Chef Timothy Keating: Passion Is Number One Ingredient!

The award winning Chef Tim has been cooking for over 45 years. He is from an Irish family of ten, he grew up right outside of New York City, and spent his summers on the Jersey Shore where his love of cooking developed. His family is still very close and have moved to the Central Florida area, and spend their holidays together.

Chef Tim attributes his culinary success to deep passion and love for cooking that he developed in a very early age: “Passion for cooking is in my heart and that is number one ingredient.” He developed his culinary skills while working in several restaurants and hotels in California, working with “some of the best chefs in the world” in “a very very intense French environment,” it was tough and rough. He “became executive sous-chef which is one of the first Americans do so”.

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After incredible experiences at the several luxurious five-star, five-diamonds resorts, nine years at Disney’s Flying Fish Cafe, chef Tim saw an opportunity to get back to the local community with a new venture, as he is “very much of a local guy whether it’s local products farms, ranches, fishermen,” spending time with “the local chefs in the area and that’s when I was introduced to Urbain 40 family.”

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Chef Tim believes that in order to be a good leader, a chef needs to provide an example and be a great role model, taking their lifetime of experience and travels around the world into account. He puts his team first and strives to teach them what he knows, and is grateful to them for being a team that could keep up the kitchen while he travels. To Chef Tim this is especially rewarding when somebody says “I had the best meal of my life,” but I know that I wasn’t there last night, I was off yesterday with my family, those are the best days because then you know your team is the best.”

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When asked about most memorable moment, he remembered hearing his name at the the James Beard Awards. Chef Tim always considered cooking as an art, and In 2002, when cooking was recognized as an art for the first time at the Olympics, he was honored to be one of their James Beard chefs. Also a special dinner for about five hundred people with six different chefs from all over the country, Paul Bocuse gave him his jacket “and I know how he signed it for me afterwards, and have it hanging on the wall so I mean those are accomplishments… those are the rewards you could get a raise you can get an award but the real success is what you do every day.”

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When asked about the theme for his current restaurant, he said that “I have this strange feeling that I although I was born in the late ’50s I was living in the ’40s, I was one of those people that came back to life you know… so the feeling of this restaurant, if you think about New York or LA or any other places in the 40s there is a feeling that goes to it… that rat pack and the music is amazing… they have a band going almost every night… that side of the dining room has that” retro 40s feeling.

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Chef Tim now has a very local focus; “in Florida I’m always looking to get things out of the water, off the ranch out of the farm onto the plate as quickly as possible… I can buy things from all over the world but I’d rather really support the local people here… what is American cuisine is one big melting pot full of different ethnicity from all over the world.”

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Produced by: Irina Pabis
Photo/Video by: Richard Pabis
Written by: Katrina Belle

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