Having begun his culinary career at the tender age of 14, Clayton Chapman’s kitchen artistry continues to know no bounds. Multiple awards and James Beard nominations later, Chef Chapman continues to garner national attention for his artistic presentations and fine American cuisine. His restaurant, The Grey Plume, located in the heart of Omaha, Nebraska, has become a local mainstay known for its unwavering commitment to locally-sourced ingredients. Here Clayton leads a kitchen staff of young guns that all share the same passion -- to elevate the art of cooking.
With the birth of my first child a light went off. This really forced me to look at the way we were living our lives, what we were eating and where it was coming from. The longtime chef mentality of putting more thought into technique and creating a dish was overtaken by caring more about sourcing the best possible ingredients that were grown using good practices and highlighting those ingredients; it really transformed my approach to food.
The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller "Since the first time I opened the cover, I have always been drawn to The French Laundry Cookbook. This was one of the first major cookbooks I purchased as a young cook; I was enamored.The philosophy, technique and presentation was way ahead of its time and provided so much inspiration into what food could be when you have the ability to approach food as both a craft and an art."
"I draw inspiration from all around me and in my normal day-to-day life. Much inspiration comes from just being outside, whether it be going for a walk in the woods, visiting one of the local farms we partner with or just taking my kids for a walk in the park. A lot of inspiration comes from seeing our beautiful raw ingredients come through the restaurant door. Many of the ideas for new dishes just sort of come to us naturally.”
"I would recommend for those starting or thinking of starting in this industry to work for those who inspire them. Find a Chef who you can learn from and thrive, work for free at some point because this is often the best way to get others to share their skill set with you. Culinary school certainly has its place in our industry and if you attend the right one, it will provide you a great foundation."
"I think a truly great chef is simply a great leader. A great leader has the ability to inspire those around them, is driven, leads by the right example, is empathetic, disciplined and consistent."