by Andrea Chiu, Contributor
Don’t let his title Chef de Cuisine fool you. Since joining Feast, Randy Rojas spends as much time in front of a screen as he does in front of the stoves. He’s worked at Cava and Ki, is known as “The Tech Chef” at Feast. And he is central to making sure that operations run smoothly in the kitchen. On any given day, that might mean working with suppliers, standardizing recipes or managing the kitchen crew.
Q&A with Randy Rojas, Chef de Cuisine
Randy and I recently talked about the food-meets-tech movement, and why he thinks Feast offers Torontonians something special.
You come from some very popular kitchens. What about the Chef de Cuisine position at Feast appealed to you?
I really do think it’s the future of food. The technology side of the company really appealed to me. The restaurant world has been the same for a very long time, so the idea that I could be part of something that's breaking ground in terms of using tech to find a new way for people to eat, was very appealing to me.
Tell me more about the appeal of technology.
I'm a food nerd and a techie. I have a background in computer science as well, so I'm used to online problem-solving, using spreadsheets, equations and software.
Feast is as much a tech company as it is a food company. Some restaurants are very technology averse. They don't want to invest the time to learn how to use it. They don't want to invest time in using the systems, or maintaining the systems. For me, that's very critical if you want to be successful.
What’s your favourite Feast dish right now?
I like the Chicken Gumbo. It's really been growing on me, and it's a weird thing, because I didn't initially think I would like it. We worked on our menu items for a long time - creating and tweaking, sometimes re-creating them full-on. So I knew I would like, for example, the Roast Beef Sandwich, but the Gumbo blows me away every time.
It's really respectful of its Cajun roots. There are a lot of different elements in it, so each bite is a slightly different experience. There's a good amount of spice in there. It's just a really satisfying soup every time I eat it.
What do you like to cook for yourself when you're at home?
I eat really simply at home. Really, really straightforward: protein, vegetable, starch. The starch could be quinoa, wheat berries, brown rice. Vegetables like steamed brussels sprouts or straight up red radishes. Protein-wise, I may have a little lamb sausage, or I might have a small steak, it’s always something simple. I don't really make elaborate things at home anymore. For me it's really simple, nutrient-dense meals.
If you want to convince someone to try Feast for the first time, what would you say to them?
If they were to order from Feast they should know that there are a lot of people trying very, very hard to make their overall food experience very, very meaningful and worthwhile. The consumer journey is always on all of our minds and we really do care about the people who are choosing to purchase from us, as opposed to some of our competitors.
What’s one thing Feast does better than any of your competitors?
We are working very hard to make sure that everything is top quality: delivery times, customer service, interactions on the app, creating the food, sourcing the food, preparing the food and how it's being delivered to you. All the testing involved to make sure that the product you're receiving is the best that delivery can offer, and that there's a lot of due diligence going on in terms of improving that process. We are constantly improving and working on it, and that will never stop.
Let's say someone goes through the ordering process from the app, and they get their meal, and they go back to whatever they're doing — whether they’re at the office or at home — and they finish their meal. Then they put away the recyclable and compostable things, and they sit and they think about the experience of what actually just happened in the last hour in terms of the entire meal process. They'll feel, "Wow. That was really f-'n good."