DC Refined: These 5 restaurant workers have some awesome hobbies

From DC Refined by Lani Furbank:

“Any chef, bartender, server, or manager will tell you that hospitality jobs are demanding. Between the long hours on your feet, the late nights, and the constant pressure to create something new and innovative, it’s a wonder that folks in the industry have any time left for hobbies. Yet somehow, they manage.

These restaurant and bar stars don’t just watch TV or dabble at stamp collecting on the side – they’ve dedicated huge portions of their free time to mastering something they love. Here’s what these five busy hospitality pros do before hours.

Tarver King (Chef, The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm): Charcoal Drawing

When he’s not cooking over charcoal, Chef Tarver King is drawing with it. He’s loved art since he was a kid, but he got into charcoal drawing several years ago because of its connection to food. “We started with cooking a lot with coal in the restaurant, and trying out different woods,” King says. “I started making my own coal out of every type of tree I could get my hands on while hiking and foraging.” He’s experimented with everything from chrysanthemum and grape vine to giant redwood and cedar and found that each type has subtle variations in appearance. His work is often inspired by mythology, and he’s especially proud of the Gorgon series he completed: the three sisters with snakes for hair who could turn people to stone. Each piece is a huge time investment – from 20 to 320 hours – so he only really draws when he has a full day off. “A lot of people ask what I like more: cooking or artwork. But it’s equal, I’d say. I think one helps me to do the other,” he says.”

Gorgons, Courtesy of Tarver King

Gorgons, Courtesy of Tarver King

Jason Brooke (General Manager, Tredici Enoteca at The St. Gregory Hotel): Ironman Races & Marathons

Jason Brooke’s competitive nature launched him into the world of Ironman races when a chef he knew completed one. Brooke had been running for a few years but he recently decided to kick things up a notch and sign up for several Ironman races. That means leading up to a race, nearly every second of his spare time is taken up by training. Brooke’s schedule typically involves three to six hours of biking, running, or swimming, six days a week, on top of work shifts. He races several times a year, but this year there was an interesting snafu with the timing of his biggest Ironman race – it was right around the time that the Tredici was set to open. “I noticed that construction was moving fast, but always thought that I would still be able to do the race,” Brooke says. That wasn’t the case, but Brooke wasn’t too bothered. “I just laugh and say I just spent the past nine months training to open a restaurant!”

Courtesy of Jason Brooke

Courtesy of Jason Brooke

Drea Tateosian (Lead Bartender, Urbana): Cross Stitch

Finding herself laid up in bed for two months after breaking her leg, Drea Tateosian needed something to pass the time. “I saw some sarcastic cross stitch jobs online and thought it would be just the thing,” she says. She began cross stitching everything from handkerchiefs to office décor, and she still at it three years later. “It’s a simple enough process, and the repetition is soothing, so it slows my mind down and improves my focus,” Tateosian says. “At the end of the day, I’ve created something tangible that lasts longer than a cocktail.” The most intricate piece she’s done is a Jurassic Park-themed piece for a friend: a velociraptor with the words “Clever Girl” stitched underneath.


Courtesy of Drea Tateosian

Read about the rest of the hobbies and see the full photo gallery HERE!

Featured image courtesy of Tarver King.