Chris Kent’s passion for cooking began at a young age while helping his grandmother in the kitchen. The Florida native considers his first kitchen job to be peeling garlic for their family salad every night and making his grandmother’s favorite dinnertime cocktail, scotch on the rocks. Growing up, Kent always knew he wanted to become a chef. When asked in school, he always replied “a chief.” He was 6 at the time and spelling wasn’t his strong suit.
Kent ended up choosing to attend a community college in Gainesville to study journalism and child psychology, where soon after, he transferred to a culinary program in Saint Augustine where he was able to pursue his love for cooking and began work at A1A Aleworks. Five years later, he moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, where he worked at Bella Brava and helped opened Stillwater Tavern as sous chef under Chef Jeffrey Jew. Kent believes that change is a good thing and is needed for continued growth in his career. He was ready to take on his next challenge which landed him here at Rococo Steak.
1.When did your passion for food and cooking begin? What led you to a career at Rococo?
My passion for cooking began around the age of 8, I have very fond memories of spending time with my grandmother and grandfather in their kitchen preparing our family meals.
I was attracted to Rococo because of the level of professionalism from the management and staff. I was looking for a challenge and a place to learn and grow. We make all our food from scratch and the menu is constantly evolving, it’s definitely challenging. There is great skill and attention to detail in all the plates. I knew immediately it would be a fit.
2. In a restaurant, how important is the relationship between the executive chef and the sous chef?
The relationship between Sous and Executive Chef is absolutely crucial, we work together to deliver meaningful memories through the food we create. Chef Jordan and I have a great relationship and that might differ from other restaurants. We work together to help create the culinary vision at Rococo and I am proud of that.
3. Is there a food that you secretly dislike?
If there’s a food I secretly dislike, it would have to be salmon. Although I enjoy it smoked, I can’t eat it any other way. I still try it every now and then just to be sure, but yep, I still don’t like it.
4. What food trends are you seeing today, and which are you most excited by?
I’ve always enjoyed simple food and flavors along with a simple but beautiful plate. I believe a lot of chefs tend to over complicate dishes. Simplicity is a trend I’m excited to see.
5. If you had to recommend one dish on Rococo’s menu, what would it be and why?
If you were a first-time guest at Rococo I would say you must start with our crab cake. In my opinion, it’s better than any crab cake I’ve had in Maryland. I’ve been. I’ve seen. I’ve tried.
I am also a huge fan of our 10oz Angus Filet, cooked medium rare, with what is the best creamed spinach. A definite must. It’s simple comfort food that transports me back to a wonderful place.