Bob Lind, Published January 12 2014
Neighbors: Executive chef has career-appropriate nickname
It’s Chewy. And Chewy is a chef.
He’s the executive chef of the Buffalo City Rotisserie Grill in Jamestown, N.D., the cafe that specializes in bison.
The story of the cafe was published last summer by North Dakota Horizons magazine. It featured Chewy, which led Neighbors to ask him what his real name was and how he got his nickname.
Chewy writes he was born and raised in Jamestown and got the nickname when he was just starting to line-cook.
“It was a big deal, getting a nickname in a kitchen, and it was usually a funny way to describe the cook,” he says. “And yes, it was a nickname from the movie ‘Star Wars;’ at the time, I had a long beard and long curly hair” like the Star Wars character.
He never had chef’s training. But three cheers for his mom; it was with her in her kitchen that he got interested in cooking.
His first kitchen job was as a dishwasher for banquets at the Dakota Inn, Jamestown. Then he became prep cook for two years at Grizzly’s, Jamestown, advancing to line cook, a position he held for five years.
“Then one afternoon I got a call from the Buffalo City Grill,” he says. “I started there right away; I was eager to work under a chef. I followed him and watched everything he did.
“When the chef left, the kitchen was without a chef/manager, so I took that challenge. I managed/cooked for five years, making new and exciting meals and perfecting my art as a chef.
“The last two years I have been the executive chef of the Grill with new owners and management team. Under the guidance of Paul Butenhoff and Jim and Sherry Heyer, I learned a lot of new things and new thinking.
“I now still spend my days at the grill cooking and managing the business full time. But I wouldn’t be able to do it without the love and support of my loving wife, Kari, and my two amazing kids, Kennedy, 10, and Kayde, 5.
“Life,” the chef called Chewy concludes, “is good.”
And so, apparently, is the food, including the bison, Chewy’s kitchen turns out.
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