FAST COMPANY: What advice do you wish you had when you were starting out?
CLIFF CROOKS: The one piece of advice would be that you cannot manage two people the exact same way. In a kitchen especially, you're dealing with a lot of different personalities, so person A might be really relaxed and person B might be a little high strung. It's all about knowing your cooks and your employees to manage them more effectively.
What advice do you wish you had when you were starting out?
Throughout his culinary journey, Chef Cliff Crooks has continuously grown his cooking skills and style by apprenticing with some of the restaurant industry’s finest chefs on both the East and West coasts. Crooks, who polished his culinary talents in some of New York City’s most popular establishments, including Blue Water Grill and Gramercy Tavern, joined BLT Steak as Executive Chef in August 2010. Committed to incorporating his love for vegetables into salads, side dishes and weekly blackboard specials, Crooks creates dishes that highlight his extensive knowledge of fresh local produce, while maintaining the quality and standards that guests have come to expect from BLT Steak. After almost two years leading the kitchen at ESquared’s flagship restaurant, Chef Cliff Crooks was named Corporate Executive Chef — inspiring culinary growth across the family of restaurants.