What's it like to cook for a table of fifty? We met with Coby Farrow as he and his team prepared for a private dinner at Pier A in New York City. A former 'Chopped' contestant with his own new venture due out in the fall, we talked life, passion, and a little bit of grooming.
Frederick Benjamin: Give us a quick introduction for our readers.
Coby Farrow: My name is Coby Farrow I'm the Executive Chef and partner at Esther and Carol here in NYC, as well as the Chef Influencer for Extrachef, an app which provides transparency for purchases and costs within the hospitality industry.
FB: Your resume is pretty impressive, with stints at Megu, Soho House, BLT Prime and the Strand Bistro. What’s one career challenge that you faced along the way and how did you overcome it?
CF: It's really the challenge that most people have in this industry, which is a work life balance. As a chef, it requires long hours. As I've progressed I've found that giving time to myself and family has allowed me to be more productive when I am at work.
FB: You jetted off to Hawaii for a bit as a private chef but now that you're back in New York, what's you're favorite thing to do?
CF: I really enjoy having huge dinner parties with friends. You know, good food, good wine, stimulating conversation. It's a great way to incorporate what I do everyday for the folks that I don't get to hang with as often.
FB: With a schedule as busy as yours, how do fit in time for grooming?
CF: I really enjoy going to my barber (Diamond Mike). You know it's a place where you can talk about anything from politics to sports to business while getting cleaned up. I like to go about every 2 weeks. I think every man should have his own barber. At this point I don't even say anything. I just sit in the chair. I find it relaxing, a welcome change of pace versus when I'm on the line cooking or directing.
FB: What’s one piece of advice that you would give to someone starting in your industry?
CF: Learn as much as you can from as many great chefs as possible. And of course travel often and try to work outside of your comfort zone as much as you can. That experience can grow your skill set and appreciation for cooking faster than any one class ever could.
Keep up with Chef Coby on Instagram and stay tuned to our journal for more features.
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