Chef Dennis creates dishes under a master's guide

Tue Sep 29, 2009 5:49pm EDT
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - American Joel Dennis has a strong bond with renowned French chef Alain Ducasse.

After working four years for Ducasse, he moved to Chicago to head the kitchens at TRU and Blue Water Grill, two of the city's top restaurants.

In 2008, the 37-year-old returned to New York City as the executive sous chef at Ducasse's Adour at the St. Regis hotel. He was soon promoted to executive chef at the Michelin two-star restaurant that offers contemporary French cuisine.

Dennis, who was born and raised in Rochester, New York, spoke to Reuters about his culinary journey that began at home and has continued with a master chef

Q: How did your mother inspired you to become a chef?

A: "I was a indoor kid, especially in my earlier years. I would hang around the house and belly up to the kitchen counter and do my homework there. I was always watching what she was doing for dinner. I was also the prep guy, cutting onions or garlic and peeling the vegetables. She tried everything."

Q: What is it like working for a master French chef?

A: "As far as culinary learning, working with Alain Ducasse was really far superior. It was better than going to school. It was like starting over again. Now, I'm on the other side of the fence, working more closely with him. It's a professional relationship. We bounce off ideas off each other, have tastings together."   Continued...

<p>Chef Joel Dennis of the U.S. poses in this undated handout picture released September 29, 2009. REUTERS/Evan Sung/Handout</p>