img_3193-550?v=1

An Inside Look at Some of Greenwich's Restaurants

Billy Kulhanek

Elm Street Oyster House

Founder and Chef

What was the first thing that made you want to be a chef?

I have a background in the film business, I hung lights in live action. I decided I wanted to own a restaurant and had seen the way chefs treated people. So I decided if I was going to own a restaurant I needed to cook. 

Was there ever a time you didn’t want to be a chef?

Eventually it got too physically hard, that’s why I moved to the front of the house. Being a chef is a young mans game, no doubts about it.  

What did you love most about being a chef?

You get a lot of respect being a chef, much more today than you used to. When I started in the restaurant business most of the chefs had records and were pretty wild guys, so today is the complete opposite thing. That was always great, people treated you with a lot of respect.

What’s the most important lesson(s) you’ve learned this year?

What I learned is how many people are so kind. That is how so many regular customers were so concerned about us. When we were closed and I would come here every day to pick up the mail and check on things. People would see me and stop their cars to check, they were just concerned about how everyone here was doing. We had a gofundme site for the staff and people donated a lot of money towards that. Truthfully, it’s how kind the people are.

Describe what makes a great chef in three words.

Great leader.

Favorite dish at your restaurant?

Oyster appetizer, the wasabi tuna, and the paella.

Adrien Blech

Orienta

Chef

What was the first thing you ate that made you want to be a chef?

I think it was all of my mom and grandmother’s cooking because their cooking is just so amazing, but I wouldn’t get it all the time. When my mom would make nice meals it would really set the evening, it was something special. An accumulation of mom and grandmothers meals, for me it was just so much better than going out to restaurants.

What do you love most about being a chef?

It’s amazing how it brings in so many other types of skills into one, when it comes to management and team building skills, even math and accounting when you are running your books and food costs. I love the creation, I love the team work of throwing ideas together and coming up with a final product that you never expected.

What’s the most important lesson(s) you’ve learned this year?

Adapting to the problems and working through and finding solutions, again it’s all about team work. I’m very lucky to be working with family, my parents and wife. Whatever they through at us we are going to figure out a way to keep going and stay positive. Positivity is of major importance, it’s not working your way in 2020. Finding little goals and surpassing them are small things to be congratulated for.  

Describe what makes a great chef in three words.

Leadership, commitment, and passion

Favorite dish at your restaurant?

My two favorite dishes would be the striped bass and the salt and pepper cod. It’s fun because when you start thinking of the dish, as my knife goes down I can remember something that I did 14 years ago on some random day of the year. The striped bass came from that, I took a couple ideas from Le Bernardin and Eric Ripert and mixed them in there. I remembered he made a sauce that he deglazed with de Canton, a ginger liqueur. We are trying to be Vietnamese, put in some ginger and lemongrass and started playing with that, and it all came together.

Albert DeAngelis

Z Hospitality Restaurants

Executive Chef

What was the first made you want to be a chef?

Having good cooking in the family, my mom, grandmother, and father were great cooks.  Growing up we didn’t go out to restaurants a lot because frankly the food better at home.  It was a little different that way and then it interested me more when I started working at restaurant as a dishwasher.  I started seeing the action and presentation, that’s probably what did it.

Was there ever a time you didn’t want to be a chef?

It is a hard life, family life is hard, you are always working. That plays on you, it’s not fun always running late for a party.

What do you love most about being a chef?

Coming in on a daily basis there is gratification. People coming up to me and saying your restaurants are so consistent, so good year after year.  It is hard to make that happen.

What’s the most important lesson(s) you’ve learned this year?

Just to be thankful and grateful, we are so fortunate to be here for so long.  Terra opened in ’91 and Mediterraneo in ’95 our regulars and customers helped with the take out initially, it was nice to see.  I have learned to also work with less and streamline things.

Describe what makes a great chef in three words.

Passion, multitasking, resilience- meaning you have a lot of bad days, take a deep breath and start over.

Favorite dish at your restaurant?

Icelandic codfish with eggplant curry and mango chutney. I like the spice and heat, it’s a little sweet, all your tastes were involved for a well rounded dish.

Related Businesses

Colorado Fruit Designs.

Desserts

Colorado Fruit Designs.

Grand Junction, CO

From all kinds of fruit and brownie treats - many dipped in decorative and decadent chocolate - to ice sculptures and...

Five Central

Burgers

Five Central

Houston, TX

Five Central is a locally-owned and operated entertainment venue in the heart of the Upper Kirby District. You get to...

See More

Related Articles

See More