Meet the Band- Our Amazing Kitchen Crew

Meet Our Amazing Kitchen Crew at Dogwood: Rick Jahr, Erik Litaker, and Ryan Daugherty.

We are so proud to introduce you to three of our amazing kitchen staff at Dogwood:

Rick Jahr, Dogwood’s Chef de Cuisine

Rick has been with Dogwood since its opening. Rick also opened Dressler’s Metropolitan.

What are your responsibilities at Dogwood, Rick? “Chiefly babysitting and general menu design.”

What do you enjoy most about your job? “Seasonality of ingredients and having a crew that is passionate about the food industry.”

What are some of the challenges that come with your job? “Staffing any restaurant is always challenging, in particular when you are lunch and dinner seven days,” explains Rick. “It is hard to make sure everyone gets enough work without going overboard.”

Describe a typical day on the job. “Emails with farmers and purveyors. Daily specials meeting.  Calls to the local farmers. Coordinating the day with my two sous-chefs and trying to weasel my way into wine or liquor tastings.”

What are your favorite foods to prepare at Dogwood? “Family meal for the crew before the shift,” says Rick.

What are some of your favorite things to eat at Dogwood? “Ribs are my favorite!”

What are some of the customer favorites?  “Scallops are huge. The pimento cheese here at Dogwood is amazing and we sell a large amount.”

Do you do the cooking at home? “Yes.”

When did you first learn how to cook? Who taught you? “Started cooking when I was 20 and learned from Chef Clarence Trenda in Minneapolis. Go Gophers!”

Describe the people you work with at Dogwood. “Super talented group of guys in the kitchen,” says Rick. “A privilege to have such experience in the crew.”

Any special interests? “Golden Gopher Hockey (obviously), live music of most kinds, craft beers, and eating delicious food. Also, really like my Yakitori grill at home.”

What about family life? “A special lady friend and personal nurse.”

Eric Litaker, Sous Chef at Dogwood

Erik has also been with Dogwood since the beginning. His responsibilities include menu planning, day-to-day operations, and instruction of other staff members.

What do you enjoy most about your job, Erik? “I have the chance to create new dishes and showcase my cooking style,” he says.

What are some of the challenges that come with your job? “Keeping all our products organized, and the long hours,” he explains.

Describe what a typical day on the job looks like for you. “7:00 am arrival, set up stations for lunch, daily prep, 11:00 open for lunch service,work lunch unil 2:00pm, break down lunch stations, 2:30 pm prep and reset station for dinner service, 5:00pm open for dinner service, work dinner service until 9:00 pm.”

What are your favorite foods to prepare at Dogwood? “I enjoy our daily features mostly,” explains Erik.

What are some of your favorite things to eat at Dogwood? “House roasted turkey sandwich.”

What are some of the customer favorites? “Guest favorites include fried green tomato salad, housemade bacon jam, country dumpling, scallops…the list keeps on going.”

Do you do the cooking at home? “Absolutely!”

When did you first learn how to cook and who taught you? “I started working in a kitchen at 14 years old in the dish pit. I paid attention to the chef and other cooks around me,” says Erik. “As far as who taught me the basics, that would be my mother.”

Please describe your coworkers. “I am lucky to have a very talented staff to work with. We have a lot of talent in our kitchen.”

Any hobbies, sports, or other interests? “Snowboarding, cooking, and enjoying life!”

Ryan Daugherty, Sous Chef at Dogwood

Ryan has been with Dogwood since its opening. His responsibilities include “banging out good food, menu development, kitchen clown, and fostering creativity in our guys.”

What do you enjoy most about your job, Ryan? “Creative freedom.”

What are some of the challenges that come with your job? “Keeping the crew abreast of continual changes and farm produce.”

Describe a typical day on the job. “Checking in orders, feature creation, food direction, dinner service. I also really like making delicious gelatos and sausages in a quiet kitchen after everyone has left for the day.”

What are your favorite foods to prepare at Dogwood? “Anything with fresh NC seafood.”

What are some of your favorite things to eat at Dogwood? “Duck confit and fresh field peas.”

What are some of the customers’ favorites? “Our hanger steak and anything we do with scallops.”

Do you do the cooking at home?  “Yes. All the time when I am home.”

When did you first learn how to cook? Who taught you? “First learned at Birkdale Country Club from Chef Brian Kelly.”

Describe your coworkers. “Ragtag crew of passionate kitchen rats!”

Hobbies/sports/interests? “Bowling, fatherhood, hip-hop of the 90s, and food!”

Family life? “I have a beautiful wife, Deirdra, of seven years, and a crazy two-year-old named Declan.  Also, have two fostered puppies named Slim and Chesapeake.”

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Dogwood Chatter Maker

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