In the Kitchen with Crushed Ice Catering: A Q&A with our Sous Chef, Zach Tackett.
There are many moving parts that make up Crushed Ice Catering. There are the sales girls, the executors, the creative geniuses, the servers, bartenders, the list goes on and on. These are the faces that you see when you attend an event at the Ice House, or one of the many Louisville venues we cater to. What you don’t typically see is the back of house grind. The dishwashers, the Chefs, the lines cooks, the janitors. Without this hidden support system, we would not be as successful as we are. So we decided to take a minute and introduce you to our Sous Chef, Zach Tackett. Zach is one of our main “grinders” – you see him at all hours, in good spirits and ready to rock out in the kitchen.
In an effort for our fans, followers and likers to get to know Zach, we sat down with the talented Sous Chef and picked his brain on the following…Check it out! (And no, we decided not to edit any of his responses – because #1, this is who Zach is and #2, if you’ve ever worked in a kitchen or restaurant, you know the lingo. Excuse the bad language and occasional F bombs. You’ve been forewarned).
Why did you decide to get into the culinary arts?
My first job was washing dishes in a BBQ restaurant over a decade ago. It didn’t take long for me to move up to working the grill and fryer. I really loved the rush so I stuck with the industry until I was going to college, I thought I wanted to be a teacher but after a few years of school I thought to myself, “I teach people how to cook everyday.” I just thought there was a lot more to be said about passing on a useful skill than peddling the college dream to kids who will end up in debt and hating the job that they have to keep just to pay their student loans.
I have love for all types of skilled labor and realize that the world needs plumbers, welders, and carpenters and I believe that kids these days are not being marketed these trades as viable career paths as much as they are careers that need graduate degrees (lawyer, doctor, etc.) Among the skilled trades though cheffing has always stood out to me as the perfect marriage of art, science, and manual labor. Cooking is probably the only thing that could ever hold my attention long enough to actually make a career out of it, it’s basically ritalin for my scatter-brain.
If you had to eat ONE LAST MEAL, what would it be?
1.) Donald Trump, because THAT would make America great again.
2.) Carnitas because that dish has everything I love
3.) maybe I would make “Donald Trump carnitas” because I love irony
What is your favorite spice, and why?
Cumin, few things in this world smell better than fresh ground cumin. Someone should make a cumin cologne. I don’t know if there is much of a market for such a cologne but I would wear the hell out of it. Cologne and bodywash manufacturers if you’re reading this I also wouldn’t mind smelling like cilantro all day.
What advice/recommendations do you have for those people that cook at home?
Very few, if any, recipes are written in a way that they will not allow interpretation. Get out of your comfort zone. Experiment! Cook with loved ones! That way even if you made shit food you still made some good memories!
What food trends do you see emerging in 2017?
If I was a betting man I’d say a focus on historic and region specific dishes is just over the horizon. The last few years the industry has been awash with young chefs pumping out gluten-free-vegan-asian-
Even I often wonder aloud at work, “who was the first guy to see a terrifying toothy ass monkfish and say, ‘fuck it let’s eat him’ “?
I keep threatening to write a collection of funny fictional short stories about cavemen or other historical people making culinary discoveries.
What is your favorite item on Crushed Ice Catering’s menus?
ALL OF THE NEW STUFF! We recently gave the menus an overhaul and put in tons of exciting new stuff. Book an event with us and ask to see me so I can personally point out all of my awesome suggestions! (check it out here)
What are you so over/tired of seeing/making?
Hot browns. There is just so much more to Kentucky than the hot brown.
If you could have one meal with anyone, past or present, who would it be and why?
The dude who discovered fire. I would show him all the things that made possible. Communication might be an issue but I feel like I’ve got a pretty solid “grunt and point” that he might understand.
Who cooks at home, you or Andrea?
I cook on days that I am home early enough. Most weekends I just text her ridiculously specific instructions if she wants to cook something or prepare what I can ahead of time. Now that we are expecting though, I am encouraging her to eat out more when I work late to help develop the baby’s taste buds with minimal effort on her part.
What is ONE item in the kitchen you can’t live without?
The obvious answer is my wusthof chef’s knife, as far as tools go nothing compares.
A better answer in my opinion though is pride, without being proud and confident in the dishes I produce I wouldn’t be as fun to be around or as patient and nurturing toward my crew which is really paramount to the success of any culinary establishment because at the end of the day I can’t be the only one doing the cooking. Very meta/domino effect way of looking at things but also very true.
And that’s all folks. We hope you enjoyed Zach’s Q&A as much as we did, and got a few laughs out of it!