“Everything should have meaning. If you don’t cook from the heart then you don’t cook.”
Q: What got you into cooking?
A: I got into a coffee shop a long time ago. I was 19 years old, I got hired into this place called Java City. There was this guy who would sit back everyday and he looked like a cool dude. His name was David and it turns out he was one of the creative minds behind the recipes of CPK and the creative baker of the coffee company. I had no clue, he would just write in his notebook and test things but one day after work, towards the end of my shift I would start navigating. I finally chatted him and found out. He said to me one day you can create whatever you. I’m not even a coffee drinker but I started messing around up front and creating new drinks for the menu and that’s how realistically I fell in love it. […]
My dad one day came to me and said there’s this pizza shop selling, what do you think if we did something kosher. I said are you kidding me? I’d love to. I was thinking back to the days of the coffee shop and how fun that job was. It was essentially creating things, cooking things and exhilarated from the hospitality of it.
Q: How would you describe Cork Dork’s Origins?
A: I wanted to open a restaurant more casual and [Dan, his business partner] wanted to open a wine bar. Every day I would take a break by the trash area and this place was literally thought up in the trash area. It’s weird most offices have a water cooler but that area was like my water cooler. Fast forward, he said hey I have this space that popped up and I didn’t think anything of it. I got here and looking at it, I could see it. [Dan] looked at me and said look, I have drink I don’t have food, you have food you don’t have drink so why don’t we just merge. So this was born. This originally started as Cork Dork Wine Bar but as we grew the emphasis was more for our food. So then we took off the wine bar because it was now a restaurant.
Q: What do you think sets Cork Dork apart?
A: I’m still learning. I don’t want to stop learning, everyday we come, we’re always working on something different. Like today if you saw my invoice from Omer [Premier Meat Company CEO], you’ll see I ordered 6 or 3 of something because we just want to play. Right now we’re finding something our guests love and figuring out how to navigate that by giving them new things that they’d be open to trying.
Q: Can you talk about your process for creating your menu?
A: I listen, honestly I do a lot of table touching here. Even when I’m on my day off I’m here. I love building the culture here and then the food evolves. A lot of times to me food is memories. When I come out to tables, they ask me what made you do this dish and I say nothing made me do this. Memories of happy times and paying homage to my roots sprout my dishes. It’s essentially a gratitude menu.
Q: So does your menu change very frequently?
A: Everyday we change at least one item. Changing things everyday tends to weigh on you sometimes because there’s expectations to be changing things all the time but I want to keep [my team] interested. I want [my team] to get really good at doing what they’re doing so when they finally get to the pinnacle of that plate then we change it! I think everything we do and everything I’ve learned, the repetition is what ingrains it in you.
Q: How long have you been with Premier Meat Company?
A: It’s funny prior to [Cork Dork], the last time I did business with Premier was the first restaurant I worked at. I called when we were opening [Cork Dork] and I was using a different company but they had issues with delivering. They weren’t able to get everything all the time and I’m one of those guys that would rather order everyday because I always want fresh product. I called [Premier Meat Company] and they said Omer [Premier Meat Company CEO] will get back to me. I started putting my orders in and I would get emails from the CEO and we got on the phone and I just thought it was awesome.
Q: How is your partnership with Premier Meat Company?
A: Everything here we try to reduce, I would love to have zero footprint. We’re moving in the right direction. That’s why I have a good relationship with Omer [Premier Meat Company CEO], he teaches me a lot about what he has, how it gets there. I just got to come down and do a tour of the facility and see how the entire facility runs, how clean it is, the dry aging room. I could live in [the dry aging room]. I grew up in the kosher world. My Family is orthodox, I was orthodox. So a lot of this stuff is new to me now. Going to a dry aging room for me was cool because in Kosher world, we don’t have that. It doesn’t exist.