Nathan Lemley grew up in Katy, TX and attended the The Art Institution of Houston. After graduation, Lemley worked in some of Houston finest restaurants before making the move to Austin where he accept the position of Chef de Cuisine at the newly opened Foreign & Domestic.
He spent the next few years traveling and staging across the country, before connecting with Chef Shawn Cirkiel at Parkside on 6th, back in Austin.
At Parkside, Lemley met future business and life partner, Sarah Heard. The pair purchased Foreign & Domestic Austin in September of 2017 from founder Ned Elliot and have been sharing the kitchen ever since as Chef-Owners.
I recently interviewed Lemley's business partner, Heard. Listen here: episode 564
Favorite success quote or mantra:
"Give your all, and do your best every single day."
In this episode with Nathan Lemley, we discuss:
- How and why Lemley got his start in the industry.
- Waiting until you're mature enough to invest in culinary school.
- How Chef Lemley learned about consistency and why it is so important.
- Why working directly WITH the person who owns a restaurant is different than working directly FOR them. Their passion and work ethic is contagious.
- Creating a culture of high standards.
- Why everyone should stage early and often in their career.
- How to know it is time to push your cooks out of your kitchen so they can continue to grow and develop professionally.
- How managing personalities is a big part of managing restaurants.
- Guiding your team members to the solution, not just giving it to them. You've got to get your people to think for themselves and help the develop the habit of thinking for themselves.
- Anticipating your restaurant needs and being ahead of your restaurant needs, especially when it comes to people. Is your sous chef sticking around? Are you sure? Do you have a back up for when they leave?
- How Lemley and Heard secured their financing and what they learned from the process.
- Hiring specialists like lawyers, and accountants.
- How Lemley is focusing on keeping Foreign and Domestic "fresh".
- Why it is so important to have ONE thing that is unique and that you can be the best at.
- Why being hot headed in the kitchen does not pay off in the long run.