is actually in the grass family. My Wife was diagnosed with Celiac last year so I have been experimenting with a lot of wheat alternatives. Quinoa is considered a superfood, it has very high protein content and it’s easy to digest, it also has lots of important nutrients.
What ingredient do you dread?
Fresh Horseradish Root, it’s a root like yucca, it has to be peeled and grated. The fumes that come off one horseradish stick will make you cry, it feels like you have rubbed jalapeño juice in your eyes or just diced 100 pounds of onions.
What’s your favorite dish to make?
In the fall I really look forward to making my Eggplant Napoleon. It’s a dish that I came up with at while at Pacchia. It has two ingredients that most people don’t think of putting together but the unique smoky flavor that results is a big favorite of mine.
What’s your favorite pig out food?
Well, it comes delivered in a box, it has very little mess, you can keep the leftovers in that same box. Even when it is bad it is still pretty good… a Chef’s dream, a great meal with no cleanup –it is a well know fact that I love pizza.
What restaurant, other than your own do you like to dine at in the Miami Valley?
If I have a babysitter, then it would have to be Rue Dumaine, I really love what Anne is doing. If I don’t have a sitter then it’s a tossup between Amar India and Thai 9.
What’s your best advice for home chefs? Educate yourself about our agriculture in the states; learn about GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and hormones, big agro, the new pesticides, and about the benefits of eating a local diet. Learn what is in season in the Miami Valley and how to handle those ingredients. All produce that is not local and/or not in season is treated with a gas which changes the molecular make up of that food, and not in a good way!
If you could invite any 4 guests to a dinner party who would they be and why?
1) My Late Father, 2) Augustus Escoffier because he was the father of modern cuisine, 3) Marco Pierre White because I would love another chance to convince him to hire me! 4) Marty Holzberg, Certified Master Chef -a great friend in culinary adventures, cooking for a Master Chef is a whole different ball of wax.
Who do you look up to in the industry and why? I look up to almost all the people at my imaginary dinner party above because they are culinary rock stars but beyond that I guess, I really look up to Ferran Adrià and dream of getting that reservation and taking my Wife back to Spain where she grew up.
What do you do in the Miami Valley on a day off?
At present I work 7 days a week, 5 days at UD and 2 days at The Chef Case the 2nd Street Market so, I don’t have a day off right now. When I do have a day off honestly the first order of business is sleep. But a big part of the reason that we moved back to Dayton and stay here is because of all there is to do, festivals, kids activities, parks and some great shows.
Share a kitchen disaster, lucky break or other interesting story.
While working at the Savoy Hotel in London a salad was called over the loud speaker in French with something at the end I did not understand, not being fluent in French. “Oeuf de Caille en salade garble garble”, quail egg salad, difficult because it has a sunny side up quail egg and a whole cooked quail on top. I made the salad and sent it out. Not a minute later the Sous Chef came back screaming my name. She said –insert heavy British accent- “Joe Look On This!” Hurriedly I turned to the pass and Ellen yelled “What’s wrong with this? Me-blank “um I duno, it is a quail salad” Ellen: “it’s a quail salad, but it’s for Paul McCartney and he’s a %$^&@#$ vegetarian! -Plate flies at my head… “Now do it over in half the time!”