A couple years back, a soft-spoken, rock-solid chef from Boulder bowled over the competition on Top Chef Season 5, beating a couple flashier competitors in New Orleans to take the coveted TV title.
Born in Taos, New Mexico, Rosenberg received his degree in engineering physics and wanted to become an astronaut. He might have been orbiting the earth at some point, checking out the stars but cooking got in his way and he's not sorry about that.
Short Order caught up with Rosenberg on Tuesday at the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, where he was playing some charity poker. Turns out astrophysics and gourmet cooking aren't all that different.
New Times: Chef, how did you decide to leave the Engineering Physics profession and submerge yourself into the oily, spicy, approximate world of cooking?
Hosea Rosenberg: I'm a very social person. Working as an engineer can be lonely. I knew early on that I wanted to work with an energetic crowd of people and the academic field didn't appeal to my needs. I put myself through school, worked hard and really wanted to become an astronaut. Space travel was exciting but that too is a lonely profession."
What could be more exciting than space?
Actually, I worked in a kitchen to pay for my academic studies. I'm good at math, science and especially astronomy but I also enjoyed working in the kitchen, too.
Is there a comparison between astronomy, math, science and food preparation?
It's all physics. There's a science to cooking. It's an art form that involves thermodynamics and you can really explain cooking procedures through science.
Where did you get your degree in cooking?
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Actually, I never went to culinary school. I've never taken a cooking class, ever, but I did work for some amazing chefs such as Wolfgang Puck and learned the ropes. It took many years but those great chefs taught me things that I could have never learned in school.
I'm stilled amazed at your choice of professions. More so since, as you know, many people who work in kitchens are not always easy to deal with.
Yeah, there are plenty of drug addicts and ex-cons working in kitchens everywhere, but I'm in charge of hiring in my restaurant (Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar), and I check out all of my worker's background.
You're here and not in Colorado. Why?
The Seminole Casino is a cool place. They invited me to come by and play for my favorite charity, and I couldn't refuse. It's an invitation-only, no-limit poker tournament.