Read all parts in this series: Part One | Part Two | Part Four

Our conversation with Chef Deb Paquette continued.

You brought up that you’re part of the Waste Initiative in Nashville. I know that you’re very, very involved in Second Harvest.

Yes, the Waste Initiative is supported by the James Beard Foundation, and we are a test city for what we can do to create solutions in dealing with waste in our community. We have groups and individuals networking to provide education to reduce waste, not only in restaurants, but waste in homes, grocery stores, office buildings. Go to your Google box and read about what you can do to help your community reduce waste.

Part of our responsibility as restaurant people is to work with charities which help people in need. Whether it is food, socks, prosthesis, or a Christmas present, these are people who live in the same cities we work in.

I have been involved for years in helping Second Harvest since I moved to Tennessee. The past eight years, I was part of Taste of the NFL, which was an organization of chefs, one from each NFL city. We would show up at every Super Bowl weekend, and provide food for a huge patrons’ party the night before the Super Bowl. The party had a big admission fee, and proceeds would be shared with the food banks in each chef’s city, as well as all of us raising funds locally. Each year my company gave a dollar of every sale of our cauliflower appetizer as our part in helping Second Harvest. In the past eight years we have donated $100,000. Isn’t that fabulous?!

What is it that makes you that way?

You know how a doctor takes the Hippocratic oath? In this glorious industry we take the hospitality oath. It is not just an oath to yourself, but an oath to the people who support your business. We are leaders, born to give, encourage, love, and support.

Chef Deb Paquette's Katafi

It’s interesting that you bring that up. You know, we are in the hospitality business, we are there to be of service. But I find very few people understand the complexities of putting a plate of food in front of them.

Do you mean the complexities of getting the food from the back door to the table? Yep, it’s the work that makes it all worthwhile. When you spend the day talking to salesmen, checking in food, teaching a line cook their craft, burning a sauce ‘cause you were telling jokes to a customer, or calling your husband to be sure there is beer in the fridge, chopping a hundred pounds of onions, tasting 30 sauces, yelling at your CVap dude, and putting out the best special ever…I don’t want a client to know all that sh*t. Just sink into your food and Zen out! Let us do the work, and you just enjoy.

Why did you buy CVap? What have you learned since you’ve had it? Do you still like it? Would you buy another one?

I learned about CVaps from my friend Ashley Quick. He loves them. I began the research, and now we have one in each restaurant. It was a bit intimidating at first, but then, so am I…hah! The best equipment for short ribs and octopus, and holding fried chicken!

You have to understand that whole humidity thing. My husband used the weather as an example, and then it all clicked (he’s much smarter than me…I am the smart ass!).

I do love that little rain box! As we say in the south, “it cooks stuff up real good like”. I like that I can cook overnight and see beauty in the morning! (My husband also says that about me!) And yes, I would buy another…after COVID-19 season is over!

My pastry chef does not use the CVap much. Maybe we need some more training classes?

Tell her, if she wants to call me up, you know I’ll be happy to help her.

So, Barry, How about a road trip? Isn’t time you planned a trip to Nash Vegas?! Lots of good bourbon going on here! We would love if someone from Winston would come play show and tell, and please bring lots of pictures and samples! I’ll bring the crayons!

I will definitely let you know when I’m coming through town. And I would love to work with any of your folks. And I’ll tell Corey that he’s invited as well. Corey just got married and I don’t think he’s going anywhere for a while, except the bedroom!

We would love to see him! Isn’t there a new CVap on the market? Will it fit in your back seat? I remember when I was a test pilot for the CVap drawer. Did you ever get it to work? ‘Cause we sure didn’t…is it in a graveyard?

I hear you have some competion…Edgar at UG made his own rain box, didn’t he?

He did. The last time I came to see you, I also went to see Edgar. And I was giving him a hard time about it.

He knows how to build anything.

He’s a pretty interesting cat, in and of himself.

Just another wacky dude who loves what he does. He owns a pizza joint now!

Read Part Four: Finding Balance