10 Questions: Ryan Carbery

The sous chef for David Gilbert's new venture, Lazare, has a cooking history extending back four generations.

How's that? Well, Carbery's family owns nine restaurants in the St. Louis area, his uncle is a chef in Beverly Hills--he essentially grew up in professional kitchens, hauling boxes at his father's place before reaching his tenth birthday and starting as a prep cook at the age of 15.

He's cooked in St. Louis, Chicago and Los Angeles. Chef Gilbert asked him to come to Dallas to help open the new West Village establishment.

Carbery loves cooking and baseball. Just don't turn on a Cubs game when he's around...

1. Fourth generation cook? Didn't you learn that you should avoid this life?
Man, you sound like my mother. It's in my blood. Wearing a suit and tie just wasn't for me. As a chef, you create something from scratch and someone enjoys it--it's very satisfying.

2. What is a sous chef?
To me, it means making sure the production in the kitchen gets done, that everyone shows up on time, all the prep work and consistency. It's the underchef.

3. Is it difficult to adapt to the executive chef's style?
It's a double-edged sword, answering that question. Chefs are strong personalities. They have to be to get to that level. Sous chefs are strong personalities. But you came to work for this guy. We're not equals. I came to work for David Gilbert and I came because I respect him. So it's all about the food and doing your job well.

4. After those 100 hour weeks mount up, ever think 'why not ditch this and manage a Blockbuster?'
No, never. I don't care if I work seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Every day I wake up and smile because I'm doing what I love.

5. What do you think of Dallas so far?
Dallas has a sophisticated palate and the diners are getting into 'where is my food coming from' and 'did you make this or buy it from Sysco.' It's great to see the chefs here respond to that.

6. Is there a position on the line you hate to work?
No. I'm telling you, I love it all. The patnry is the hardest space--all speed and efficiency. It trains you. But I work every station in the kitchen. It reminds me of when I was 15-16-17, in the weeds trying to figure it all out.

7. OK--Dinner at El Bulli or a ticket to see the Cardinals in the series?
Oh, that sucks. Why would you do that to me? El Bulli, but it's a very tough choice. The Cards are going back to the series, so that makes it easier.

8. You worked in Chicago. Could you reconcile yourself to Cubs games?
I lived in Wrigleyville my last year there and I went to 26 games. I don't like the Cubs, but I love Wrigley. There's just something about sitting at Wrigley with an Old Style, watching the number one losers in Major League Baseball.

9. What makes St. Louis such a great baseball town?
The fans, the people. They're not fair weather fans. They are always there.

10. Looking forward to a Rangers game?
I don't know how to answer that without pissing off Texas. I'm looking forward to seeing another ballpark and watching Josh Hamilton. That guy is an animal. But I'm a National League fan.

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