You may remember seeing him dominate on Food Network’s hit show, Chopped! Chef Sammy Davis is an award-winning chef and hardworking business owner at the same time. In this exclusive interview with Sheen Magazine, Chef Sammy Davis discusses his beloved restaurant, Milk & Honey, opening his new restaurant, Catch 22, and the misconceptions of being a chef!
Tell us about yourself. When did your love for food begin?
Well, my name is Chef Sammy Davis and I’m 43-years-old. I’ve been cooking for about 22 years now, which is what my latest restaurant is called Chef 22. I guess my love for food started when I was a young boy. Growing up, we really didn’t have any food.
Do you mind sharing your experience on Food Network’s hit show, Chopped?
Doing Food Network’s show, Chopped was really hard. It was frustrating, it was hot as hell (laughs), I think the first time I did the show I got cheated. I came back and won on a redemption episode of the show. It was exciting cooking with ingredients you had no idea about and combining stuff that really just doesn’t go together. It was fun but it was definitely stressful.
What inspired you to create Milk & Honey?
Milk and Honey came as a lack of great breakfast restaurants. I just love breakfast, I love eggs. I think eggs are the best things in the world. At the time, 10 years ago when I created it, there weren’t any great breakfast restaurants. It was all just mediocre; I wanted to create a great breakfast place that people could go eat with friends.
Do you have an all-time favorite meal to prepare or eat?
I’m a shrimp fried rice guy, I just love it. I could eat it every day, all day (laughs).
What do you believe being a chef has taught you about yourself?
I think it raised my self-esteem because you know that you are great at something but in the beginning, you may be doubtful about yourself. As a kid growing up in poverty, I didn’t have much so my self-esteem wasn’t high. When you first create that first magical dish, food becomes the caveat to gain access into places and have people around you. It boosts your self-esteem up a lot.
Is there anything you think people underestimate about chefs?
Yes, the amount of work that comes into everything we make. You have to have a love for this, all day every day. It can take up to 20 years for this to pay off. This is some of the hardest work you will do in your life. Being a chef is an artistry. If a song doesn’t sound good, an artist can go take another chance in the studio. Once that plate hits the table, that’s it. You don’t have a second chance at it. You only get one time to please that customer right then and there. There is a lot at stake with a chef and a lot of pressure on us too.
What can we expect to see from Chef Sammy Davis in the future?
A whole bunch of seafood restaurants! Seafood is my first love. Catch 22 will open in October of this year and you will see stuff that I’ve had for years. Catch 22 is going to be it!
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