Chef Phillip Kirschen-Clark: Cafe Cluny

My NativeAdVice:

How did you get into the Culinary industry?

I got a job as a dishwasher when I was 18.  A few month later a cook didn't show up for work and I was promoted.  I have been cooking ever since.

What industry trends are you noticing and how do you capitalize on them?

Food is continually lightening.  The newest fad is plant based or vegetable focused dishes.  They aren't necessarily vegetarian but protein is not the focus.  I have had an artichoke dish on the menu for sometime now that fits that mold and is really great.

Life Motto?

Bring joy to others and to myself in the process.

Cafe Cluny's Motto?

Accessible to all.

Your greatest success as Chef of Cafe Cluny? Most difficult moment-how did you overcome and what did you learn?

Promoting an employee who has worked for me for several years into a management role and seeing him grow. Most difficult was Christmas day service this year when I had an employee no call no show and had to go to work.  Don't bother trying to take holidays off.

Your advice to an aspiring restaurateur?

Look for under market real estate.

Describe the ideal experience at Cafe Cluny.

It can be a quick omelet while reading the newspaper at the bar or a 3 course dinner as a fist date.  It's special that it can be whatever you wish to make of it.

Most popular dishes and your favorites?

I like our grilled sea bean salad with strawberries, toasted cashew nuts, and buttermilk ranch.

The most popular is our avocado toast in the morning.  It is served on gluten free whole grain bread with a thin layer of spicy citrus paste, mashed avocado, and a poached egg on top.

How do you motivate your employees?

Teaching them new things.

One food and drink left on earth, what would you choose?

Roasted Turnips with lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt.

Pear Cider by Arron Burr

What literature is on your bed stand?

National Geographic and the Benu cookbook by Cory Lee.

Role model - business and personal?

Thomas Keller

The Dread Pirate Roberts- The Princess Bride

Current passion?

Charcoal grilling.

Favorite travel destination?

San Sebastian Spain.

What's next for Cafe Cluny?

Summer, Prob some peaches.