Deborah Caplan Chops Her Way to the Top of the Culinary World

Joanna chats with Deborah Caplan, Sous Chef, Butter Restaurant, about her impressive culinary career from running her own catering business in Miami, to working in NYC to winning season 25 of the Food Network's Chopped.

4/29/17 #605






"Welcome to Life & Living. I'm Joanna Gagis. From her infectious energy to her incredible talent in the kitchen, it's no wonder she's made three appearances on the Food Network's Chopped. She's Deborah Caplan, Sous Chef at Butter Restaurant in New York City. Oh, and she also happens to be my sister. [laughter] Yeah. [laughter] Welcome to the program Deb. Thank you for having me. [laughter] Well, I had to have you on. Because... not because I wanted to you steal the limelight, or because you're incredibly good looking, cause that's just what happens in our family. But... [laughter] ...because you're doing some really really really awesome things in the food industry right now. And I couldn't be more proud of you. And I figured the world need to hear your story. [laughter] So you're at Butter right now, right? Yeah. You did not start in Butter? You are a Jersey girl, but you went to Miami? I did. I, you know, I picked up my bags, and I left New Jersey when I was 18, I spread my wings. And I went to culinary school down there. I went to Johnson & Wales. And after school, I just didn't want to go right into the restaurant. I kind of, you know, had an idea in my head that I was gonna do my own thing, and live my life freely, and not be, you know, in the constraints of the limited pay that we get in the restaurant. And... And the grind that it is right? And the grind. Well I, you know, I've never been shy of the grind. So I guess that's not fair to say. I've always... You don't mind the work? I know I've always been a hard worker. But I wanted it to be my work. And I wanted it to be my own business. And I had visions of grandeur. So you did start your own business? I did. You started a personal chef business? I did. It was called Gourmet Soiree. Very cute. Yeah. [laughter] Hard to spell, but... [laughter] ...very cute. And I wanted to cook in people's homes. I wanted to have an impact in people's lives. In their daily lives. Who were some of your clients? Well my first client right out of school was Frank Gore of the 49ers. A football player? Yes. A football player. And his was a demanding schedule to upkeep. It was lunch, snack, dinner, snack for... And did you have to manage his weight as you were cooking his meals? Yes. So well he had to keep weight, and it probably would have been better if I had been working with his nutritionist to, you know, better set up his meal plan..."