By Taryn Sauer
Chef Robert Sarstedt, Corporate Executive Chef to the House of Blues, brings a whole life of cooking to the kitchen. With 12 years of BOH experience and a nationwide list of restaurants under his belt, Chef Robert is a non-traditional powerhouse when it comes to management style.
OVERSEEING TEN RESTAURANTS, WITH TEN EXECUTIVE CHEFS AND 250 FOH AND BOH
EMPLOYEES CAN BE TOUGH. Top that with the HOB’s special events, including concerts and
food-driven shows, and you’ve got more than a full plate. But Chef Robert revels in turning what could be chaos into a fine-tuned machine. He says he enjoys the fluid movement of a fast-paced environment and that’s what led him to work for big-chain restaurants like House of Blues and, formerly, The Cheesecake Factory.
Chef Robert says his cooking style is current, resourceful and creative. He takes kitchen-style influence from Chef Lee Hefter, whose food quality and standards are far better than Chef Robert says he’s ever seen. But his management style differs from the Wolfgang Puck giant, who’s been said to put the fear of God in those around him.
Chef’s love of being in the trenches has allowed him to develop a keen eye for day-to-day
operations; often balancing compassion with a firm and consistent management style. He says his greatest achievement (other than getting his first Executive Chef’s coat with his name on it) is when he’s able to transfer his vision and knowledge to his staff and make an impact on their culinary experience.
“I’m a line cook at heart,” says Chef Robert. Chef got his start as a food runner at Home
Restaurant in San Francisco and, after he graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Las Vegas,
quickly moved up the ranks. But he hasn’t forgotten where he started: baking brownies with his mom in their kitchen and falling in love with cooking.
And while no longer solely in the kitchen, he still finds time to cook with his family every
Sunday. His wife, Stephanie, whom he met when he was Executive Chef at South Restaurant in Philadelphia, and their daughter, Brooklyn gather around his table to enjoy a home-cooked meal straight from the grill. And as fate would have it, one of Chef Robert’s
culinary heroes is his father-in-law, Chef Guy Calluaud—a Texan Restaurateur and Chef with over 40 years of experience.
“He deserves all of the credit in the world,” Chef Robert says.
They are very close and cook side by side every week for Sunday supper. Chef Robert lives in L.A. and when he’s not traveling, you can find him building puzzles and Legos with his daughter.
FROM THE CHEF’S MOUTH
KITCHEN GADGET OR TOOL Peeler
KITCHEN APPLIANCE Broiler
COOKWARE Dutch Oven
CONDIMENT/SPICE Togarashi spice
OC RESTAURANT The Oyster Bar SKC
DISH TO EAT Grilled Lamb Chops
RAW INGREDIENT Sweet Pepper
SIGNATURE OR FAVORITE DISH TO MAKE Grilled 3 Cheese Sandwich And Tomato Soup
3 WORDS BEST DESCRIBE YOUR CULINARY STYLE Current, Resourceful, Creative
3 WORDS BEST DESCRIBE YOUR MANAGEMENT STYLE Consistent, Firm, Productive
DESCRIBE YOUR LAST SUPPER OR RETIREMENT DINNER Foie Gras Loco Moco, Quail Egg, Spam, Hamburger with an Ice Cold Shiner Bock
BIGGEST MYTH ABOUT WORKING IN THE KITCHEN Chefs yelling all the time they’re in the kitchen is not true, only some of the time
ADVICE YOU GIVE TO STUDENTS INTERESTED IN THE HOSPITALITY AND CULINARY INDUSTRY Showing up is half the battle; don’t give up.
CHEF ROBERT SARSTEDT
HOUSE OF BLUES
400 W. Disney Way Anaheim,
www. house of blues.com
February 28, 2017