A revelatory, thought-provoking look inside the world of Indy Fresh Catering’s award-winning chef, Paul Haveck!
We sat down with Paul as he shared about food culture, catering and his commitment to excellence in the kitchen.
Q: What inspired you to become a chef?
A: Food has always been something I’ve loved. I was fortunate enough as a child to be exposed to foods that my peers weren’t. I grew up around men that loved to cook for their families (they made enough for three times the people they fed!) I’m sure it was a combination of all those things that led me to my career choice.
Q: What are some of your favorite things about working in the culinary world?
A: It’s never boring, ever! I get engaged when challenged with unusual problems food and the hospitality industry have no shortage of those problems.
Q: How has your experience as a restaurant chef prepared you for the world of catering? Has it given you a unique perspective, or a ‘leg up’ in any way?
A : I can’t say it’s given me an advantage, I took some hard knocks my first year catering. There are big differences between cooking for a cozy dining room full of patient people, and feeding hundreds of people in a window of less than an hour in some cases. If I have a unique perspective, it would be because of the restaurants I worked for than just working in a restaurant in general. I pushed myself to work for chefs with very high standards and an unforced commitment to excellence. I know that last phrase may seem cliché, but working in that type of environment pushed me to scrutinize everything I did until it was the best it could be.
Q: What is your favorite thing about working in the catering industry and for Indy Fresh Catering? What about the most challenging?
A: I like that it’s big, the events are big, the food is big and so are the smiles when everything goes according to plan. The days leading up to an event or banquet are surprisingly more hectic than the event itself! The preparation that goes on behind the scenes truly is a symphony of chaos.
Q: This industry, whether it is a restaurant or catering, is always evolving. How do you keep up with all the cooking trends?
A: Living in such a connected world as we all do, I keep my eyes open on multiple social media platforms and publications. It’s inspiring to see how other chefs approach similar ingredients. I never replicate a dish or recipe from another chef, but I often apply their concept to food. It’s not uncommon in our industry. It’s a reason why food culture has evolved so quickly in our country.
Q: If you had one week to travel anywhere on a culinary adventure, where would you go?
A: That’s tough, I haven’t even been out of the country yet! (except Canada) If I had to choose this moment I would say Japan. Not only is the culture of food and ingredients as old as time but the high standards their culture demands would be truly inspiring.
Q: What are your favorite ingredients to work with, and why?
A: Preserved foods. Preserving food is a timeless tradition. Fermenting, pickling, curing, and smoking was once done out of necessity to preserve food throughout the winter but are done now for their unique textures and flavors (in most cases.) A real depth of flavor develops by adding preserved food to almost anything.
Q: What sets you (and Indy Fresh) apart when it comes to wedding catering?
A: Indy Fresh is committed to offering catering that was meant for catering! After a recipe is perfected, it is put through rigorous testing to ensure that whatever you ordered from Indy Fresh will be as fresh as it was when we made it.