Bryan Dean French is a promising chef currently living and cooking in Los Angeles. From camera lens to art of food plating, discover how he set aside all his personal struggles and healed himself through arts and dedication.
How long you’ve been cooking in L.A.? Is this really your first choice of career?
Bry: I have been cooking in Los Angeles for five years. Two of which were in New Orleans. Culinary was my first choice for a career. I grew up watching my great grandmother cooking, everything from scratch. I was amazed, she could cook anything from the ground up. We would grow our own produce in a garden in the back yard. She taught me how to be self sufficient, she was my guiding light.
I took Home Economics in Middle School and Culinary Arts in high school at San Fernando Mission College. My mother was in a bad car accident when I was young so when it came to cooking for the family, it was all on me, and I did my best to make sure we had a variety of meals so that we wouldn’t get tired of the same old stuff each night. Cooking has been a part of my life since a young age so it was only natural that I pursued a career in the food industry.
I got into art and went to a Pasadena Community College for design and photography which was a point in time where I did stray from culinary and dabbled in visual arts. Thankfully those skills I learned and studied were applicable to culinary, so in a sense I never strayed too far from food. What I learned in design I try to apply to plating. It’s a different medium but the same idea, the plate is a canvas and you paint with food.
Most chefs did struggle during their childhood, do you have any stories that you want to share about how you overcame those events?
Bry: The biggest struggle I have had to endure and continue to strive through is my battle with depression and anxiety. I grew up dealing with these issues and they have held me back from doing many things that are relatively easy for most people.
Simple tasks were huge obstacles for me, sharing in front of class, making friends, even expressing my feelings with family posed as a frightening task.
I work hard every day to overcome these obstacles without the help of modern medicine. The kitchen is my comfort zone, the one place I feel confidence and a true sense of happiness. People are thankful to receive a meal and appreciate the effort that goes in to cooking.
As soon as everyone starts eating the room falls silent and you look around and see each person at peace. Nobody is worried about anything, they are calmed for that moment in time and it is beautiful. That’s why I cook. Seeing people happy makes me happy.
That is my medicine.
Do you have any plans of opening your own restaurant? If you are currently running your own, are you planning to expand or open up another location?
Bry: Yes. In the future I would like to open my own restaurant. That is currently what I am working towards and will get there in time. I will be going back to school for business before jumping into a concept. I want to be prepared. I’ve seen many restaurants open and last just a few months in my city and I don’t want my restaurant to be one of those places.
What advice can you give to cooks | line cooks that want to be a chef someday?
Bry: Educate yourself.
Go to school, read, reach out and talk to a chef, maybe you can work under him and learn his methods and techniques. If cooking is your passion, breath it, sleep it, eat it, be it. Hard work and dedication will pay off. The road is a little rougher for some people but you will get there as long as you do what it takes to get there.
Be prepared to fall.
Everybody does, but be sure to pick yourself up and preserver through your fails. Each one is a lesson that you will learn from that will only benefit you in your journey. Remember, chefs aren’t born, they are made. Through hard work, training, and dedication. It takes time to build and master a craft.
Nothing happens overnight so be patient and stay focused.
If you will be compared to a dish, what would you be?
Bry: I would have to say Jambalaya.
It is traditional, yet versatile. It is a dish that doesn’t usually come dressed to impress, it’s a bit more humble. It makes you feel comfortable and warm. It can be bold, spicy, rich yet subtle.
It’s very easy but each ingredients flavor mends well with next. The combinations of ingredients can be mixed and matched to fit everyone’s preference. When made right it is definitely a dish that will remain in your memory for years to come.
Follow the works of Bry here @abracadabrahocuspocus