What’s a guy supposed to do when he’s been cooking since age 15, graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, runs the kitchen at a swank Greenwich CT country club where he meets and marries a knockout Rumanian who proclaims: “I want to be am American,” once they have two young boys and a townhouse in Danbury CT and the late night cooking, drinking party life no longer suits? If you’re Rick Demers, you chuck it all to become a lunch chef in a private school. “I make half the money I did, but I love it.”
Rick works for Flick Hospitality Group, who contracts the food service for The Wooster School in Danbury. Flick provides a wide range of services to many different clients. Wooster invests in Platinum service: organic or locally sourced food served on china plates with flatware. “Whole food comes in the back door and real food gets put on the table.”
Rick’s son, who attends the Danbury Public Schools, gets a carton of mile, pre-packaged fruit and a reheated entree in his Styrofoam lunch carton. Next year, Rick hopes both his sons will attend Wooster School. Not just for the lunches, for the phenomenal community he witnesses there.
Over a superb dinner of fresh asparagus and corn, braised chicken, grilled steak and local beer, we discuss Michael Pollen, the value of organics, and how more people can access quality food. “Ever since The Food Network, everything changed. The resources for truly good food did not used to be here. Fast-forward thirty years and New York is a food mecca. The chef used to be a guy in the back; the manager was the star. Now that’s flipped.
“People ask me my specialty. Realistically, I can cook anything. Right now I am doing lots of curing and smoking, which are technically challenging. I also do home brewing. We have a brew club at school with staff and parents who are making good beer.”
How will we live tomorrow?