top of page

The Experts: Adam Mali

Choosing whether or not to move to California last summer was a huge decision for me. One of the biggest factors in me picking L.A. was Chef Adam Mali! I knew after one meeting that he was going to be a great person to work for, and I was right. While we certainly bonded over our love for Colorado and dry humor, Adam was a great mentor to have and I will always cherish the few months I got to work for him. A lot of times executive chefs tend to sit in their offices and rarely make appearances, especially in a giant kitchen like ours. Adam was different in that he was always great about frequenting the kitchen and advising at nearly every station while still maintaining the insane workload of paperwork, scheduling, ordering, etc... all without a sous chef. I look forward to visiting him in San Fran sometime soon now that he's the executive chef of Virgin Hotels! Read some more about him below:

Q: Tell me about your background in the food industry, what you're doing now, and anything you hope to do in the future

A: I started cooking in New York City where I grew up. I was surrounded by restaurants of all ethnicities and loved learning about different cultures and cuisines. My first job was as a dishwasher, which I moved up to prep cook, line cook, etc. I loved learning every day and still do. Currently, I am the executive chef at Virgin Hotels, San Francisco. At the moment, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are closed, and looking at how to create a new "normal". I'm hoping to design future concepts, whatever they may be.

Q: What do you think are the most overrated techniques and ingredients in the industry today, and what would you like to see more of?

A: I think the low oxygen packaging/sous vide has been way overused. There are applications for it, but I've seen it used too much, and it is unfortunate that cooks are not learning from their own senses how to cook from raw. There are applications where it's appropriate, but it's not for everything. It wastes too much plastic as well.

As far as ingredients go, in the last few years, I've seen too many additives that assist with texture and effect. I'd like to return to simpler ingredients that are less manipulated. Too much maltodextrin is not a good thing...

Q: If you could only have 5 kitchen tools, what would they be?

A: A Microplane, chef's knife, sauce spoon, fish spatula, and a clean towel.

Q: What type of cuisine are you the most knowledgeable about and which one would you like to know more?

A: I've studied regional French, Japanese, and Thai. I love Italian, and the more I learn, the more I realize I don't know s--t.

Q: What are the biggest lessons you have learned as a chef?

A: Never accept shortcuts or indifference. The minute you let them in, they spread and grow. Also, be generous with what you know, and listen to colleagues and customers alike. Get toxic people out of the kitchen, too!


Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page