Perhaps the job posting read: “Wanted: Future alchemist, willing to work days/nights or perhaps days and nights. Abstract thinking required, able to do so without sleep a plus. Possible opportunity to advance. Dish washing required. $3.25 an hour. But most likely it read: “Wanted, dishwasher, apply at kitchen door of Peter Kump’s. $3.25 an hour, employee meal included. And yet Richard Simpson applied, a man already on the “real world track”, sporting a new Philosophy undergrad degree from New York University, working in prestigious firms, not washing dishes.
Chef Simpson’s family is of Irish decent, and with no real background in food, he describes his culinary upbringing as dinner as a necessary evil: Eat meals, when you’re hungry, to survive. It was ultimately a set of knives that prompted his move to the food side. When Richard assisted in the renovation of a business for a relative, he was thanked with a set of knives, and his love affair with food was born. It was then that he became a dishwasher, affording him the opportunity to attend Peter Kump’s as an employee…already an abstract thinker, obviously.
This was the right choice for Richard, moving to Chef Instructor after graduation, then to Director of Education and landing as Chef Director of the school.