When ICE President Rick Smilow and Anne E. McBride wrote Culinary Careers: How to Get Your Dream Job in Food they discovered a plethora of food jobs they had never heard of before. Since the book’s release, they have been discovering even more interesting career paths in the food world. DICED shares some of them with you in a reoccurring feature, “Unique Culinary Careers.”
Court Street Grocers is a food shop in Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn. The brand new store carries a wide variety of foods, including all kinds of charcuterie, sauces, pastas, cheeses, and so on. You can even find lesser-known sodas like Cheerwine, Nugrape, Bubble Up and Moxie. Andrew Burman is the store’s chef. He works hard on creating their menu of sandwiches and seasonal prepared foods. Being alone in the kitchen is a far cry from the hustle and bustle of a four-star restaurant, but it certainly allows him to stretch his creative wings. Keep reading to learn more about his career path and advice for would-be chefs.
How would you describe your job?
I am a cook, however a little busier than most. I am a freelance teacher, food stylist, personal chef, and many other things. Now the majority of my time is taken at Court Street Grocers where I am the chef.
What has your career path been like?
After I graduated from culinary school in D.C,. I was working in a catering kitchen and as product innovator for an importing company. I wanted to do something a little more challenging so I enrolled at NYU for the food studies program. While in school there I began to work in restaurant kitchens and I began to feel like cooking in a kitchen was what I wanted to do.
What is a typical day like?
Most days involve prepping out prepared goods and sandwiches. The kitchen is open from 8 am to 8 pm, so the days can be long. Plus, I usually prep out a private party once or twice a week or go to another catering job after dinner.
What is the most satisfying thing about your job?
Working at Court Street Grocers is great because the kitchen is open, so I interact with customers every day. Many come in for pointers. They ask me for all kinds of advice — everything from how to roast a chicken to which chocolate they should use for bitters. When people leave and say, “Thank you, that was great,” that’s what I love the most.
What is your advice for anyone looking for a similar career?
Be open to all paths. I volunteered and staged at many restaurant and non-profits around the city and all of them have helped me prepare for my job now. Working with any chef anywhere will benefit any cook — there are always lessons to learn.