Rep Prep from Eaton Marketing is an informative series that gives you access to one of our foodservice equipment experts. In this edition, spend 10 minutes with Chef Rick Pawlak, and find out why Eaton Marketing has brought on a new corporate chef.
What is your culinary background? What is your favorite type of cuisine to cook?
I graduated from the Art Institute of Atlanta with an associates degree in Culinary Arts. Upon graduation, I worked for the Ritz Carlton Buckhead in Atlanta, Georgia. I worked in both the 4-Star and 5-Star restaurants. After three years, I moved to Charleston, South Carolina and went to work at the Sanctuary Hotel on Kiawah Island. It was a newly opened boutique hotel, and I was a Chef d’ Cuisine, and then I was promoted to Garde Manger Chef/ Banquet Chef.
After two years of banquets, I was looking to grow my knowledge and went to work at the Fat Hen on Johns Island, South Carolina. I was hired on as a line cook and then promoted to Sous Chef and then Chef d’ Cuisine. We were a complete farm-to-table restaurant. All of our items were done in house, as well as our charcuterie program that we started while I was there.
In 2011, my wife and I decided to move to Palm Harbor to be closer to family. I obtained a job at Positanos Restaurant in Palm Harbor as the Chef d’ Cuisine until deciding to take a step in a different direction and went to work for Whole Foods, where I led the Specialty Team. Realizing I truly missed the kitchen, I jumped at the opportunity to come work for Eaton Marketing as the Corporate Chef.
My favorite type of food to cook is French as well as Southern.
How long have you been in Florida? How has the culinary scene changed over those years?
My family and I have been in Florida for seven years. The culinary scene has changed immensely in the Tampa area over the past seven years. We are starting to see the trends move to a more locally sourced farm-to-table dynamic in the area.
What's your favorite restaurant? What do you order there?
My favorite restaurant in the area is Elevage in South Tampa. I usually keep it simple and go with the classics like a terrine, foie gras or charcuterie. They remind me of the days when I was first getting started in the kitchen.
Outside of the area is The Georgian Room at the Cloister Hotel. I immediately order the Chef’s tasting menu. Last time we were there we did 16 courses.
Where do you see the world of foodservice heading in the future?
I see the food service industry going in two different directions. Fast casual is going in a more automated direction to deliver a more consistent product at a faster rate.
The other direction I see the industry going in, which it is already headed in, is a back to basic’s approach to food. Using classic techniques, but with the use of modern technology.
Anything else we should know?
Another bit of information is that I am married to a pastry chef named Lindsey. She is an R and D Chef for a paleo pastry company. I also have two children that are eight and 11.
Get to know Chef Rick in a personal, one-on-one consultation. If you're looking for a specific solution or are trying to achieve a particular objective, schedule some time with him by clicking on the image below.