David Blessing

Last Updated: February 5, 2021//Categories: Featured Chefs//

Interview Questions

(1) Where were you born /raised?

Portland Maine

(2) How long have you been a chef?

Since 1987, 34 years

(3) How did you get into cooking?

I grew up in the restaurant business. My father owned 2 restaurants in Portland. I worked at both when I was very young. My parent met in a restaurant, My great uncle’s restaurant is an iconic place still there today so basically it was in my blood.

(4) Who most influenced you?

Actually I would say my Maternal Great Grandmother and my Paternal grandmother. My GGM lived in the country on a lake and had a huge garden. She taught me to bake, to harvest wild Maine blueberries and make pie with them, how to garden and appreciate growing you own food etc. My grandmother on my father’s side was the classic Italian grandmother, she was from Abruzzi Italy and she taught me the passion of cooking for family and friends- the classic Sunday pasta and meatballs big dinner for a huge crowd of loud, passionate, crazy food loving Italians. She taught me to make Italian dishes and the joy of pleasing people through her food.

(5) Describe your career path, including education.

I attended Culinary school at Newbury College In Brookline, Massachusetts in the late 80’s. I Graduated with 2 degrees, one in Culinary Arts and Food Service management. I began my career working in corporate and private catering then into independent restaurant for the first 5 years. Them I made the move to a Luxury Hotel. I worked 14 years for the Four Seasons Hotel company where I started as a line cook then into management holding multiple positions. I opened the Four Seasons hotel in San Francisco as Exec Sous Chef for 2 years. I moved back to Boston and took over as the Executive Chef of the Four Seasons in Boston. After FS I worked as the Chef of a luxury Inn for 2 years. I was Chef/partner for an independent restaurant group, then I spent 2 years as a Regional Prepared FoodsCoordinator for Whole Foods Markets. 10 years ago I became the VP Culinary Arts and Development for Longwood Venues + Destinations overseeing the culinary program for 5 private event venues.

(6) Tell me about your restaurant/club.

Longwood is one of the Premier Private Event companies in New England. We are not caterers; we operate and own our event spaces with full service food and beverage programs. We host high end weddings, corporate, social, non profit and political events in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

(7) What do you like most about your job?

I love the creative freedom I have to continue to curate and develop our culinary program.

(8) What is the most challenging part of your job?

Trying to ensure consistency in 5 separate, unique venues with 5 different chefs and staff

(9) What does it take to become a great chef?

A strong passion to serve/please people through food. Showing respect to all staff each day. Having Integrity and ability to inspire, develop and teach people.

(10) What is your favorite meal?

My grandmother’s pasta, with her famous sauce, meatballs, sausage and Bracciole with Italian Bread.

(11) What do you do in your free time?

I strength train in the gym 4-5 days per week and I do Obstacle Course races- Spartan, Tough Mudder, Bone Frog, Fit Challenge etc.

(12) Please describe your experience with Jurgielewicz Duck

I was first turned on to Jurgielwicz duck through Dole and Bailey during the Nantucket Food and Wine Festival and Newport Mansion Wine Festival. Duck is one of my favorite things to cook and eat as a chef. I was so impressed with the quality, integrity and story of Jurgielwicz duck. I have used their duck in numerous dishes for wine festivals, wine dinners, James Beard Dinners and I use on my current menus. I am very proud to be able to create dishes showcasing the amazing products they offer. Jurg has been a great partner to me and Longwood Venues and we appreciate it very much.

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