Meet the Men Behind the Line

We’ve said this before, our team at ZINC New Haven and Kitchen ZINC has a cast of characters! Most of them are behind the scenes and some  you may never see. We'd like to introduce you to some key players. A few weeks ago, we talked about our beloved pastry chef, Alba Estenoz. This week, we'd like to introduce a couple of guys that can handle the heat and that make your dinner each night, Graydon Chapman and Ian Brown.

From left to right: Graydon Chapman, 32, originally from South Africa moved to New Haven a year and a half ago by way of Miami. Position at ZINC New Haven: Sous Chef. Ian Brown, 29, originally from Providence, Rhode Island. Position at ZINC New Haven: Grill and Sauté Cook.

From left to right: Graydon Chapman, 32, originally from South Africa moved to New Haven a year and a half ago by way of Miami. Position at ZINC New Haven: Sous Chef. Ian Brown, 29, originally from Providence, Rhode Island. Position at ZINC New Haven: Grill and Sauté Cook.

How long have you been working at ZINC New Haven?

G: I’ve been working at ZINC for about a year and a half. With what I’ve learned, though, it feels like I've been here longer. 

I: I just completed my first year of working at ZINC in February.

 

How long have you been doing what you’re doing? 

G: I got my first job as a busboy and chip runner at a Mexican restaurant. I always found I was drawn to the kitchen there and when I had the opportunity to get my next job I made sure it was in the kitchen. I worked from being a dishwasher to where I am today, which is Sous Chef at ZINC New Haven. I’ve held a quite a few jobs over the last 12 years, but I can finally say now, I’m on my career path. 

I: I started learning how to cook at the age of 12 from my father, a former chef, and I began a career in cooking about 6 years ago.

 

What are your career goals? 

G: This is a tough question for me. For 10 long years, I was always told that this “isn’t a real job.” I've been in this now for so long that I feel that I would like to eventually run my own kitchen. I love the work of Nancy Silverton and Francis Mallman. Both chefs work with a traditional focus on food but elevate familiar dishes to places that exceed the norm. I’d like to settle somewhere warm after doing some traveling. 

I: I would love to own my own restaurant someday.  A Michelin Star would be nice too.

 

What is your favorite thing about what you do? 

G: I love working with my hands, I don’t think I could ever sit and work at a desk. The adrenaline rush of working on the line is unexplainable. I love working with food and making the guests’ night better. Every day is a growing and learning experience. Every day is different.

I: I love the creative nature of cooking. There is nothing more satisfying than making something with your own hands and then getting to see the instant response to your work on the guest's face.

 

What do you love about working at ZINC New Haven? 

G: The people and the work. I honestly can say that I look forward to coming to work and being around these people every day. 

I: Working with local producers and their products has always been important to me and central to my own cooking, so I love getting a chance to work in a restaurant where those things are a top priority.

 

When you’re not working, what are you doing?

G: When I’m not working I’m usually thinking about work. Otherwise, I like to read and watch television. When the weather is warm I go for hikes and bike rides around the area. I also spend a lot of time with my dog, Wallace, and partner, Sierra. My cookbook collection has grown over the last few years. Food may take up a huge portion of my life and time.

I: When not at work I like to go hiking in the woods and foraging for wild edibles to use in my own cooking projects. I'm also an unashamed nerd and fill the rest of my time with reading, comic books, gaming, and movies.