Interview with Bill Bronchick

Bill Bronchick

Bill Bronchick is a caterer in Denver with over 20 years’ experience in the field. After attending culinary school in San Antonio, he spent time studying in France and Thailand. When he returned to the States, he moved to Denver to work in a mentor’s restaurant. While he honed his culinary craft in the restaurant business, he soon decided that working in a restaurant kitchen was not for him. He went out on his own as a private chef at the age of 22. Soon, his business developed into a full-service catering company capable of producing large high-end events for celebrities and charitable organizations.

When he is not working, Bill Bronchick enjoys exploring food and culture from around the world. He recently traveled to Morocco, where he went on a cook’s tour of the markets of Marrakesh. He picks up inspiration for his dishes all over the globe. Bronchick loves to ski, and he owns a condo in Aspen. He also participates in adventure travel, including backpacking trips to the Grand Canyon.

What is your favorite cuisine? How many different types of cuisine are you capable of producing?

My personal favorite is Thai cuisine. I love the flavors and the different ways in which they are combined. My favorite dish is tom yam soup, which combines the richness of coconut with the bite of lime. Thai food can be hot and spicy, but you don’t have to turn up the heat to enjoy a delicious Thai meal.

My kitchens specialize in Thai, French, Japanese, and traditional American comfort food favorites.

Why did you decide to become a chef?

I grew up in my grandparents’ barbecue restaurant. I used to help my grandmother make side dishes in the kitchen, and I helped my grandfather tend the barbecue pits. I also did my time busing tables and helping with cleanup. This helped me understand many different facets of the restaurant business at a young age. I took a college prep course in high school, but I was determined to go to culinary school. My grandparents were proud of me.

How involved are you in the beverage aspect?

I am involved with choosing wine, beer, and different types of alcohol for our bars. Often our clients request signature cocktails for their events, and I generally help my head mixologist come up with drink recipes. I don’t have much bartending experience myself; that is a gap in my education.

Did you go to culinary school? What credentials did you earn through your culinary studies?

I did go to culinary school. I have an associate’s degree from the Culinary Institute of America in San Antonio. I learned the basics of how to handle a restaurant kitchen, and I took advantage of the many high-powered culinary professionals who are on the staff at CIA. I credit my culinary school experience with the success I have achieved to date.

Best piece of advice you would give a home enthusiast?

Make sure that you create a mise en place before you start cooking. Chop and measure all of your ingredients in advance. Make sure that all the pots and pans you want to use are clean and available. When you’re not scrambling around the kitchen, you’ll be able to keep your focus on your food and you won’t make foolish mistakes. Also, clean up as you go. Professional chefs never leave a messy kitchen behind.

Best cooking tip for a novice just getting into the business?

Be willing to take advice from your instructors and your employers. You may be a talented chef already, but their wealth of experience will give them insights into your cooking. Chefs have a lot of ego, and it’s hard to let go of it when it’s time to take constructive criticism. When you open yourself up to constructive criticism, you’ll become a stronger chef.

Who in the food world do you most admire?

I never met Anthony Bourdain, but his vision of connecting people and cultures through the medium of food resonated with me. His combination of solid kitchen credentials and ability to connect with people made him such an important part of the food world. He will be missed.

What do you think is the most challenging ingredient to work with?

Seafood is challenging for a caterer. Seafood is best when it’s served directly from the kitchen, so it’s hard to adapt recipes to the point where they can be tasty in large batches. Luckily, I have some very adept chefs on my staff who can handle even the hardest ingredients with ease.

What do you like to eat when you’re at home?

When I’m not working, I eat a lot of American comfort food. Burgers, chili, mac and cheese. I know that people expect chefs to eat fancy at home, but when I’m not working, I just want something easy and tasty. I relax and watch TV while I eat just like everyone else.

What do you most love about your job?

I love everything about my job. I love creating new menus, I love connecting with my clients, I love attending their events to make sure that everything runs smoothly from behind the scenes. My best days of work are where we create a new dish to be served at a catering event. I am truly working in my dream job.