We got to sit down with the Ill Chef Shehu Fitzgerald, The Chef De Cuisine at The Todd English Food Hall, Plaza Hotel, New York City. Here we go!
1.) What inspired you to become a Chef?
I can remember wanting to be a chef at a very young age, 5 years old. I remember going to the city with my cousin Traci, to her job at the World Trade Center, during the summer and looking at all the people wearing suits on blazing hot muggy days. Then being at her job and having to sit at a desk all day pushing paper. Nah, it wasn’t for me, I was totally put off. The idea of working with food sounded pretty cool to me and very easy. My mom told me at a young age, that being a chef was a great profession. She said “You’ll never worry about being hungry and you’ll always be able to find work. People always gottah eat!” As a chef you can travel the world and work in any kitchen”. When we lived in Stapleton, SI, we had this huge world map on the wall near the bathroom. I used to look at it for hours and dream about all the places I could visit, live in, and work!!!!
2.) What is the most fun you have had as a chef?
I love everything about my job! But the thing I love most and find the most fun doing, is the creativity. Being able to think something up, have a vision, then start to put things together and bring that vision to light. It’s the most gratifying feeling one can have. It’s a high!!! Then you start to come up with more ideas, some will pan out some may not, but you’ll keep on creating, adding fuel to the fire. There’s no stopping.
3.) What restaurants do you like to eat at other than your own?
Going out to eat, doesn’t matter to me. From your little hole in the wall, to food trucks, to a fine dining restaurant, I’m down for whatever!!! But I’m a big fan of tasting menus!! 5, 7, 9 courses love that shit!!!
4.) How often do you get to cook at home for your family? What do you like to cook for them?
Whenever I’m off or home early to get dinner done, I really like to make tacos or salmon. Those are the best nights. The spread is normally pretty big. I have all these different items to choose from, and it’s a great way to get the whole family together at the table
5.) Does your daughter like to cook?
She is slowly getting into it.
6.) Three ingredients you can’t live without?
Sugar, Onions, and Thyme!
7.) What does #inkskatefood mean?
#inkskatefood is my lifestyle. I’ve been skateboarding since the 1st grade. You can still find me, from time to time, skating down Broadway with no shirt on, LOL!! It’s been over 25 years since I got my first tattoo and I’m not even sure when I’m going to stop. Food has been life for me. Because of food I was able to travel around the world, provide for my family, it got me on TV not once, not twice, but three times!! It’s open so many doors for me; I could go on for hours. At the end of the day, being a Chef, has made me a better human being.