I was born into a family of Armenians who immigrated to Iraq and then to the Midwest. My interest in cooking emerged at a very early age stemming from the time I spent with my mother when she cooked in the kitchen.
In my 20s, I worked as a kitchen manager for Chef Andrew Zimmern at Cafe Un Deux Trois in Minneapolis. I consider Zimmern a mentor who helped foster my love of food. After moving to New York, I began working as a server at top dining destinations such as Marcus Samuelsson’s Aquavit and Red Rooster, and most recently at David Pasternack’s Esca. Even if my job wasn’t in the kitchen, I found a way to learn. Each place I worked, I would learn how to make their style of food and keep getting better and better.
When the pandemic hit, and Esca closed I realized I had an opportunity to do what I wanted to do. Before I went looking for another restaurant to work in, I wanted to take a shot and see if I could do it my way. I thought to myself, "Should I give a go at being a chef?" When will I get another chance?” From that moment I began cooking the food I love for the people I love.