This week’s spotlight is on Dave. Apparently, he’s been waiting forever for his interview. Sorry I took so long, Dave! So read on and let’s get to know him!
Name: Dave Walker
Age: 42, Birthday February 21
Position: Chef/Kitchen Manager
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Favorite WHBC Beer: Isle of Wheat
Favorite WHBC Food: Non Wontons
Education: Plum High School, PA
WHBC: Hey Dave – so tell me how long you’ve been here. Since the start?
D: Before we opened actually. I helped with the construction.
WHBC: How did you find out about the position open here?
D: I saw it on Facebook. And I knew Robert.
WHBC: Does everyone know Robert?!
D: Ha! Yeah, I used to go up to the Grille and shoot pool. Knew him from there.
WHBC: Where were you working before this?
D: I was at the Smithfield Inn for 13 years. I left there to go to the Cypress Cove Country Club, but only stayed there for 6 months because it was boring and not at all busy.
WHBC: So you’ve been a chef quite a while. Is this always what you wanted to do?
D: I watched my mom and grandma cook while I was growing up. I moved here in 1986 and started working at Fire and Ice in Hampton as a dishwasher. I showed an interest in cooking and one of the chefs there gave me a shot. Started teaching me and I ended up running the kitchen there before they closed.
WHBC: Why this profession?
D: I love food. haha. I like to see people eating my food and being happy. How can I say this…Food brings people together. I come from a big Italian family and that’s just what we did. We all got together on Sunday, ate, and had fun.
WHBC: Well said! So did you help create the menu here?
D: Not in the beginning. Robert had ideas for pub/bar food and my experience was more in fine dining. I do it now though.
WHBC: Which dishes are your babies?
D: The meatloaf, a different chicken sandwich, the fried green tomatoes, and the marinara is my recipe too.
WHBC: The meatloaf is one of my favorites! So being the manager, you still work the line too, right? How do you get yourself and the guys through when it gets slammed and you’ve got tickets coming out all over the place?
D: We just focus, stay calm, and do what we have to do. I say don’t let one screw up slow you down. Get past it and move on.
WHBC: That’s pretty solid advice. If I were to ask the line, what would they say about working with you?
D: Haha. I think they’d say I’m fun to work with and that I let everyone be themselves and be creative.
WHBC: What is your favorite part about working here of all places?
D: I know everyone says this, but the people. They’re fun to work with and this is a fun place to work. Lee is an awesome boss and looks out for everybody.
WHBC: Do you have a favorite person to work with?
D: No, I don’t play favorites. I really like working with all of them!
WHBC: What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you while working?
D: This just happened not too long ago. I was cooking pork butts to finish them in the oven. Tom pulled them out and some grease spilled out without him knowing. It wasn’t long until the oven caught fire and I had to run for the fire extinguisher to put it out!
WHBC: Hahah. That is very reminiscent of Thanksgiving at my house a few years ago. Turkey grease spilled and caught the oven on fire. haha.
WHBC: So when you’re not working, what are you up to?
D: I just hang out with friends, shoot my guns ad play corn hole. I think it would be cool to have a corn hole tournament between the local restaurants. But we’d have to not be working to be able to do that!
WHBC: That would be fun, although I suck at cornhole! So tell me about your family.
D: Most of my family is still back in Pittsburgh. My kids are here in Smithfield. I have four kids; they’re 19, 18, 16, and 12. Jacob and Justin both work here. And I have a 1 year old grandson.
WHBC: And he’s adorable! So tell me something the world might not know about Mr. Dave Walker.
D: I’m nicer than my coworkers think. And I like to work on cars. My dad and grandpa taught me while I was growing up and it just stuck with me. I’d like to restore my truck one day soon.
WHBC: So are you ready for the weird questions? I like to save these for last! haha
D: I’ll tell you right now the super power I’d want – to get rid of stupidity! haha.
WHBC: Wouldn’t that be something?! So my question to you then is if you were a time traveler, where and when would you go?
D: I think I’d go to the early 1900s to Italy. That’s where my family is from and I’d like to see it. And I’ve never been.
WHBC: Have you ever been out of the country?
D: Just recently actually. We went on a cruise to Cozumel, Jamaica, and Caymans. We got to swim with sting rays and snorkel the coral reefs. In Mexico we hung out on the beach. I didn’t like Jamaica though – people were pushy and there were a lot of drugs. The island was beautiful though.
WHBC: Last question – what’s your catchphrase? If I were to ask around, how would people finish this sentence? Dave always says…
D: Now I can’t tell you that because they all have the F word in them. hahah
WHBC: Yes, then best to save those I guess. Haha. Thanks for talking with me – it was fun!
So I’m doing something a little different – giving it a try, spicing things up, stirring the pot… you get it. Keep reading to see what some of Dave’s coworkers had to say about him.
I asked what it is like to work with Dave.
Nick: ” It’s intimidating, but rewarding. He’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen. He’s a really good role model.”
Sam: “He awful, the worst ever. He beats us when no one is looking. Seriously… he’s really great. No complaints here. Hopefully I won’t get fired for saying the first haha.”
Tammy: “You gotta keep his water jug refilled. If he’s got water he’s happy. If you’re doing what you’re supposed to do, he’s happy. He doesn’t like confrontation. Dave is very focused. He’s hilarious and sarcastic. If you don’t know him, some might take it personally, but you can’t. It’s all in fun. Dave is super creative, hard working, the energy of the kitchen, has a great laugh, and can whip up some of the best desserts I’ve ever had. That’s saying a lot since I don’t really eat sweets. When he’s working, I know whatever comes our way, we can get through it!”