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748: Evan Hennessey on Finding Comfort in Vulnerability

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Release Date: 09/21/2020

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Chef Hennessey is an award-winning chef and Dover, NH native. He graduated from Le Cordon Bleu at the Atlantic Culinary Academy in 2001. He has had experiences cooking alongside some of the best chef’s in the country including: Chef Charlie Palmer at New York City’sn , Chef Grant Achatz at Trio in Chicago, Andrew Carmellini at Cafe Boulud, Thomas Rice and Ken Oringer at Clio, Eli Kaimeh and Thomas Keller at Per Se. Chef Hennessey has worked as the Executive Chef of 43 Degrees North, and The Duniway Restaurant, as well as Chef de Partie of The One Hundred Club, all in Portsmouth, NH.

Chef Hennessey is trained in classical French techniques and methods and now serves what he calls Progressive New England Cuisine, utilizing locally farmed and foraged foods to create artistically inspired dishes. In the summer of 2020, Hennessey became a 3-time Chopped Champion on Food Network’s nationally acclaimed cooking competition show. In the spring of 2014, Hennessey was named a semi-finalist for the James Beard Awards in the category of Best Chef Northeast. In October of 2013, Chef Hennessey traveled to New York City and won the StarChefs.com VitaMix Challenge, a national competition that included a field of several hundreds of chefs, honed down to 6 six finalists and completed at the International Chefs Congress in Manhattan. Chef Hennessey is also a 2014 StarChefs.com Rising Star Chef Winner for Coastal New England.

Check out Evan Hennessey on the Restaurant Unstoppable Podcast way back on episode 008

Show notes…

Calls to ACTION!!!

Favorite success quote or mantra:

  • "Be humble but be brave and always look forward."
In today's episode with Evan Hennessey we will discuss:
  • Humility
  • Culinary school
  • Fulfilling personal responsibilities while pursuing a career
  • Literally building a restaurant
  • Anarchism in business
  • Learning from the greatest in your region
  • The business side of restaurants
  • Partnerships
  • Partnerships with family
  • Catering
  • Word-of-mouth marketing
  • Tasting menu, reservation-only dining
  • The numbers of opening 3 days-a -week with only 9 seats
  • Fine dining through COVID-19

Today's sponsor:

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Toast - A POS built for restaurants by restaurant people Adapt fast with Toast's cloud-based restaurant POS system that updates to evolve your POS along with changing industry trends and guest expectations. Toast is built exclusively for restaurants of all shapes and sizes, with over 2/3 of our employees having restaurant experience to serve you better. Online Ordering - Let guests easily order directly from your restaurant for pickup or contactless delivery to keep revenue flowing during these uncertain times. Toast Delivery Services Dispatch local drivers through an on-demand network to keep your community fed and revenue coming in.

 

Knowledge bombs

  1. Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?
    • Openness
  2. What is your biggest weakness?
    • Openness
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?
    • What is your favorite restaurant and why?
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?
    • Maintaing the balance of positive work, finance, and family.
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.
    • Failure is fine, I'd rather you ask me questions instead of making mistakes.
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?
    • Connect with the guests.
  7. What's one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?
  8. Name one service you've hired.
  9. What's one piece of technology you've adopted within your restaurant walls and how has it influenced operations?
  10. If you got the news that you'd be leaving this world tomorrow and all memories of you, your work, and your restaurants would be lost with your departure with the exception of 3 pieces of wisdom you could leave behind for the good of humanity, what would they be?
    • Don't be afraid to be brave
    • I want my legacy to be a crater with houses built around it instead of a path with footprints
    • Pay it forward

Contact info:

Instagram: @evanhennessey

Email: evan@stages.dining

Thanks for listening!

Thanks so much for joining today! Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

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Huge thanks to Evan Hennessey for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!

 

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