We got to sit down and talk with Mason Street Grill's Chef Mark Weber a few weeks ago. He had just got back from a trip to Florida to do some research for a new special.
How long have you been working in the food industry?
I have been working in the food business since 1983. Started at the CIA in Hyde Park, NY in 1985, and came to Milwaukee in 1989.
Where did you start?
I started at the Midway Motor Lodge in Glendale as part of the opening staff as a summer job during college summer break. I started in front of the house but quickly decided that back of the house was more fun!
What did you learn working at Lake Park Bistro?
Being the Chef at LPB was an incredibly important part of my career. Joe and Paul Bartolotta are extremely passionate about the restaurant business and the vast amounts I learned from them over 8 years very much shaped my career. I also worked with John Wise during those years who is one of the most hard working and organized people I have ever known. John is a big part of the Bartolotta success story. They have and they teach what it takes to make it in the restaurant business.
What do you feel is the most important thing you try and inspire in your team at Mason Street Grill?
We derive inspiration from the products we use. We are constantly searching for the best products to offer to our customers. We use the highest quality available and we stop at nothing to locate the best suppliers no matter where we might have to go looking for it!
You recently were in Florida on a crab boat learning about the farming of stone crab. How was that?
The Stone Crab trip is an example of our commitment to quality. We went to Florida to find an exclusive supplier of Stone Crab claws for the season. We wanted to have a fisherman that would understand the level of quality that we wanted. By visiting we can better understand the whole process from the harvesting of the claws from the ocean, cooking, grading, and shipping. Special relationships with vendors is really important.
What did you learn on that trip and how will you use that knowledge in the kitchen?
We understand products better when we understand where they come from and how. This gives us a much higher benchmark standard for quality than competitors, especially one that have not seen products at their source.
If you want to find out more about Mark or the Mason Street Grill you'll be happy to know that they have started their own Blog. Go check it out.