Blunt Inquiry - Derek Dammann

Chef & Owner of Maison Publique - Montreal

What is your idea of a perfect restaurant?
The kind where all of the equipment never breaks.

What is your greatest fear at work?
Having the repair man (usually fridge) say, I don't have the part in my truck, so I'm gonna have to go back to the shop. Then getting his bill.

Which working Chef do you most admire?
Phillip Viens, he just started his own company called Aliments Phillip Viens, where he is now producing the best charcuterie I've ever tried. And he's cute. 

What part of work ‘you’ do you most deplore in yourself?
I dwell on things. 

What would instantly make you fire someone?
I don't fire people, people fire themselves.

What was your most extravagant purchase for your restaurant?
My soft serve ice cream machine, but it's the gift that keeps on giving.

What is your favourite food journey?
I'm going to Japan in March, that's on the bucket list. 

What words or phrases do you most overuse at work?
Probably the word fuck, but mostly used as punctuation. 

What do you regret most after all your years in the business?
Regrets are just learning curves.

What do you love most about this industry?
All of the great people I've encountered over the years.

What is your current state of mind?
Pleased.

If you could change anything about the restaurant industry where you are, what would it be?
I think what Justin Leboe did by reducing the hours of his cooks is very noble. 

What do you consider your most essential ingredient?
Instagram.

The work/life balance struggle is real.  How good of a juggler are you?  Tips?
I’m not, and no.

What is your most treasured kitchen tool?
Weber charcoal grill filled with Kingsford briquettes. 

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Yelp.

When you finally retire, were will you live?
Parts unknown in a cabin on a lake.

What is your most marked characteristic?
Obviously my unbelievable sense of humor. 

What is the quality you most like in a chef?
Cleanliness.

What is your greatest inspiration/motivation?
The Boston Bruins.

Superman or Spiderman?
Matty Matheson is the only super hero I know. 

What is the first thing you remember cooking?
Pasta dough with my Nona. Professionally, it was tartare sauce. 

Beck or Clapton?
I only listen to two kinds of music, heavy and metal. 

You have to cook Escoffier’s death row meal.  Menu?
I would likely say no. 
 
Favourite kitchen word or phrase?
Did you taste this?


Derek Dammann’s new cookbook TRUE NORTH is now available.

Maison Publique