Interview With Doreen DeMarco, New Sous Chef/Heir Apparent At American Sardine Bar

After being a prep cook at Resurrection, you were learning more about how the prepped ingredients were being used.

Yeah.

What was the extent of what you were doing at Resurrection? I know prep cooks will do different things.

It depends on where you work in regard to what a prep cook does. Some do nothing. Some do everything.

At Resurrection, I was doing a lot. I was doing most of the proteins.

Prepping the proteins. Searing and brazing….

I did the fried chicken there. That’s super famous. Pretty much anything that needs to be done in the morning, I was doing.

Parcooking the fried chicken…

A lot of pickling.

Back to Rogue’s Gallery. How long were you a line cook before that guy left?

Maybe like seven months.

So how did that stint as a line cook add to the education you got at Resurrection?

I guess, in a sense, I had come from some place really nice. Resurrection’s food was all really thought through in terms of prep and finishing at service. I had that kind of knowledge whereas the two guys who had been there for six years, their last jobs were at Applebee’s and Chili’s.

Baby back ribs.

Yeah, barbecue sauce. [laughs]

They came from where stuff got sent in in bags, so I guess going into the line cook position, coming from Resurrection gave me an advantage of knowing more and having the skills and mindset to be like hey, this could use acid or that could use more salt, having a more developed palate for different flavors.

Even though you weren’t on a finishing station, you still got to see the entire process at Resurrection.

Yeah, the way everything was being finished and how it was going out.

Were you pretty confident when you took over as chef at Rogue’s Gallery?

At first, not really because as with any place where someone works like seven years and someone comes in and in six months gets this job, they’re gonna be pissed about it.

The 40 year-old guys?

Oh, yeah. They weren’t too happy. They liked me, but they weren’t too happy because I just started.

And possibly, why’s SHE taking over?!

Yeah, kind of. One guys, he was pretty decent. He was a good cook. He could have been doing more than what he was doing, but he was lazy. That’s the best way to put it. When you’re comfortable in a spot, you’ve been there so long—no matter what industry you work in, if you’ve been there for so long, you tend to get lazy on certain things.

How long were you the chef at Rogue’s Gallery?

I left there to go to MasterChef, so I was only there for 6 months after becoming chef.

Gordon Ramsay, nice guy?

Ehhhhh….not really. I mean, he’s not an asshole like he is on tv. That I can say.

And you didn’t last long on the show.

The first week. There was a hundred of us there. They get it down to 25. Basically, it was a trick. They were like, you’re gonna go take this food safety class. We get there and they say, ok, you’re in a kitchen, you’re gonna cook. You have 30 minutes, go. We were being filmed the whole time. It was nerve wracking, honestly. I hate it when people watch me, which is weird because [Little] Nonna’s has an open kitchen. It sucks, someone constantly staring at you is hard to get used to.

When were you at Little Nonna’s?

That’s where I worked when I came back [from MasterChef].

How long were you there?

I was there a little over a year. I left there when I went to South Bowl.
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