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IN THE KITCHEN

with Chef Sean Carroll

of Alexander’s BY CHRISTY BARONI

You’ll be pleased to know that a new chef with a fiery desire to impact our local scene has arrived. He is breathing new life and fresh ideas in to the island staple Alexander’s in Palmetto Dunes. Growing up in Williamsburg, VA Chef Sean Carroll has been cooking as long as he can remember. When describing his experiences as an up and coming new chef, a common theme for him is a deep and genuine respect for the chefs he learned under. He recognized unique qualities in each and tucked away gems for his own repertoire. As a young and scrappy chef, Sean had the chance to work for Chef David Everett. He recalls being asked what sauces he knew how to make. He knew how to make gravy by adding flour to beef stock. He remembers Chef David simply turning away and he realized he had so much to learn. Sean genuinely wanted to learn everything he could to turn himself in to the best person he could be both in the kitchen and in his life in general. He reflects on the fact that the culinary arts is a place where one’s education and time in school does not in any way mimic what life in the back of the house will actually be like. He attended Le Cordon Bleu in Atlanta where he found himself learning about Chinese, Cambodian, and Vietnamese food one day and the next day studying French and Spanish cuisine. In an actual restaurant he understands that real knowledge comes from the repetitive process of perfecting a few select dishes. The mastery comes from doing the same dish over and over and over. One of the most inspirational chefs he has had the pleasure of working under was Chef Mike Gonzalez. He took Sean under his wing and shared his technique and approach to food. “He required me to remake dishes over and over and over until he was satisfied. He held a really high standard and allowed me to develop only after learning what he considered to be the basics.” Sean says about his time with Chef Mike. He shared the Vanilla Ice Cream example. Once you master making vanilla ice cream, you can branch out in to all new flavors and combinations, but you have to master vanilla first. Sounds like a lesson that applies to life in general. Chef Mike would be instrumental in taking Sean’s career down an ever-expanding path. He called on him to be his sous chef at The Bistro at the Biltmore 30

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