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Brian Best, Chef at La Dee Da! Catering

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My first Chef pushed me everyday to better myself. Being from the Military, this is what I needed and feel that is the reason I am a Chef today. Chef is only a title but with that comes responsibility and the knowledge to back it up. I learned the basics at Culinary Institute LeNôtre and honed my skills on the job.

Brian Best at his graduationName: Brian C Best
Hometown: St. Charles, MO
Current city: Houston, TX
Course of study: Culinary Arts, Baking and Pastry
Year of graduation:2013, 2014
Personal Motto: Never let anyone get you down

  • Brian, tell us about your story!

Before attending Culinary Institute LeNôtre, I joined the Army in 1994 as a Military Policeman and served in several positions and was deployed to Iraq twice. The leadership skills and disipline I learned in the Army, I have applied in my culinary career.

I was new to the Houston area and wanted to use my GI Bill.  I visited the school grounds and was sold. The small classes and hands-on approach is what I needed, plus it’s French and this is why I chose the Culinary Institute LeNôtre.

Brian with Chef Thomas Keller

While in school I got the opportunity to work with the “World Class Chef Tour” where I met Chef Thomas Keller (cf. picture). This opened my eyes to the techniques of a renowned Chef and I wanted to learn more. After my graduation from culinary arts, I worked for Chef Jean Marc Perochon, Chef & Owner of Hôtellerie Les Brisants & Restaurant in Bretignolles-Sur-Mer, France. I loved what he was doing.  He has the freedom to create and express himself through his food. This is what I wanted! Upon my return to the States, I enrolled in the baking and pastry program at LeNôtre to open my options and excel my career.

I have worked at Pass & Provisions, City Kitchen Catering and St. Regis of Houston hotel. While working in the hotel industry, I started working with La Dee Da! Catering and discovered this is where I want pursue my dream. Over the past two years I have learned the business, good and bad, and have inserted myself as the Chef.

Brian with kitchen staff outside restaurant.

  • What inspired you to become a Chef?

I have always enjoyed cooking and eating since I was a kid. My grandmother use to call me a “cooker” and it stuck. I can’t paint or express myself in a better way than to create new and delicious foods for others to enjoy.

  • How would you describe the impact of your courses at CIL on your daily life?

Brian with his classmates from CIL.

My first Chef pushed me everyday to better myself. Being from the Military, this is what I needed and feel that is the reason I am a Chef today. Chef is only a title but with that comes responsibility and the knowledge to back it up. I learned the basics at Culinary Institute LeNôtre and honed my skills on the job.

  • Any memorable moments as a student?

Working with the “ World Class Chef Tour” and the closeness of the students and Chef instructors.

  • Do you have any projects in mind or in action?

At this time I am working on Asian fusion, specifically Singapore cuisine and incorporating it into La Dee La! Catering.

  • Would you like to share an anecdote or recipe with us?

Brian cleaning a fish in the kitchen.

The struggle is real, there are ups and downs and at some point failure.

There were several times while working at the hotel that I thought I was done. It’s how I responded that made me stand out from others. My little black book saved me again and again.  I was the only person writing everything down but soon I became the “go to” guy in the kitchen when the banquet chef was gone. It’s the little things that will make or break you, so make the little things your mission.

  • Outside if CIL, what do you like to do on your personal time?

Photo of Brian in Paris.

I enjoy creating fusion foods, camping, all sports and spending time with my awesome and supportive partner.

  • Any words of wisdom to students?

Learn the basics here in school and apply them to your work. Always carry a little book with you, write down everything you learn, and apply that in your cooking.

Find what you are good at and not always what you like.