“I had a job and I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing,” he said. “I realized there is a certain amount of artist in me and I needed to do something more tangible.”
Lewis enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America and started learning the foundations of what would make him a great chef.
“It taught me a lot, but it’s not really where I learned to be a chef. Kids come out of school and think they are chefs. They are not. It takes 15 years to become a chef,” he said. “That came from working in restaurant to restaurant and discovering what I wanted and didn’t want to do.”
He worked in a restaurant in Australia, where he learned all about fish. He spent some time in Southeast Asia, and he spent several years at the Four Seasons in Washington, D.C.
“Cooking is very technical. You need to be aware of so many aspects and how they interact together, but there is also some artistry to it,” he said. “Sometimes you look into the soul of what it is you are cooking and see what needs to be done with it.”
Lewis and his wife Marianne, have owned and operated Chef Warren's in Southern Pines, N.C., for close to a decade now. The restaurant is run like a classic French bistro with Lewis taking care of the kitchen and Marianne working out front.
“We're somewhat upscale and there is a demand for us,” he said. “I love what I do. I’ll keep doing this until it’s time to stop doing it.”
Training in Culinary Arts: http://www.chefs.com/Education.aspx