Specialty Chef Phillip Fisher, of the Gaylord Palms “Moor Restaurant,” is a young chef who is making his mark in the culinary industry, combining knowledge, passion, and vision with a desire to “keep it simple” in a business that is anything but simple!
The son of a successful attorney, Chef Phillip was introduced to many great restaurants at an early age, which laid the groundwork for his love of food. “When we would go to a really nice restaurant, I was amazed at how awesome the food dishes were… at 10 years old, I may not have known what was in a dish, but by tasting it, I ‘understood’ what it was. The flavors and aromas combined into an incredible experience, all created by the Chef.”
By the age of 13, Chef Phillip was cooking at home, discovering ways to combine his new passion with an older one. “I love to fish, and I wanted to catch, clean, and cook it all myself. I was often in the kitchen with my mom, and it was always a fun time, always a learning experience. It all started with Rainbow Trout, and using trial and error to discover how many ways I could prepare it, make it a successful meal… and that started me on my own path of developing fun flavors and techniques, and how to navigate the ‘failure to success’ process, how to get it right.”
Chef Phillip is the first to admit that cooking can be a little redundant, “How many times can you make a certain dish, and in how many different ways? Some dishes are done a million times over, so I like to start with questions of my own. ‘What do people know about this dish, what do they like about it?’ That way I have something to build off of, that is the start of the creative process.” At the same time, he understands that a good chef must resist the urge to “overcomplicate” things, or add too many steps and ingredients. “My mantra is ‘Keep it simple…’ keep it to 3 or 4 main ingredients. I don’t want a long list of components, it becomes, just too much… you need to find the peak, everything peaks, the key to being a great chef is to know when to stop cooking something, let it be what it is… don’t overcomplicate!”
Chef Phillip loves the challenge that comes from balancing the creative passion of preparing the food with the need for properly managing the many needs of running a business. “Preparing a superior dish starts with growing the food, and the it’s the same with the business side, you have to grow your team, and allow them to grow into who they wish to be. Cooking is a business, and the purpose of business is to make money, that’s not a bad thing to say, and the best way to grow a business is to build a team of talented people and then help them grow their passions.”
This same dichotomy, developing a menu and developing a business, are two things that excite Chef Phillip about his position at Gaylord Palms. “We wanted to look at what wasn’t there. The Gaylord and Marriott brands already had successful restaurants, I felt the need to break that mold, to branch out, create something a little different.” Borrowing a philosophy from Steve Jobs, “Don’t steal ideas, but rather build off of established great ideas,” Chef Phillip found his muse in the “farm to fork, sea to table” mindset of bringing the closest and freshest ingredients to your guests. “It seems simple, to find what works and then keep doing it, but it is a challenge to find the ‘best’ of what works, but that is what you have to do to create the best.
If you settle for ‘good’ then you’ll never make it to the ‘best.’ That is the basis of our restaurant. Every ingredient is selected to provide you the best of the local ingredients.” In fact, when dining at “The Moor” at Gaylord Palms, you can expect an incredible meal created from ingredients found from local producers, all within a 100 miles. “We want to be as local as possible, but only the best of the best will do… and that goes for everything about the restaurant, from the ground up. The best furniture, the best silverware and dishes, finding the best wait-staff and kitchen team, making sure everyone is trained to serve our guests the best way possible. It is our goal… as one of our managers puts it, ‘Is good what we’re going for?’ No, we’re going for awesome!”
Put Chef Phillip and his team to the test, just stop by “Moor” at Gaylord Palms, and you will have a good time, enjoying great food, having an awesome night!