10 Questions With Chef Jonny O’Callaghan
For Executive Chef Jonny O’Callaghan, the journey to becoming a chef has been a long, winding road.
“I’ve been cooking for about 20 years now; it’s basically the only job I’ve really ever had,” he says. “It’s been full of ups and downs, full of ego, self-doubt, victories and losses, but there is no other job I’d rather be doing…unless I could get paid to hang out with my kids.”
His career started when he was 14 years old, washing dishes at an East Side Mario’s. At age 17, he attended culinary school in Vancouver and went on to work in New York City. At age 21, he went back to school in France and later competed in the Food Network’s Chopped Canada.
“Cooking has taken me everywhere and has given me the most fulfilling relationships and friendships I’ve ever had,” Jonny says. “I’ve been mentored by some of the most talented people I’ve ever met who helped shape me into a hard worker, a more honest person, and given me the opportunity to be successful.”
Here’s what else Jonny shared with us:
- What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Precision is obtainable; perfection is just an idea that will drive you crazy.
- What’s your dream brunch date?
Me and my wife in Lyon, France. Hardboiled eggs, cured meat, cheese, baguette, and hot coffee.
- What’s on your bookshelf?
About 600 cookbooks. I read cookbooks nonstop.
- What does a typical day in your life look like?
I wake up with my daughter around 6 a.m., we play and watch cartoons, and then I’m off to work for about 12 hours.
- What would people be surprised to know about you?
I don’t eat a lot of meat. My diet consists of PB+J sandwiches and coffee.
- What’s your go-to meal or recipe?
I love braising meats and making stews. Lately, I just cook whatever my wife is craving, it’s the best way to go.
- What helps you get in your flow/zone?
I try to meditate and work out as much as possible, keeping a clear mind is almost impossible for me, but I try my very best.
- When do you feel most alive?
When I’m hanging out with my family. This morning we all walked the dogs and it was a beautiful thing.
- How close is your offline life to your online life?
Obviously, my offline life is more stressful but also full of the good stuff, like kissing my wife and baby girl and the hugs…all the hugs. My online life is just updates of food and funny stuff my daughter says.
- In real life, face-to-face interactions are on the decline as the world becomes more and more virtual every day. What are some ways you connect with your tribe? What do you do to ensure you’re having authentic face-to-face interactions regularly?
My wife keeps me in check. When I get home from work I try to make sure my phone isn’t in sight, I’m not perfect with it yet but I’m trying. Being that I work so much, I want to spend as much time with my wife and kids as possible. But my wife for sure keeps me in check.
What’s next for Jonny? Right now, he says, “My most exciting project is the expecting of my second daughter, Lily. My wife is eight months pregnant, and we are just about there! Other than that, I’m working on lots of collaborations while running two restaurants at the same time.”
You can catch Jonny O’Callaghan at our September 23rd event, How to Grow Your Real Estate Portfolio with Rich Dad Poor Dad. He’ll be cooking up a curated brunch to accompany a fantastic real estate portfolio workshop and book discussion hosted by local real estate pro Amir Shahi. It’s coming up soon – don’t miss out! Get your tickets today on our event page here.