April’s Employee Spotlight, read on to learn about EVOO’s long-time sous chef Randy Platt.
April’s Employee Spotlight is Randy Platt. We are gearing up to our twentieth anniversary in June so the next few months’ employee spotlights will focus on some of the long-term employees who have helped make this milestone attainable. There is no better place to start than with my right-hand man in the kitchen, Randy Platt. Randy is a great guy, smart, quick witted, hardworking and his dedication to EVOO is second to none.
Randy has been such a big part of EVOO since August 1998 when he walked in one afternoon looking for a job. He was a new student at The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, a career changer; he had been working as a bartender at The Marriott Long Wharf for 11 years. EVOO was on his walk from home to the Harvard Square T Station and caught his eye enough for him to read the menu and apply for a job. Since we had only been open for a couple of months and Randy was a very green culinary student I offered him minimum wage, and he took it.
Randy quickly learned his craft and earned my respect.
I have been very lucky to have him as my friend and confidant in all aspects of EVOO’s kitchen. We are constantly tossing ideas around figuring out what to cook next. Randy works very closely with all of the many farmers we use, calling, emailing and texting many of them at all hours. He keeps the flow of local ingredients progressing through our kitchen.
Randy’s title in our kitchen is sous chef. Those of you who know me, know I really don’t give a shit about titles. You can either do the job or not, and I would rather refer to people by their names not by a title, that they may or may not really deserve. That said, Randy is way more than just the sous chef. I lean heavily on him to take care of just about everything in the kitchen. He does most of the ordering, insures cleanliness, does some repairs and maintenance, hires and sometimes fires staff. Beyond all of the day-to-day BS he deals on my behalf, he sets the bar on being a really good professional cook. He often inspires me to do a better job, to be more detail oriented and to push myself as hard as he pushes himself.
Randy doesn’t limit his hard work and dedication to EVOO.
He recently finished building a chicken coop for his chickens and ducks. Randy often shares the eggs, which are out-of-this-world good. Somehow he has so much time on his hands, he is now talking about remodeling his kitchen.
Randy and his wife Janie will be celebrating their 25th anniversary later this year. They have a nine year old daughter Aurora (Rory) who is rightly the light of their lives, and pretty darn cute too.
Randy doesn’t limit his culinary expertise to EVOO.
Every week after his day/s off I am sure to ask him what he made for dinner, the usual dialog is something like this:
“What did you cook last night?”
“Oh Market Basket had lamb shanks on sale so I bought a couple of them.”
“Oh yeah, how were they?”
“Really good, I braised them, made some roasted potatoes, and they also had some nice looking Mexican asparagus, so, I cooked that too.”
“Cool, what time did you eat?”
“Ah, I think we sat down at about 1:15.” (the time could vary, though it is not often before midnight)
“Why the fuck did you eat so late?”
“Well, by the time I finished cleaning the chicken coop and went to the store It was almost 8, I didn’t start cooking until 9:30.”
“Then why didn’t you just get something to grill quickly?”
“I don’t know, the shanks looked good.”
“Did you have anything to drink with it?”
“A couple of beers and a bit of vodka while the shanks were braising, some wine with dinner and a little bourbon while I cleaned up.”
“What time did you go to bed?”
“I don’t know, maybe about 4:30.”
“Yeah, it’s noon now and I am sure you got up to take Rory to the bus.”
“You you must be tired…”
Q and A, with Steve Kurland
Steve Kurland, EVOO’s General Manager and Business Partner, once again took on the task of chasing down the spotlighted employee and relentlessly badgered them into answering his spotlight questions.
Why and when did you start working at EVOO?
I stumbled across EVOO just after it opened in 1998 while walking to class at culinary school. The posted menu looked interesting, so I applied and Peter gave me a shot.
You have been at EVOO for almost 20 years. Do you have any all-time favorite menu items?
I like almost all of them.
The Randiato (four shots of espresso with steamed milk) is named after you. Please explain:
In the early days the kitchen staff would fuel themselves up with Espresso drinks at the start of dinner service. This was my drink.
What are your interests outside of work?
Music. Cooking. Gardening. Current events. Astronomy. Art. I have many interests, but little time to pursue them. Mostly I spend time with my wife and daughter and try to keep up the house.
Do you have any animals at home?
3 Dogs. 1 Cat. 4 guinea pigs. 1 Fish. 14 chickens. 4 Ducks.
What was your first car?
A 1967 Volkswagon Karman Ghia passed down from my grandfather via my uncle.
You studied music before you became a chef. Which artists are you currently listening to?
Nothing current. This week its King Crimson. Richard Thompson.
EVOO’s twentieth anniversary is coming up in June. What about EVOO makes you excited when you come to work?
After nearly twenty years I still enjoy the food we produce, the old and newer dishes. There is always the opportunity to learn or try something new. EVOO feels like home and I enjoy working with everyone here.
I previously wrote about Randy-
Randy is the employee spotlight this month, though, I had written about him in a blog in January 2013. I purposely didn’t look at what I previously wrote, I didn’t want it to influence what I wrote this time. I just read it and I obviously haven’t changed my opinion on him. Check out this link to it.
Oh yeah, Randy can be a bit goofy at times.
Please feel free to comment some captions for the following photos.