When you started, what position were you in?
Knobby: I started as the assistant butcher; basically I was the fish butcher. I prepared all of the fish and helped out with the other meats when needed. In 1984, I was promoted to head butcher. I’ve had a wonderful culinary career her at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel for the last 29 years.
What made you want to work at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel?
Knobby: I had heard that the hotel was opening and the restaurant company that I was working for at the time was struggling so I decided it might be a good idea to start looking. The hotel had an assistant butcher position open, so I applied. I remember interviewing with the chef who was the opening chef of The Dining Room. It was great because after the hotel opened, we had the opportunity to work closely together.
What are some of your special memories?
Knobby: Years ago, the hotel had a big event called World of Food and Wine. It was a weekend event where chefs and winemakers from all over the world would come to the hotel and offer different classes and programs and there was a grand tasting on Saturday night. It was always a great event and I had the opportunity to meet such amazing and interesting chefs. I was fortunate to meet such legends as Julia Child, Paul Boucuse, and Emerill Lagasse.
I also had the opportunity to meet Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys. He wasn’t here for World of Food & Wine; I think he was staying at the hotel. He asked to see the kitchen; he was remodeling his kitchen at home and wanted to see how ours was designed and what professional equipment we had. I remember he stopped in the butcher shop and we had a fun conversation about the Cowboys and the Redskins.
What keeps you here?
Knobby: The expectation when people visit a Ritz-Carlton is excellence and I truly enjoy the daily challenge of making every piece of meat and fish that is served in the hotel first class.
Any words of wisdom?
Knobby: I think you need to work somewhere that makes you better every day; and I feel that I continue to learn and grow as a butcher and as a person in my role here at the hotel.