"I'm not letting go of my standards, but I'm letting go of trying to control and micromanage everything," says chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author Marco Canora on this week's episode of Special Sauce. Canora is the James Beard Award–winning chef–owner of Hearth and Fifty Paces in Manhattan, as well as the author of Salt to Taste, a cookbook fellow chefs praise for its adaptation of Canora's professional skills for a home kitchen. We spent our hour together talking about all of those accomplishments, as well as the pressures attached to them: "As hard as it's been in New York City trying to run a restaurant—Jesus Christ—I still very much love it."
I consider Canora a perfect example of a successful working chef. His genuine energy and consistent passion are clear whenever I hear him speak about the food he loves eating and cooking: "People talk about catching the bug, and I caught it, man." When it comes to how he transfers that enthusiasm to his staff, you'll hear about how he appreciates employees who are passionate but not petrified—even if that wasn't always the case. Canora admits that he spent many years running tight ships all over New York's dining scene, red in the face and "maniacal." But he's spent some time reflecting on how to stay successful and sane these days. "Over the last four or five years, the definition of work has changed for me," he says.
This week, Canora discusses what he thinks restaurateurs and diners misunderstand about the service industry. You'll learn about how he deals with those issues, his guilty pleasures, and why sometimes it's good to have someone remind you to just calm down.