We caught up with the incredible Chef Gary LaMorte who has recently embarked on a new journey in his career as a chef. He is using his years of experience helping to open restaurants around the country in his new restaurant consulting venture, Honest Hospitality. We talked about what he hopes to accomplish with Honest Hospitality and sustainability in the restaurant industry.
How did you first get your start in the culinary industry?
Personally I’ve always loved the kitchen. Even as a kid, pleasing people with flavors and hospitality was a very natural endeavor. Professionally, I started around 15-years-old at a steakhouse on the border of The Bronx & Yonkers, NY where I grew up.
Tell us about your newest venture, Honest Hospitality.
Honest Hospitality is a consulting company geared at full service restaurants and industry related technologies. Our goal is to drive the industry standards for operational excellence and create better career paths and working environments for chefs. We provide full service evaluations and support from secret shopping to managing opening processes and signature dish creations.
Sustainability has become something of a buzzword – it means different things to different people. What does sustainability mean to you?
I think sustainability is a mentality we need to apply in all aspects of our lives, from professional ethical purchasing to emotional and spiritual maintenance. One of the greatest lessons I have learned is that the most important thing to manage is yourself. It’s too easy to forget that and burn too bright.
How will you be incorporating sustainability / sustainable practices into your work at Honest Hospitality?
We coach mentality management to promote sustainable work relationships and environments. We also always drive our dollars and promotion at companies dedicated to the future of our food supply.
As you seek to take your years of experience in the industry and share your insights to help other restaurants succeed, what’s one of the most fundamental pieces of knowledge that you think restaurateurs need to grasp?
Organization and process management is the key to providing stable work environments and guest satisfaction in an industry that is getting more challenging to staff and manage. Invest in a systems based operation vs. a people based operational plan. If you’re not sure what that means call me.
It must drive you crazy when you see chefs and new restaurant owners making simple and easily avoidable mistakes. Are there any such mistakes that you see a lot?
The biggest mistake a new business can make is not investing in quality leadership and infrastructure to support them. The future of our industry is going to require businesses to do a great deal more to support their management team members and employees.