Making the transition from Gotham to Second City, our wonderful new culinary arts faculty member, Chef Brendan McDermott, is quickly making himself feel right at home here on campus. We caught up with him in the kitchens to get to know him a little better!
KC: Tell us a little about your professional background?
BM: Although I was in the kitchens during high school, it wasn’t until 2000 and graduating from Peter Kump (now Institute of Culinary Education) that I really embedded myself into professional kitchens around New York City. I spent the following years working at restaurants such as Mesa Grill, Patria, Olives, RM, Alta and Porchetta. During this time, I also freelanced at the French and Canadian Consulates, Food Network, as well as teaching occasionally. Teaching quickly became my focus and developed an Award Winning Knife Skills class, which has been written up in numerous papers (Wall Street Journal, Epoch Times .Time Out New York). I was featured on an episode of Working Class Foodies (a web show that I became a “co-host”) and recently did a knife skills course on Craftsy. In 2009, I started working at The Institute of Culinary Education as the main knife skills instructor and also developed other classes that focused on different cuisines and techniques that I had picked up over the years in New York restaurants.
KC: What brought you to Kendall College?
BM: Kendall is a well-known institution in the culinary world that truly has a strong focus on the growth of their students. I love that Kendall is in the heart of a city with a wonderful eclectic food culture, making it an obvious choice. I was very honored to be chosen to become part of the faculty.
KC: What inspired you to get into the culinary industry?
BM: As a child, I spent much of my time at my grandparent’s house. Both of them were from different parts of Europe and cooked almost every meal. Growing up in New York City, I always had access to many different cuisines, which inspired me to learn many diverse cuisines and styles of cooking.
BM: Whether in a restaurant or in a school, being around people who want to be around food is an amazing feeling. Watching cooks develop their styles and add their creative input to a dish is a creative process that we as chef/chef instructors can learn from as well.