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Aaron Staudenmaier’s world has always revolved around food. Today, he’s the Concept Chef for Whiskey Cake in Plano but growing up in the midwest, his family always had a garden and traditionally sat down together for family dinner.
“Every coming-of-age talk happened with my dad at the kitchen table. I don’t remember a time when food wasn’t a part of my life.”
Shortly after graduating high school at 15, he moved to Dallas and found himself in the kitchen at the Mansion on Turtle Creek cooking under the Chef Dean Fearing.
“Three days in I realized I had no idea what was going on. Up until then I thought cooking was just a job, not a career. So, I told Chef Fearing he could fire me, or he could keep me and I’d be the hardest-working, best cook he’s ever had.”
That moment was a turning point for Staudenmaie, and he went on to become the youngest sous chef in the history of the Mansion. He continued to grow as a chef alongside another iconic Dallas chef, Kent Rathburn, at Abacus and then opened Lovers Seafood in 2016. A year later, he was approached about joining Whiskey Cake as their Concept Chef.
Two years into his tenure at Whiskey Cake, Staudenmaier plays a key role in growing the brand, and they are on track to open two locations by the end of 2019 and another five or six locations in 2020.
“We want to bring the Whiskey Cake experience to as many people as possible. But you can’t change culture, experience and food too fast. We have to find the right fit and the right people.”
Staudenmaier works hard to keep the everyday tavern experience as authentic as possible and says that there’s no such thing as as stereotypical experience. Whether guests are coming for a date night, a business meeting, or just to have a drink at the bar, he hopes everyone leaves having the experience they came in for and wanting to tell people about it.
“If you come in wanting to have a good old cheeseburger, we can get you a damn good cheeseburger. And if you’re there for a foodie experience and a whiskey cocktail, we can do that too. Our servers are there to educate, give recommendations and make sure you have the experience you came for. Just don’t ask us for the Whiskey Cake recipe – that’s one thing we’ll never give away.”
Collin County Heart Ball:
American Heart Association’s Collin County Heart Ball promises to be an evening of exquisite food, spirits and passion, bringing community and philanthropic leaders together, Saturday, November 9, 2019 at the Omni Frisco Hotel. Led by Head Chef Aaron Staudenmaier, attendees will have the opportunity to visit chef stations from many of Collin County’s finest restaurants as part of a unique culinary experience.
For tickets and information visit collincountyheartball.heart.org.