Brian Plum is the Executive Chef at The Waterfront Restaurant and Tavern in La Crosse, WI. Chef Brian Plum is extremely passionate about the food he serves and sources fresh and local ingredients for his dishes. Learn more about Chef Brian Plum…
Hometown: Orlando, FL
First job: My first job was at Dairy Queen, believe it or not, and I thought I had hit the jackpot! Going into the job, I thought I was going to eat so much ice cream that all of my biggest dreams had come true… in actuality, I learned that it is possible to have too much of a good thing: it took quite some time for me to appreciate ice cream again.
Favorite WI restaurant: My favorite Wisconsin restaurant is The Waterfront, of course! Additionally, I love going to the Old Stone Barn in Nelson, Wisconsin, as the entire experience is amazing. We usually are able to make it a day trip visiting the Old Stone Barn.
A person who has impacted your life the most: The person who has impacted my life the most is Argentine celebrity chef Francis Mallmann, who has an an incredible talent with Patagonian cuisine and a focus on the methods of barbecuing. His work is incredible, and has greatly inspired how I approach my work!
Your biggest accomplishment in your eyes: My biggest accomplishment has been my time as a Chef while working at Twin Eagles, a country club in Naples, Florida—we received the Emerald Club Level designation, only obtained by the most prestigious country clubs in the world, and it was a great honor.
The biggest obstacle you have overcome: I have faced no major obstacles in my career, but I’m positive and always looking forward to the future; ready to pivot as necessary to be successful. It is always about attitude and perspective.
Someone who inspires you: One of my biggest inspirations is Marcelo Garcia, a world champion master of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Garcia came from extensive obscurity in his life, and has morphed into arguably one of the greatest fighters of all time, while maintaining his reputation for being extraordinarily humble and kind.
Favorite Quote: One of my favorite quotes is “Only the fool rushes to the newest fad, while the wise mans taps into his own history,” and it sincerely is the mantra for my life. In this industry, there is always something new trending, but it is important to understand and recognize that without embracing your own history and knowledge, you will have no solid foundation to pursue further successes and innovation in life.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: My advice to someone who is pursuing a career path in this industry is to find someone great in the culinary field to serve as a mentor, and learn everything you can. Truly devoting yourself to this art is critical, and you have to understand that passion without execution is meaningless. Goeth once said “Absolute activity, whatever kind, ultimately leads to bankruptcy,” and cultivating a sense of discipline and perseverance is essential to success. You have to take care of yourself, as success in this industry is not a one-and-done sprint.
What you think makes someone fabulous: Something which makes an individual fabulous is the ability to understand accept who they are. Someone who can look their flaws in the eye and work on improvement each day, while still loving and honoring who they are as a person, is an incredible indicator of growth and maturity.