Trevor Scott is the Executive Chef at Ciao Hound at the Postcard Inn in Islamorada, Florida. The night that I was there, the medium-sized Italian restaurant was about half full. It has a casual, inviting atmosphere and people seemed to be enjoying themselves. Unusual about the Ciao Hound is that there is a place outside for dogs on a leash. They will give your pet a bowl of water and there is a doggie menu. Here is my conversation with the chef.
The Daily Meal: How did you get into cooking? What were your early influences?
Chef Trevor Scott: My passion for cooking started at an early age. As a boy growing up in Puerto Rico, I began cooking with my mother and watching gardening and cooking shows on TV. My mother’s influence and that of the celebrity chefs I saw on TV started my life-long passion for fresh food and gardening.
My school in Puerto Rico offered cooking classes where I learned the basics and had the opportunity to cook and taste new and different foods. My interest in cooking did not end at school. I would go home to my mother and ask her if I could cook with her. It’s these cooking sessions where my passion for food and cooking really took off.
How do you select and work with suppliers?
I do research and conduct face-to-face interviews prior to choosing a supplier to work with, to ensure that they are the best that I can find. I primarily check what vegetables are offered to make sure that they are in the peak of season and the freshest possible.
Do you have a specialty, a special dish?
I truly enjoy cooking Italian and French food and love making osso buco. I feel that every dish is special and don’t like to name favorites. If I had to choose, my favorite items to make are actually on the menu at Ciao Hound; the chicken saltimbocca and the linguini vongole.
How do you create and maintain an atmosphere that is productive and creative in the kitchen?
I work very closely with my team and encourage a team environment where everyone is held accountable for the look, quality and taste of the food that is coming out of the kitchen. I also encourage my team to showcase their knowledge and teach techniques to others that can better the entire team. One kitchen requirement of our chefs is that staff must taste the food before it leaves the kitchen to ensure that it is up to standard.
Do you want to have your own restaurant someday?
For now, no, I do not aspire to own my own restaurant. My main goal is to continue to grow within the company and continue to help others improve their skills.
What are your hopes and plans for the future?
My ultimate goal is to make Ciao Hound the best Italian restaurant in the area and a must-stop dining experience in the Keys. My 5-year goal is to become a regional chef for Ocean Properties, the management company for Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina. I’m dedicated to my team and would like to grow within the family.