Porkloin w/ Tomato Sauce
Seitan Stir Fry
Herb Roasted Tofu
** All items on the Hot Bar are subject to change throughout the day without notice.
Meet Our Executive Chef, Justin Key!
Where do you hail from?
Gaithersburg, MD born and raised with professional experience in Denver, CO, Vail, CO, Pittsburgh, PA
Where and How where you trained?
I received formal culinary training from the Le Cordon Bleu program in Pittsburgh, PA before Relocating to Vail Colorado to work under Chef Thomas Newsted at Vail’s Highest Caliber Establishment, “Game Creek Club”. I then spent time living in Denver Colorado where I Worked for JW Marriott. I spent the next 10 years working as a Sous Chef and Executive Chef in the Frederick, MD area where I really started to gain a passion for “Farm to Table” concept dining while building relationships with farmers in my area. I then turned my focus back to hotels to invest time in learning great management skills where I began working for a top hotel management company for the DC Metro area.
When did you discover you were headed down a path of creating delicious food for the masses?
I always considered myself to be an artist as a teenager. The only jobs I ever had were in kitchens starting around 14 years of age. After working in the kitchen long enough to be able to use my artistic vision to create unique dishes, I really realized that this was a great and fulfilling avenue to feed my artistic nature. I was then faced with a fork in the road around 18 years old where I needed to decide a good education path to support my future goals. I always told myself I would pursue culinary arts as a way to keep myself moving forward until I found another career path to move on to; however I have found so much success and happiness that I haven’t really considered doing anything else.
What is your favorite part of being an executive chef?
I have always enjoyed the challenge of being a great leader. Teaching as well as having the ability to inspire my team’s success has been highly rewarding for me. There isn’t a much better feeling as a leader then when you see the inspiration you give others comes to life through their passion and the success of an entire team together.
What does making people happy through your food mean to you?
This literally means everything to me. For me it is validation that I am doing the right thing for myself as well as the internal satisfaction I get from making others happy. You always want to know that you are doing everything it takes to be successful and there is no better grading system than the feedback from your guests/customers. Now at Dawson’s Market I am extremely excited to be able to get back to focusing on ethically produced foods as well as taking a more active roll in helping those with specific dietary needs.
How do you make”good-for-you” food still taste good?
Working with the best ingredients prepared simply using the best technique for the food is the best way to make great tasting food. It is a paradigm that good food is not good for you. Adding highly processed ingredients and high fat foods often clouds and masks the flavor of a great ingredient. For me I always try to use the best techniques for a specific food to bring out a great flavor.