Chef Ralph Torrell
Chef. Survivalist. Entrepreneur
Coming from a large tight knit Italian family, as a child, I always found myself at my grandmother's side while she was preparing meals both simple and extravagant for most if not all of our family holidays. Around the age of 10 I started my own preparations for such gatherings. I would be remissed if I did not mention my grandfather's influence as well. King of cooking outdoors! The bounty of culinary delights that man produced on a simple grill not only astounded me but intrigued me as well. Fast forward 6 years to my first introductory culinary job. I was a fry cook at a concession stand at a public pool seasonally. The next year I was promoted to grill. The year after that the owner saw I could take on great responsibility so he fired the new fry cook and I was responsible for both stations. A year later at the age of 18 I became the youngest person the owner made manager. I was in charge of 4 locations fresh out of highschool. Since most of these locations were summer seasonal I was able to enroll in college as well, there was some over lap but I always made it work. It was at this time I started to offer private catering to family and friends. That's when "The Guilded Gourmet" was born. My first private label. After 2 year's of managing locations for someone else I tendered my resignation to dabble in some other businesses. I got bored really quick. Cooking is what I know, it was something instilled in me by generations past. I was offered a position of executive chef at a friend's diner after I catered an event for them. I took the Job. It was a great ride! It was a small 1950s train car style diner, they sure don't make them like that anymore. It was all the buzz in local media and newspapers even a "New York Times" write up for up-and-coming establishments. Unfortunately they lost the lease. And I was let go. I was lost at this point, my mojo was gone. So I went back to college again, for another degree. This time for culinary. The chairman of the culinary program just happened to be a long time family friend. He knew my industry experience and allowed me to do something that was never done before. I simultaneously took 4 years of culinary courses in 2. I made the dean's list both years. This was definitely an ego boost that I needed. I was affirmed and reinvented. After that I struggled a bit to find my way. I went back to the private sector. Sold my soul to a few conglomerate companies which I can't mention (NDN) if I still wanna get the checks.