Interview: How to be a Culinary Chef with Banks White
Banks White is a Chef de Cuisine at Minton’s who is showing the new era of Harlem with fine dining. Minton’s just opened back in October, and they’re always bringing jazz musicians to the restaurant to enhance a southern dining experience.
Below is a summary of our interview:
“Quality and consistency will always sustain you.”
Banks White comes from a very educated family. His mother was a teacher and his father had a bachelor’s, so Banks had a set of expectations. His first one was go to school and get his career. Sophomore year in college, he was pressing his dad to go to culinary school, cause he was working with an executive chef who showed him different ways he was cooking with food. When he recommended to Banks the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, Banks really wanted to do it. And he had to prove that to his father that he wanted to be a chef. So he moved from Texas to Vermont and worked with one of the top new chefs in America. After 2 years, he went from Texas to California. He had a chance to go to Napa valley and got onto a program. He gained his first sou chef position at Auberge du Soleil. Banks found another sou chef position and another one, then fast forward to where he is now working with executive chef Alexander Smalls at Minton’s in Harlem as a Chef de Cuisine.
A Low Point
The low point is not having the representation of African American chefs in restaurants. He’s mostly been harder on himself. Banks never had those road blocks where he was told he couldn’t do something.
The epiphany moment came when he was in college trying to make the move from what he was doing to what he wanted to which was to be behind the scenes of the industry. When he was working with a chef, going from Houston to Dallas and he got to see all the different food, and saw what the career could be.
Banks’ work now
Minton’s is a jazz southern club of fine dining that serves food specific to South Carolina and Georgia. Minton’s is where bebop was transformed for Harlem. Back in 1940’s, Miles Davis and Billy Holiday even sung at the stage inside the restaurant. So the food is supposed to “marinate” that experience when you dine at Minton’s.
One of his signature dishes is their slow cooked pork chop, that they smoke whole with applewood for 90 minutes. It comes out all juicy, and smoked. Doesn’t that sound mouthwatering?
What’s exciting Banks now
Besides Minton’s being fairly new, but Banks is excited about bringing in the special guests of Minton’s, like improvisational jazz.
Book Banks Recommends:[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”center” asin=”1592408656″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/517i2jTfsLL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”purposerockst-20″ width=”114″]
Success through Stillness talks about meditation and it really changed Banks’ life.
He now recognizes what he puts in his body.
Waking up in the morning and meditating. Meditation has really helped him organize his day in his head.
Alice Waters, who told him that he should go to Napa Valley when he was moving from Texas. Her advice has been helpful.
What’s Your Purpose:
To make people happy through food and make people get together and get closer.
Where to follow Banks
“Follow your dreams. Try to find what makes you happy.”