By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator
Phillip Kizer (on the left in the photo) has an opportunity many would covet: he’s working at
a(MUSE.), one of the Delaware resort’s most highly-acclaimed restaurants.
Phillip, 22, of Dover, is a recent graduate of the Food Bank of Delaware’s Culinary School in Milford’s second class.
On the day of our visit to the Baltimore Avenue restaurant in Rehoboth Beach, Chef Hari Cameron prepared the staff meal with an Indian theme, so while we talked we savored lentil dal, rice seasoned with rice syrup and cardamom accompanied by raita.
Hari says he’s pleased to mentor Phillip.
“There’s a long-standing tradition of mentorship,” he said, adding that early in his career he was mentored by chefs at Ram’s Head and Kevin Reading, formerly of Nage’ and now at Abbott’s Grill in Milford.
“I was a blank canvas,” said Hari.
“You can teach knowledge but you can’t teach a sense of urgency. It’s a race against the clock, the ability to do both, push yourself forward and do it faster,” he said.
“It’s about coming into work with your head and mind in the right place.”
Phillip takes notes at work; he is expected to bring his notebook and pen, and this chef expects him to follow directions.
“It’s a team effort. Each person is doing their job, and the person who is the newest gets support. I’m never going to yell at Phillip,” said Hari.
“It’s also about discipline. For example, Phillip had to spend an hour shelling fava beans,” he added.
While the tedious task of shelling those beans might not be the most glamorous work, it’s all part of the learning curve for Phillip.
He’s also learning other aspects of the culinary world, making stock, turning vegetables, how to plate. He’s tried new and different foods.
“I don’t quit and I try to work hard. Even if it’s hard, I keep going,” Phillip said.
He also has a new goal: working in Europe.
“Everyone in the kitchen talks about their experience in Europe, that it made them that much better. I want to go to culinary school and study abroad,” he said.
And who knows where his dream will take him?