What's NOT on My Resume: Chris Cosentino
By Kathleen Squires
October 3, 2013
No one starts out on top, especially in the food business. In this weekly column, chefs and restaurateurs across the country share the stories of their humble beginnings.
He’s best known as a lover of offal; and as the winner of Top Chef Masters Season 4; and also as the longtime executive chef behind Incanto in San Francisco. But before there was Incanto; before he started the educational website OffalGood.com; and even before he got his start at esteemed restaurants such as Chez Panisse, Rubicon, and Vegas’s Nob Hill, Cosentino learned everything he needed to know about breakfast food - and washing dishes - at an IHOP in Rhode Island.
“I started as a dishwasher at IHOP and I think that set a tone for wanting to do a good job for my whole career,” says the chef. “I watched two guys do 580 breakfasts with only five variations of pancakes, four variations of waffles, 25 different variations of eggs, plus meats, and at least 10 types of toast to pair with everything. And then you have the syrup choices. Watching that as a dishwasher was pretty awe-inspiring, and inspirational.” Reflecting on the experience, Cosentino says he respects anyone who has made a humble start. “I think that starting your way on the bottom and working your way up the system makes you a stronger person. There should be no job beneath you. For me, that is the most important thing. If my dish guy gets in the weeds, I do dishes. I still do.”