Chef Brad Spence
Innovation happens in the kitchen when you allow yourself to cook with your heart. I think this comes with years of working and confidence in your cooking.
Your inspiration: My mom. She passed away when I was 8 years old, but I have a lot of memories cooking with her. In fact, one of the first memorable dishes I made was with her—it was scrambled eggs with chives and I was either four or five years old when I made it.
Career highlight: Working with the person who inspired me to cook Italian food when I was 15 years old, Mario Batali. Cooking for Mario in my young career was a dream come true. I met him at Babbo while staging, and then when he opened Casa Mono, I jumped at the chance to work for him and Chef Andy Nusser. That restaurant may be the most influential restaurant I have worked at in terms of honing my own cooking style.
On eating out: I eat out sometimes, but the truth is, I still like to cook at home. If it’s not home, it’s usually my wife and I at a friend’s spot.
Person you’d love to cook for: If I could cook for anyone, I would love to have cooked for Muhammad Ali.
Best career advice: My dad gave me the best career advice, which was, if you’re working for someone who truly wants to teach you, consider yourself very lucky.
Photos by Bruce Plotkin