Restaurants come and go all the time. It's rare, then, that we get the opportunity to talk to a chef who works for a place with some history behind it. Joe Feltmann, of Al Smith's Feasting Fox, is just such a chef. For almost eight years he's lead the kitchen staff at a place that's housed one restaurant or another, off and on, since 1914. Here, Feltmann talks about getting his start and working for this emporium of German food.
How did you decide to become a chef?
My mom was a good cook and I liked to cook with her at home, but it just kind of came about. I had a couple of jobs as a cook here and there - I started out as a dishwasher - and then came here and ended up being in charge.
How did you 'end up' running the kitchen here?
I just came in as a line cook. I was here maybe two weeks and the guy that was supposed to train me quit and I've pretty much been back there by myself ever since.
What's special about German food?
I really couldn't tell you. I don't know what's really special about any kind of food. People eat what they like and if this is what they like, it's fine with me. Cooking is something that comes easy to me and I'm not all that into food.
You're not into food?
It's kind of strange, but I don't go out and eat myself. It's a job to me. If someone was to call me an executive chef and give me another dollar then I'm going to do whatever that takes, too. I like to cook and come up with things on my own. I like to learn and impress people with what I've been able to learn. But, as far as being into food as all I want to do? That's not me.
What do you like about the Feasting Fox?
The owners are good people. As far as the job, every job has its good points and bad points. But the owners, they've been really good to me, so I can't overlook that.
You mentioned that you don't eat out, but you must have eaten here before. What do you like that's on the menu?
I like the Wiener Schnitzel. It's simple and it's tasty.
Check out what it's like inside the kitchen at Al Smith's Feasting Fox.