Name: Harry Steinmetz
Location: Glen Mills, PA
Current Position: Executive Chef
How many years at Joe’s: Five
How long have you been working in restaurants?
A little over 15 years. My sister got me my first restaurant job at the age of 18. She was a server at Olive Garden and told me they were in need of a cook. She warned me, “you’re going to have to really work back there”—and she was right. I, however fell in love with the hustle it takes to work in a high-volume kitchen and developed a huge passion for cooking.
What was your first position at Not Your Average Joe’s? What steps did you take to move up within the company?
I was originally hired as a Pizza Cook, and funny enough, I was the last cook they hired for the new restaurant opening. The restaurant opening was intense; 6 people on each station who are basically all fighting for the same job and the most hours. Luckily, I made the cut on pizza—no pun intended. As I was learning Pizza Station I would pick up things here and there on Pantry since they’re right next to each other. A few weeks later I could work both stations by myself. After that I was asked to move to Grill since there was an opening. Like before with Pantry, I learned Sauté and Fry from the cooks working next to me. Somewhere in the middle of me learning all of the stations, Chef Andrew asked if I had an interest in Supervising. I immediately said yes! After several months of supervising, I was sent to Rhode Island to train as a Sous Chef at Joe’s Warwick location. Next, I came back to Glen Mills and was a Sous Chef for the better part of 3 years until I was promoted to Executive Chef two months ago.
Favorite part about your job?
Growing up in an Italian and German household—I’m going to say making people happy through food! Great food makes people happy and our goal is to always have a restaurant full of happy people.
What is your day to day routine as head chef?
Coffee! A lot of coffee. I open every morning and the first thing I do is make sure all of the cooler units are working properly and temping as they should be. If there is an issue and you don’t notice it immediately you’ll be playing catch-up all day. Once I see everything is running properly I’ll do a quick line check to make sure everything is fresh and good to serve. After that I’ll get the prep lists ready for the kitchen staff and talk to them to let them know what I expect out of them for the day. If a truck came that day I’ll put it away and check to make sure everything came in that I ordered. After that I’ll set up the Expo station, and get started on any Chef Prep I have for the day. Once I’m finished that I’ll get ready for the lunch rush and go out to Expo. Once lunch has come to an end, I’ll touch base with the cooks to see where they are on their prep and help with what’s left to do. If they’re all caught up I’ll thank them and let them know they can leave. I then work the stations until the PM cooks arrive. Once everyone shows up for the night shift, I’ll again go out to Expo and execute the food for the dinner rush. Once dinner is over, I prepare a prep list for the next day along with placing produce order.
Given your position, what’s your Favorite entree on the menu?
Definitely the Chicken and Shrimp Rice bowl. It’s simple but brilliant. It’s full of flavor and I love the colors with the Mango and Avocados. The dish just pops every time you see it.
What makes Joe’s special to you?
I’ve worked in a lot of restaurants and none of them have had a family atmosphere quite like Joe’s. From the dishwashers to management, everyone is treated with the same respect. A lot of employees have been with us since we’ve opened 5 years ago. That alone tells you all you need to know about Joe’s as a company. They really know how to treat their employees and keep them happy.
Any advice for future chefs or chefs looking to manage a kitchen + staff?
Keep pushing and keep working hard. Make sure you know what you need to get done early in the day, or you’ll regret it later. Don’t give up on your dreams and never trust a skinny Chef!