As two of our earliest Culinary members, Brian Bligh and Walter Abrams worked with most of our partners in San Francisco and built the foundation for our culinary research and development team. Not only do these two bring major culinary chops to the table, they also inspire the team with their relentless energy and enthusiasm. It’s never a bland moment with these two!
Though Brian originally studied finance at Boston College, he eventually found his way to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park where he graduated first in his class. He spent over 10 years at the famed Chez Panisse before leaving restaurants in 2018 to become a private chef. In the summer of 2019, he joined All Day Kitchens as our first Culinary hire.
Walter began working in restaurants at the age of 14. He attended the Florida Culinary Institute where he later received the Alumni of the Year Award. His culinary experience spanned Caribbean fusion, Japanese, and Brazilian before he landed at the renowned The French Laundry for seven years. Prior to joining All Day, Walter was a hospitality consultant for hotel and restaurant projects, as well as a partner at Dabba, a busy fast casual concept in San Francisco.
How does your fine dining background influence the R&D work you do at All Day Kitchens?
Brian: Working in fine dining gave me exposure to all types of ingredients and cuisines. It helped me develop a sense of respect and appreciation for where our food comes from and the hard work that goes into bringing it to our plates. It’s also given me an eye for quality and a certain ‘know-how’ for handling ingredients. This informs the work I do with our partners, whether it’s suggesting different ingredients, methods of production, ways to streamline what they’re doing, etc.
Walter: Being able to look at an ingredient and know right away if it’ll work for the dish or not before moving on. This type of background forces you to reverse engineer meals and break ingredients down to their smallest forms – in some cases, you even try to find what’s wrong with them. Now during the R&D process, it’s easy to lay everything out on a sheet and say, “This ingredient is going to work because it looks right in color, feels right in texture, smells right,” etc.
What excites you the most about working at All Day Kitchens?
Brian: Everything! Being able to use my experience and knowledge to help restaurants get their food to more places is really awesome and rewarding, especially in today’s world. Working with an amazingly talented group of people is also what keeps me going and provides a lot of inspiration.
Walter: You can always lean on the team to make really great things happen. I love the commitment that we continue to all make as a company to strive for quality, never take no for an answer, and continue to reinvent parts of the wheel as we need to because we feel that quality is so important. That’s a huge part of the winning recipe for us.
What do you love to do when not in the kitchen?
Brian: I love spending time with my wife and two girls. We ride bikes, build forts, and just be silly. I’m also an avid runner and lover of all things outdoors!
Walter: Spending time with my family and being outside. I have a two-year old, Luke, so most of my time outside of work is spent with him. And we got chickens over the pandemic!