She worked at Tantra
six years ago and that was it. She hasn't cooked since before the show. She's a pharmacist. Her mom owns some online pharmacy. She does a little catering gig here and there on the side.
So back to you. When you auditioned, did you feel confident you got the gig?
I felt decent about it, but there were 180 people auditioning.
Are you glad you went on the show?
To be able to cook for Daniel Boulud, Jean-Georges [Vongerichen], Emeril Lagasse... to have them talk about me and my food, what I did right and what I did wrong, you can't get that anywhere. These are people you only read about.
Did you really learn anything from their constructive criticism?
Absolutely. I learned that I enjoy going above and beyond, and doing a lot of different components and steps. But when you're totally out of your element, you have to simplify to get the basics of the dish done.
What was one of your best memories?
I got to cook for Emeril on TV! He called me "an amazing young man." It was one of those moments I was like, wow!
Did you know you were coming back to The Ritz after the show?
Yeah. I love the job here. My boss, Thomas, he's amazing. Before any of this, he sent me to Egypt to work for a couple of months... to Istanbul, to Turkey to learn at the Ritz there. I got to travel around.
What type of cuisine are you most curious about?
I started cooking Southern in the South. In Charleston I got to refine that and French. Then we refined the menu to add Thai. In the Caribbean I did Caribbean food. Norman's was more Pacific Rim... If there's anything I missed, let me know.
Hmm, I haven't worked in a straight-up Italian restaurant...
Tomorrow, we'll talk about McInnis' favorite mode of transportation, his plans to return to television, and why he thinks kiwis are just downright silly.