Chef Q & A: Fred Braun

Article Highlights

  • The three-course dinner also includes the soup or salad and entrée choices with a third course of appetizer or dessert.
  • Cooking in a restaurant appealed to me because you could do different things with food and create new dishes every day.
Island Cafe

918 North Collier Boulevard
Marco, FL
Phone: 239-394-7578
Email: islandcafe@marcoislandrestaurants.org

Island Café offers a new flair and flavors with the age-old philosophy of quality and care. Recently remodeled and redecorated, Island Café now has fewer tables, new lighting and a new prix-fixe specialty menu inspired by cruise ships. The classic ...

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The Island Cafe

918 North Collier Boulevard, Marco

Fred Braun

Executive Chef

Island Café

918 N. Collier Blvd., Marco Island. Phone: 394-7578

Hours: Open for dinner from 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, closed Sunday and Monday.

Began working at present restaurant?

In December 2005.

What is it about food that made you decide to cook for a living?

I suppose the variety. I worked in a restaurant after school when I was a teenager and I could see that cooking food would provide me with an outlet to be creative. I started at the Sheraton in Columbus, Ohio and by the time I was 17 I was cooking. I was promoted to assistant chef at 18 and worked there five years. Cooking in a restaurant appealed to me because you could do different things with food and create new dishes every day.

What was your first restaurant job?

The Sheraton in the early 1970s.

How long have you been cooking professionally?

For over 30 years now.

What is the most unusual dish you ever cooked?

I would say shad roe because it’s something more commonly found in Europe.

Are you planning changes to your menu for the summer season?

Yes, we’re featuring our Island Café Fixed Price Menu available all night and offering a four course dinner starting with selection of six appetizers, then choice of soup or salad, along with a nice choice of six entrées, and choice of five desserts. The three-course dinner also includes the soup or salad and entrée choices with a third course of appetizer or dessert. This fall, we’re going to add mainly entrees from the regular menu. The Fixed Price Menu has been hugely successful for us and very popular with our guests.

What is the most popular dish on your menu?

It’s hard to say, probably one of the entrees from my Chef’s Nightly Specials menu.

What is one food that you’ll never eat? Why?

It would have to be something bizarre like the ones seen on BizzaAndrew Zimmerman’s TV show or a Peruvian delicacy, roast Guinea pig that was mentioned when we were thinking of featuring a Peruvian menu at a restaurant I worked in previously – that certainly ended the discussion.

Who would you like to cook a meal for? Why?

Sophia Loren. Because she has been my ideal of a beautiful woman. I would create something new and hope she would be as pleased by it (the dish) as I was inspired to make it.

What is your most essential cooking implement? Why?

My scimitar knife. The curved blade makes it easy to cut around fish bones to fillet a fish, and it’s also good for trimming and slicing a whole beef strip loin into steaks.

What is your favorite TV cooking show?

The “Top Chef” series and the new “Top Chef Masters.’

What would you like to be doing if you weren’t a chef?

Well, as a kid I thought I’s like to be a professional bowler. I always had a dream of doing a PBA (Professional Bowlers Association) Tour.

What annoys you most in the kitchen?

Unmotivated people.

What do you enjoy most about your profession?

I love that I now have the opportunity to be able to cook for someone who will remember the meal as being the best they ever ate — you know, the times you can hit a home run in the kitchen!

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