Betony's Bryce Shuman: "I Don't Want Anything on the Menu I'm Not Thrilled About"
Modern American fine dining cuisine. My inspiration comes from the ingredients based on relationships with local suppliers and growers and artisans. I build relationships with those people, and I want to celebrate them.
Describe how you run your kitchen.
I want to create an environment that is professional, an environment of excellence and education. I really want to teach the cooks how to handle produce, meats, and fish; how to treat ingredients properly; and how to taste. I teach them that we have immediate deadlines as the day goes on (like when we clean, when we have family meal, and when we set up for service) so that they understand the importance of deadlines on the line. I try to foster an environment that cooks feel passionate about working in because they're striving for something greater than what they could do on their own. I love to cook, and I hope that they do, too. That's who I want to surround myself with.
How do you develop your recipes and menu?
Collaboratively with the sous chefs and team. Sometimes recipes come straight from my head, and I say, "This is what I want exactly." Sometimes I want to try some things and play with flavors on a plate. Then it's about going for the vision by cooking and measuring for developing recipes. Then I re-cook and re-measure. I put a dish together six or seven times and eat it, eat it, and eat it. And then I have someone else eat it. I don't want anything on the menu I'm not thrilled about.
Who or what inspires you?
Ingredients. Chefs who are really great with a knife. Beautiful plates of food. Really awesome dance music.
What chefs or food people do you most admire?
Chef Humm. Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski [of Rubicon and State Bird Provisions]. Brett Cooper of Outerlands. Hari [Cameron of A(muse), with whom Shuman briefly worked]. Chris Kostow [of the Restaurant at Meadowwood] is amazing. Jason Franey [of Canlis]. They're also friends that I've made. It's harder for me to be inspired by someone light years away in another country with an awesome cookbook than people that I've met and cooked with. That I've seen these people doing excellent work really ramps me up. It's great to see a beautiful cookbook, but to see people that you've worked for strive and grow and do excellent stuff is inspiring.
Who do you look to for feedback on new dishes?
Eamon Rockey. My sous chef team. The wine director.
What brand of knife do you use and why?
I love my Masamoto steel western-style knives. I've had a chef's knife, slicer, and utility knife since I was in Delaware, and they just seem to get sharper. They've developed a patina, and when you sharpen them, the edges are gleaming mirrors. They're so smooth, and they perform so well.
Flip the page for Shuman's take on an underrated kitchen tool.