Name: Sam Hunt
Title: Head Chef & Instructor at Root, Inc.
Many people use many different paths to get into this industry. Can you tell us a little bit about how you arrived at this point in your career? How did you start?
I switched careers when I was 30 after making the unusual decision to follow passion versus logic. Around this time I found myself more excited about the food I was cooking rather than the design project I was working on at my publishing company. So decided to leave my position as art director to enroll in a short culinary program with the hopes of starting a new career path. Shortly after moving back to Boston I landed a job with Barbara Lynch at No. 9 Park where I spent 2 years learning from the best. From there, I quickly worked my way through the ranks at various restaurants until I became a chef and owner of a restaurant. After moving on from my restaurant, the opportunity at Root became available which really intrigued me as an opportunity to give back.
How do you think this profession will change over the next 5 years?
I just read about another startup tech company out of France that is trying to automate the pizza industry with the use of AI and robotics. I love technology so this is exciting on one hand but nerve-wracking on the other. Where will the balance fall between technology/automation and the culinary ARTS?
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about your job?
Root has really helped me look at the industry in a new way and from a different perspective. Previously, my view was always from the perspective of product quality and customer satisfaction. While these two elements will always be important in hospitality, I now have the ability to turn around, address, and help the next generation of young people thinking about this career path. Because of this, the most important thing that I have learned is understanding. Understanding that we all come from different backgrounds with different expectations and different barriers that slow us or block us from achievement.
“Stay hungry. If you are not eager, excited or driven throughout your days then stop and ask yourself ‘why?’ What’s going on that prevents you from moving forward? Once you can answer that question, then you can look to solve whatever issues there might be. But having a hunger for the day is very important for growth.”
What are the top two things people should know about you?
I have a growing passion for woodworking and the only thing I don’t like to eat is swiss chard
Last time you dined out, what was your favorite dish? OR…Last time you dined out, what did you drink?
I am fortunate to have just come back from France. We went out for only one meal, as my favorite thing to do is hit the local markets in the morning and then cook at night. At this meal I had an amazing summer vegetable vichyssoise with diced duck liver in it. The combination of textures along with the glass of Vouvray was an experience.
Tell me about your proudest professional moment.
My proudest moments are when I bump into old employees and line cooks that worked for me and see how they are doing in their careers. It is rewarding to know that I might have helped them along with their journey.
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