Executive Chef Julia Doyne is a powerhouse in the culinary world — and not just because she is the first female executive chef of The Forge, an iconic steakhouse in Miami that has made its name since the 1930s. (Fun fact: Talk about historic! The actual building was originally a blacksmith's forge used to create iron gates and sculptures for affluent locals.)
We saw how The Forge has merged its past with modern techniques and flavors under Doyne's leadership in this episode of "Table 42," but how did she get to where she is today? Raised in Cleveland, she remembered the moment she fell in love with cooking: she was 5 years old, peeking over at a batch of perfectly-made chocolate chip cookies, under her mother's watchful eye. While she considers working as a dishwasher at 13 her first real experience in the kitchen, she answered her calling of gourmet dreams during her years at the University of Pittsburgh.
After graduation, she worked in New York with the greats. From serving in the kitchen of Aquavit under the guidance of the highly-acclaimed Chef Marcus Samuelsson to meeting the Michelin-starred Chef Christopher Lee, who took her in as a line cook for Aureole, she quickly worked up to becoming the sous chef of the aforementioned New American restaurant.
Doyne moved on to serving as chef de cuisine for Lee, opening up small, boutique restaurants in the Northeast. It was when Lee took the position as executive chef at The Forge that Doyne followed suit to the shores of Miami as his chef de cuisine. And when her longtime mentor had to leave his post in 2015, The Forge owner, Shareef Malnik, appointed her to the restaurant's prestigious role.
"...And I kinda knew it was gonna happen, you know? It was kind of obvious, but my heart still just exploded and I just had to keep my cool," Doyne said.
Want to catch up with this game-changing chef who is forging ahead? Here's what Julia Doyne had to say when we asked her six, quick questions.
The Quick Six
Foodable: Who is your culinary mentor?
Julia Doyne: There are so many people who have mentored me along the way. The top three are Christopher Lee, Marcus Ware and Richard DeShantz.
Foodable: Where is your favorite restaurant to eat at when you aren’t working?
JD: There's a really cool taco spot on 79th street called Firito Taco. It never disappoints. Don't miss the costilla taco. It's perfect washed down with a mandarin Jarritos.
Foodable: What’s your guiltiest culinary pleasure?
JD: Buttery potato purée with pickled onions.
Foodable: Best time management tip?
JD: Make a plan, write a list, and stick to it. Something will always distract you, but at least if you go into your day with your head organized, it really helps you make it through.
Foodable: What do you think is the biggest misconception about your role?
JD: Because of TV shows, everyone thinks chefs are these crazy, angry, aggressive people. It's like that sometimes, but we don't all manage our kitchens that way.
Foodable: Favorite kitchen hack?
JD: My coffee grinder at home has officially turned into my spice grinder.