There’s something extra special about this commemorative event: the menu was crafted by Dockside’s very own dad and grad chef duo. Created with themes of innovation and holiday traditions in mind, Guests can look forward to innovative twists on family-favorite brunch items and a buffet spread of all-you-can-eat classics.
This year’s brunch menu also pays tribute to Chef Russ and Jonathan’s shared passion for food and Jonathan’s next big adventure: working in the international food scene. During his last semester at Inland Northwest Culinary Academy (INCA), Jonathan landed a prestigious culinary arts internship in Copenhagen, Denmark. When we say prestigious, we’re talking about an internship at the four-time winner of Restaurant magazine’s “World’s Best Restaurant” title, Noma, and we couldn’t be more proud!
Before Jonathan takes flight, we sat down with him and Chef Russ to talk about how cooking together has been a lifelong family affair. Our conversation explored exciting topics ranging from Dockside happenings to menu innovations to seasonal ingredients, and of course, Jonathan’s impressive internship.
Read on to “listen in” on what sparked their shared passion for the craft of cooking, how they stay inspired, and what lies ahead for Jonathan with a Noma-sized adventure on the horizon. [Paraphrased]
Q: Here’s the burning question on everyone’s minds, Jonathan… How did you land the Noma internship?
Jonathan: I think it partially has to do with the fact that I intentionally chose the culinary arts career path. When I graduated high school, I had an academic scholarship to Eastern Washington University to get a business degree. I was enrolled, packed up, and my tuition was set. The Thursday before the Monday we started school, I realized it didn’t feel like the right next step. On my way back from orientation, I stopped by INCA, and the one person who was still in the building was in charge of the culinary department – one of my favorite subjects. It felt like a sign, so I signed up for culinary school on the spot and got the last seat in class.
Looking toward graduation from culinary school, I knew if I was going to be a chef, I wanted to work at a Noma-caliber restaurant or open one of my own. I just I needed to get my start somewhere. I sent my resume to a bunch of different places without putting limits on where the restaurants were located. I thought Noma would be a long shot, but the answer would be no if I didn’t ask. My foot in the door was an email telling them I wanted to work there.
I expect that this internship will be kind of like school. Its stages are themed, from foraging to working in the prep kitchen to front of the house operations. I’ll receive training from world-renowned chefs. I couldn’t ask for a better jumping off point for my career.
Q: Chef Russ, it must make you proud to see Jonathan embarking on this culinary journey. At what point did you know he would follow in your footsteps?
Chef Russ: Jonathan has worked with me in some capacity in every kitchen I’ve worked in, whether he was observing at a young age, washing dishes, brainstorming menu items, or working beside me as a line cook. His appreciation for good food started even earlier than that. I think back to when he was around five years old. I had made some teriyaki chicken legs and thought I could convince him to taste it by telling him that teriyaki was just like barbeque sauce. He was on his third chicken leg when he told me, “Dad, this doesn’t taste anything like BBQ sauce, but I like it.” I had never met a five year old with such an advanced pallet. I’ve always viewed that moment as a foreshadowing of his future as a chef.
Q: Tell me about the lifestyle of a chef. How do you balance work and life with your out-of-the-ordinary schedule?
Chef Russ: As far as the lifestyle goes, it’s something you get used to over time. I enrolled at INCA while simultaneously working two jobs. You have to love cooking and get gratification out of providing the good time everyone else is having. You enter this “other” section of society. As chefs, we know that it’s not about which day we celebrate, because we’re always working on holidays – it’s simply about the time we get to spend together.
Jonathan: I’ve gone with my dad to work at every job he’s ever had, so I grew up familiar with the chef lifestyle. The industry comes with long hours and weekends, and although that can be difficult, I think of the chef community as pirates. We work when everyone else has fun, and we don’t usually get to celebrate holidays. But it’s the community of cooks and chefs who operate on the same hours that balances the tough lifestyle. We’re a tribe.
Q: What are some of the highlights of working together at Dockside?
Chef Russ: I try to be the same chef to all of my team members, but one of the advantages of working with Jonathan is that we’re like-minded by default. We can bounce ideas off of each other. He’s in the role of a team member, but I know he’ll be honest with me if he doesn’t like an idea, or if a something can be improved. We went to the same culinary school and have a shared love of good food, so we speak the same language. We can work in tandem and communicate in a father-son way that feels like telepathy.
Q: What keeps you feeling inspired about the culinary arts, and in your case Jonathan, what makes you want to continue on this path?
Chef Russ: In the culinary arts, I love that there’s always a new challenge, even if the menu is the same. I’ve never liked having a sense of completion. I knew I had to have a hands-on career. I like exercising my creativity. I definitely don’t like routines. All of these elements combined, every day is a new adventure when you’re a chef.
Jonathan and I are both really inspired by innovating and problem solving, so we enjoy the creative freedom we have at Dockside. We can play with specials and collaborate for holidays and events like Dads & Grads to express the dining experience in new ways. We have a rotating menu where we can experiment with seasonal ingredients, test new recipes, and create signature specials. We often talk with each other about new spins on old classics… at the end of the day, who doesn’t love a great BLT?
Jonathan: I want to continue in the culinary arts for many reasons, but the big one is that cooking is addicting. From growing up in a kitchen, I learned that everyone can cook, but very few people can work in a kitchen. You have to love the thrill of the ups and downs, and I do.
Q: Where do you go to stay up on the latest food trends and draw menu inspiration?
Chef Russ: We used to cook more together for inspiration, but now we do more dining out together. Some of our favorite restaurants in the region are Clover, The Elk, Italia Trattoria, and Fleur de Sel. I’m hoping to visit him in Copenhagen for the ultimate Noma experience.
Jonathan: I read any cookbook or book about food I can get my hands on. I’m especially inspired by experimenting with Nordic cooking and Middle Eastern cuisine. As I prepare for my internship, I’m taking in as much food-related information as I can.
Join us on Sunday, June 16, for the Dads & Grads Brunch at Dockside Restaurant for an epic Father’s Day-meets-graduation celebration. For brunch reservations, call Dockside (208) 666-5799.
Families are invited to celebrate Father’s Day Weekend (or a young graduate’s achievement) with a weekend stay package. This stay includes overnight accommodations on the lake, complemented with Dockside Restaurant’s legendary brunch for two on Father’s Day. Valid for stays on the night of 6/15 or 6/16. Starting at only $*289. Click here or call (855) 379-5478 to book today!