Q&A with Phil Grubisa, Chef de Cuisine at The Farm
The Farm’s Chef de Cuisine, Phil Grubisa, grew up in a house run by an Italian mother on a precise schedule.
“My parents both worked but my mom would always have dinner on the table at 6 p.m. I didn’t appreciate it now but I can completely respect the value of family-oriented dining and sharing that she instilled in me.”
Now running his own kitchen after three years as Sous Chef at Talisker on Main, Grubisa, sat down to talk about what fuels his passion for eating, living, cooking sustainably and providing consistent superb service his guests can set a clock to.
HOW IS WORKING IN A RESTAURANT LIKE PLAYING BASEBALL?
As an avid baseball player throughout high school and college, Grubisa approaches running a kitchen like he would as the coach of a baseball team.
“It’s all a team effort,” he says. “It’s the people in key positions who make it all work.”
He sees the value in the collaborative efforts of the many and attributing a restaurant’s successes to the entire team. Grubisa says he approaches each day with the intent to be “visibly passionate about something every day. My daily philosophy is to teach my team something new and help them perfect it by the time they leave.”
WHAT IS IT ABOUT CHARCUTERIE THAT INTERESTS YOU? WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO STUDY WHOLE ANIMAL BUTCHERY?
“Utilization of animals has been around since the dawn of time. Learning how to use each and every part of the animal is part of a philosophy of sustainability that was emerging in my cooking style.
This past Spring, Grubisa took advantage of some time off to work at Fatted Calf in Napa, California, a renowned charcuterie and salumerie.
Inspired by the sustainability and resourcefulness of using as much of an entire animal as possible, Grubisa made it his mission “to be master of a craft not a jack of all trades.” This past fall, he completed a master butchery course at Johnson & Wales University in Colorado to further hone his skills and learn proper temperatures and methods for curing meats according to USDA standards.
Grubisa is also reading “Ad Hoc at Home” a collection of recipes focused on family-style meals by renowned Michelin-star rated American chef, Thomas Keller, for the seventh time.
WHAT DOES “FARM TO TABLE” MEAN TO YOU?
“The idea is to support the little guy,” Grubisa says. “There are artisan producers in every state, and Utah has some of the best. It’s the artistry behind great food that we want to showcase.”
For example, he takes 100 pounds of kitchen scraps each week to feed the pigs at Clifford Farms in Provo. “To watch all these kitchen scraps go in the bin, it’s such a waste. The return by taking scraps to Clifford Farms is satisfying on many fronts. Knowing where our meat comes from and knowing what that the pig ate means that I can then serve dishes with pride in knowing the product is organic, sustainable and clean.”
TELL US ABOUT SUPPER AT THE FARM
This week, Grubisa concludes a two-week, four-course meal program entitled “Supper at The Farm.” For $39, guests enjoy a charcuterie board, soup or salad, Farm-inspired main course and a made-from-scratch dessert.
“Serving main courses on platters at The Farm evokes a communal, community-driven, shared experience much like the intimate sharing of food in the family home,” Grubisa says. “The true meaning behind The Farm, to me, is sustainability, and sharing the common bond of good food between people. That’s what farm life is.”
HOW DO YOU LIVE THE FARM’S SUSTAINABLE PHILOSOPHY AWAY FROM THE WORK PLACE?
Grubisa and his girlfriend spend time cooking together and have recently gotten hooked on foraging.
“We forage watercress, wild leeks and more,” he says. “The weekly drives to Clifford Farms are a perfect time to explore to the waterfalls and streams of the Wasatch Mountains.”
“Sustainable eating goes beyond these walls for me. I eat, breathe and sleep food.”