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Le Diner en Blanc Host, Lisa Greenwood sat down with Interview  Chef Brian and Chef Jonathan of RusTeak Restaurant, the official caterers for this years event!

Le Diner en Blanc Host, Lisa Greenwood sat down with Interview  Chef Brian and Chef Jonathan of RusTeak Restaurant, the official caterers for this years event!
 

1. What is your name? Where are you originally from? Where did you go to culinary school?

Brian Buttner, born in El Paso, TX grew up in the Florida Keys, moved to New York to attend school (think of a military kid without the military). Culinary Institute of America

2. What did you want to be growing up? Why culinary school?

Got a degree in International Business from FAU, decided to spend a semester in Europe traveling with my teachers and fell in love with the culinary world. Always knew I wouldbe my own boss...never liked anyone telline me “how its going to be.”

3. Where did the idea for RusTeak come from? Is there any significance in the name? Why Orlando?

Moved to Orlando to get a masters degree in hospitality. During the down turn of the real estate market a restaurant became available to own the real estate (thought it was a sign). That was the birth of our first restaurant Teak. Jonathan and I were two years into operating Teak and decided we wanted to have a little more of an upscale restaurant.That’s when RusTeak was born. RusTeak is a play on rustic and Teak.

4. Describe a typical day as a chef/owner of RusTeak.

Day usually starts at 7:30am. Having a few hours in the morning before the restaurants

open gives me the time to take care of the paperwork aspect. Once 10:00am hits time to leave and start the trek of visiting all restaurants to check in, make sure employees have shown up, in proper uniform and the chefs have what they need for the day. By 11:30 which every restaurant I am at I will stay thru lunch push. After lunch push I proceed to the next restaurant. By 4pm all restaurants have been visited. Depending on what day of the week is where I will station for dinner service. The two downtown restaurants have been the most needy lately . I usually stay until 9:30 –10pm then head home and do it all over again the next day.
 

5. As the owners of five restaurants, what influences your creativity? How do you “keep it fresh?”

Giving the chefs the flexibility of being creative has really helped my own mind. Being in charge of the printed menus for the restaurants, my mind tends to get weak with creativity. Taking the ideas of the restaurants I have worked in, my culinary education and the chefs ideas we make a blend of menu items that match our brands and the current season we are in. Honestly my brain is fried, but the passion keeps me intrigued with new ideas.
 

6. What are your specialties as a chef? How do you and your partner balance each other?

Jonathan has always been the “pasta man.” I have always enjoyed watching him create ideas for pasta dishes that imbody the “Italian New York family” style. I have always been the “weird flavors” kid. I enjoy mixing flavor profiles that tend to not fit in a traditionalbox. Adding Jonathan’s comfort level with my weird level seems to produce a unique flavorthat our restaurants has become known for.
 

7. What did you have for dinner last night?

Penne pasta with a smashed green bean pesto, roasted chick peas, grilled zucchini and basil from the garden.
 

8. Whiskey, wine or beer?

All the above, however, I don’t drink but once or twice a month (at most). I enjoy the creativity of each spirit, however, the next day will sometimes disagree. Today’s choicewould be a smoked, run old fashioned.
 

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

Tomatoes...I just love those things
 

10. Last weekend on Earth – What city are you eating in?

Chiang Mai eating the spiciest Szechuan food known to man.
 

11. What food trends you are most excited about right now?

Impossible meats...the textures, flavors and options you can do with this are incredible.
 

12. Tell us about your menu selections for Dîner en Blanc Orlando 2019. Can you recommend wine pairings with our national wine sponsor, Chateau Ste. Michelle?

This was a hard one. Producing menu items that would not only travel well, but would hold the flavors without losing integrity is what propelled this menu. Chateau Ste. Michelle is super approachable and blends many flavors with our parings. Their entire selection would complement our menu in different ways.
 

13. Two famous people in history for dinner. Dead or alive. Who are they, what will you talk about and what are you serving?

Nicolas Telsa & Thomas Jefferson....I would serve them a classic coq au vin and talkabout what set them apart in their 20’s. I feel that I am an old soul and would love to knowif they were the same. I would also ask where Thomas Jefferson hid his private Bordeaux wine selection. I would ask Telsa how he felt when someone else stole his ideas (seems to happen to me a lot).
 

14. What’s your karaoke song?

Elton John – Rocket Man
 

15. What can we expect from RusTeak in the near future?

Depends on where Jonathan and I travel next. We seem to gravitate our menu items from the last place we visited. Our core value will never change...its all about the food

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