Behind the Scenes with Chef Lenny Borkowicz

With the holiday season upon us, food is always a priority. We sat down with Executive Chef Lenny Borkowicz to get the inside scoop from the kitchen.

Q: Where are you from?
A: I’m from Philadelphia. My family is from the area, and I grew up a diehard Philadelphia Eagles fan along with any other hometown team.
Q: What was your first job?
A: I started helping in the kitchen with food prep at my uncle’s restaurant in Philly called The Rascal’s Roost when I was just 13 years old. At age 14, I started to dabble in cooking. I worked there until I was 18.
Q: What is your favorite part of the job?
A: I love the creativity of being a chef. I enjoy turning simple ingredients into bold flavors and tastes. I also love watching people enjoy a good meal!
Q: What would our members be surprised to learn about when it comes to the every-day operations of the restaurant?
A: I think members would be surprised to know just how small our kitchen and staff are to pull off the number of events we do. We are a team of five, including me, and we are able to handle large dinner events for the museum and campus with 300 plus guests. I like to say we are small but mighty.
Q: What do you look for in a quality meal or dining experience?
A: It’s all about presentation and service. I love to see something creative and colorful on my plate. Consistency of a dining experience and meal are also very important. If people enjoy a specific meal they will come back to reorder it, and it needs to match their expectations from their first positive eating experience.
Q: What is your favorite food?
A: I love seared tuna or a rack of lamb.
Q: What is your favorite category of food to make and why?
A: I’m an entrée guy. I like to focus on the center of the plate because that is the focal point of a meal. You have to bring what idea is in your head to the plate, not dissimilar to what an artist does.
Q: What tips do you have for our members who are preparing to host large parties and families over the holidays?
A: First, make sure you order or prepare enough, especially when it comes to hors d’oeuvres. Second, don’t be afraid to get creative; and third, always have a backup plan.