Chef Lisabet Summa, Executive Culinary Director and Chef Partner of Big Time Restaurant Group, has been the culinary catalyst for the group’s extraordinary growth for 23 years. She is one of only a few women in the US restaurant industry who is both a senior culinary operations executive and owner.
Favorite quote: Salt is your friend.
Fun fact: I did a report on spaghetti in 7th grade for extra credit.
How do you unwind after a long day of work? Jump in the pool and look at the moon.
What challenges have you faced in your career, and how did you overcome them? I make time for hanging out with my friends. Otherwise, I become obsessed with work and research.
What has been the most monumental moment of your career thus far? Opening Louie Bossi’s in Ft. Lauderdale with my culinary partner Louie Bossi was the realization of my dream to bring artisan products to a large volume space.
Who are your role models? Studying cooking with Chef Ralph Scamardella, as well as getting certified in Neapolitan pizza with Tony Gemignani have been highlights.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten? Keep your hands busy and work faster.
What advice would you give a young woman at the start of her career? Work with the most talented chef you can find. Cooking is a team sport and you are absolutely your brother’s keeper. Pay attention. Take notes. Travel. Be generous with your knowledge with others.
How does being a woman has impacted your career? It made me work harder to prove to all the guys that they couldn’t stop me. Being a woman has been an advantage in that I’ve been able to ask for help when needed, thank people who helped me, emphasize common courtesy and demonstrate to the men in the kitchen that women in general are worthy of their friendship and respect and should not be marginalized or treated as second class citizens.