EP. 69 – IN THE BELLY OF RESTAURANT LIFE TODAY WITH CELEBRITY CHEF BRUCE KALMAN
Get ready for some heat and the crazy and amazing food in Viva Las Vegas. In today’s episode of Recipes For Your Best Life, Mareya is interviewing a top chef and restaurant owner Bruce Kalman who’s been passionately making food and living the life of a top-performing chef over decades. Chef Kalman has appeared on Bravo’s Top Chef Season 15 and many others. Barbeque is life and that smokey flavor is a level up for many dishes. Tune in now and let’s get to the belly of the restaurant business with Bruce.
The life of a chef is a tough one, my friends. You must really love the kitchen, and even more, you must love satisfying your guests at all costs. Especially in these unique times where it feels like you’re dodging flying knives, and an occasional hatchet.
My guest this week is celebrity Chef Bruce Kalman, soon-to-be owner of SoulBelly BBQ in Las Vegas. After moving to Las Vegas in February of 2020 to take a position with a restaurant group, he was promptly ‘let go’. But within 4 months, he already had a new direction planned out and now, a new restaurant on the horizon.
I had the pleasure of meeting Bruce working together at the Western Food Service Food Show where I hosted him on the Center Stage. You’ve seen on Bravo’s Top Chef Season 15, Viceland’s Untitled Action Bronson Show, Food Network’s Chopped and Beat Bobby Flay, Esquire Network’s Knife Fight, and Bravo’s Best New Restaurant and national shows like CBS’s The Talk and Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family.
In this episode, Kalman offers his perspective on the restaurant scene today, COVID and navigating our ‘new normal’ as restaurateurs, diners and everyone in-between. He also shares how he has pivoted to thrive, how he’s upped the ante on food safety, why he believes we will never dine or eat the way we ‘used to’ and what restaurant goers should be aware of when they go out to eat. This is an episode you won’t want to miss!
Born and raised in northern New Jersey, Bruce Kalman is a James Beard-nominated chef and co-owner of Knead & Co. Pasta Bar + Market in downtown Los Angeles as well as the chef-founder behind BK Brinery, his artisanal pickle company. He began his career at a local pizzeria in New Jersey, and later attended a small hand’s on culinary program at Hudson County Community College in Jersey City, NJ.
After school, Bruce cooked with Paul Bartolotta at Spiaggia in Chicago and from there headed back to New York for an opportunity to work with David Burke at Park Ave Cafe. From there, Bruce went on to become the executive chef at Okno, Green Dolphin Street and Coco Pazzo. He eventually left the city and took on executive chef stints in Santa Fe (Il Piatto) and Phoenix (Chelsea’s Kitchen) before making a move to Los Angeles to open The Misfit in Santa Monica. At The Misfit, Kalman served farmer’s market-driven fare, with a strong emphasis on Northern Italian and Mediterranean flavors and preparations. He continued this tradition of handcrafted cuisine as executive chef of The Churchill in West Hollywood. From there he became the co-owner and chef of the award-winning Union in Pasadena before opening Knead & Co. Pasta Bar + Market (at Grand Central Market with business partner Marie Petulla in 2016). In addition to running Knead & Co., Chef Bruce has become a chef-partner for California’s Sunkist Growers, helping spotlight the brand’s local and family-owned citrus farms.
In his spare time, Chef Kalman is the frontman in the chef cover band, Foie Grock, with fellow chef Duff Goldman.
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