When it comes to asking Chef Shane who he is, the very first things he mentions are Florida and cooking. “I’ve always lived here in Florida,” says Chef Shane with a beaming smile, and soon begins to talk about how close he is to see, growing up “surfing, swimming, and diving” at the Florida coast. “There’s a huge seafood influence on my life.”
The very next thing on his mind is the restaurant industry, which he has been a part of ever since the age of 14. Much like Florida, Chef Shane loves being a part of the restaurant industry, citing the camaraderie and the professionalism between chefs and restaurateurs as the reason for his joy at being a part of the industry. “At a young age I understood the acceptance – no matter what, if you could cook and you could hold your own in this line, you were accepted. And I thought that was really cool.”
Chef Shane believes that the path he is traveling on is very much his destiny. “I grew up in the industry and I’m very thankful that I am able to do it here, and on this scale in this many restaurants.” And the influence and motivation that propelled him on this path came from his grandmother. Growing up in a house where family meals was not a common occurrence, Chef Shane and his younger brother would await visits to their grandmother’s or visits from her. “She was always cooking….” mentions Chef Shane, discussing how he became acquainted with the great smell of food and its importance from there.
Chef Shane started out in a German restaurant at the age of 14, musing if it was even legal. According to him, the early hands-on experience of how tough the business was, and how hard the chefs worked at preparing the service each night, helped him learn the ropes from an early age. Today Chef Shane is not just the corporate chef of First Watch restaurants, but also the Vice President of Culinary Strategy. His recipes and his ideas are what’s served by First Watch at over 200 locations. Some of the unique tendencies about Chef Shane’s recipes includes a penchant for healthy food, with vegetables being universal and even a fresh juice option being available at many First Watch restaurants.
However, it’s not just restaurants that Chef Shane has to be responsible for. Married with a son and a daughter, Chef Shane says he feels a responsibility to keep his family together with regular family meals, which are actually decide by his wife! “She’s very spoiled,” smiles Chef Shane, discussing how his wife sets the menu and proudly discussing how his children are now taking an increased interest in what their dad makes, while also helping out of late.
An author of a cook book that written as lucidly as possible for the customers to make sense of it, Chef Shane has a unique view on the consummate culinary experience. “It’s not just about, you know, the chef made this. That’s not what the experience is about. It’s about coming here and seeing our servers’ smiling faces and having our managers take care of you and just knowing that you’re gonna get a consistent experience every single time you come.”