Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Graduate of University of Virginia, and rumored dance student at School of American Bala, Chef Tomas Rahal served as executive chef for a number of restaurants before opening his name sake Mos Tapas in Downtown belmont, VA, in 2002. Mos Tapas continues to surge ahead strongly, however Chef Rahal has stepped away to focus on his new project, Quality Pies slated to open Monday, July 2. So in just 3 days!


Show notes…

Favorite Success Quote or Mantra.

"Tell me I can't do something."

In this episode we discuss:

  • How Tomas was always underestimated growing up, and it lit a fire in his belly to prove himself and show that, yes he can.
  • How Tomas' mentors really showed him how to respect the preparation of food, and that the execution is so important to not just the restaurant, but all the people involved in prepping the food.
  • Being prepared to execute things in a wonderful way
    • Getting excited about the materials! Being excited about that perfect tomato, the meat that comes in, and the effort and planning that goes into a meal is something to be excited about.
    • Appreciation for the craft and the level of attention to the food.
  • How to encourage and train staff on a regular basis on what exactly goes into making the things that are served to guests.
  • Tomas's upbringing and how it influenced his start into the industry after his career in ballet dance and the arts.
    • His mom sending him "Best Chef of French Cuisine" articles for knowledge
    • Having a partner who cooked and family's cooked well, from different backgrounds
    • Became drawn to NY restaurant scene as a dancer
  • Tomas's college experience: Be confident with your knowledge, and then become confident in your skills. Continue learning, never stop finding out more ways of doing things.
  • Tomas's experience in Portland, ME for Bill- who took Italian background with Chicago lifestyle and made with Northeastern ingredients to create menu.
    • Learned a lot of business tricks from Bill.
    • Being savvy about the humanity of his chefs and relations with customers.
    • Reciprocity.
    • Reminding employees that they were in the hospitality industry, and they had to show kindness.
  • Learning from Chef Rafael Costa in taught him so much about how to work best with materials from seafood from Gloucester and other vendors because of their no nonsense approach to harvest and sustainability.
    • "Let the ingredients speak for themselves. All you need to do is just reveal what's inside of the marble."
  • The importance of staying on top of educating and training staff in materials and the process of dishes put out to guests- getting them excited about the food by tasting the food and talking about it. Knowing and testing the staff on the appreciation of the execution.
    • Keeping his staff educated on the sacrifice that farmers make to get restaurants their materials.

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Knowledge bombs

Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?

  • Behave like an Afghan WARLORD

What is your biggest weakness?

  • Fast women, 24 carat gold and 96 proof liquor

What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?

  • Absolute devotion. Actions speak louder than words. Quiet, confident and competency.

What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?

  • Bringing what was a 55 year legacy of making doughnuts and peeling back the ingredients.

Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.

  • Cooperation.

What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?

  • There is no other way but the right way. There are no short cuts.

What's one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?

  1. The Prophet

Share an online resource or tool.

What's one piece of technology you've adopted in your restaurant and how has it influence operations?

If you got the news that you'd be leaving this world tomorrow and all memories of you, your work, and your restaurants would be lost with your departure with the exception of 3 pieces of wisdom you could leave behind for the good of humanity, what would they be?

  1. Eat as many sandwiches as you can...never turn down a sandwich.
  2. Hot dogs are the universal sign of happiness.
  3. Be kind to everybody.

Contact Info

Facebook: @309avon

Instagram: @qualitypieva


Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining today! Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

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Huge thanks to Tomas for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!


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Direct download: 502_Tomas_Rahal_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT