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Elchanan Grabarsky is a master chef and writing enthusiast who made the big jump from the Netherlands to Miami, Florida.
Currently employed as a sous-chef at White Rose, a 5-star restaurant in downtown Miami, Elchanan Grabarsky is finding his job as a professional chef enjoyable, challenging, and worthwhile. Though he is far away from his family in the Netherlands, he enjoys spending time with his new family in Florida. His wife Rosaline Blanca-Grabarsky is also his boss, but the worker-spouse relationship is doing great.
In his spare time, El Grabarsky loves volunteering at local schools as a tutor and writing instructor, a habit he got into during his time at community college studying writing and literature. Though the job does not pay, he enjoys getting out of the kitchen and into the classroom when he can. He is also an active reader, and is usually found on breaks re-reading one of his many favorite Philip K. Dick books or Isaac Asimov short stories. He especially loves to read genre fiction, though the latest bestsellers from his wife’s side of the bookshelf are often stuffed in his back pocket.
As an immigrant, El has had language problems and other cultural jumps to make. They do not inhibit his work, though, and he is a highly motivated and valued chef to this day. He specializes in European dishes due to his descent and loves to stay after the kitchen closes to work on his own creations.
Other than reading, writing, and cooking, he has actively pursued his passion for skiing. Though there are not too many mountains in Florida, he tries to make it up to Colorado every year or two for a week-long trip.
Elchanan Grabarsky was born in the early 1980s in Delft, a scenic city outside of Amsterdam. His parents raised him to hold art and cooking above all else and he has yet to fail them. After graduating school, he moved to Florida to live with a friend of his in Miami. The two were close but drifted apart once he became overly-involved with school, work, and his hobbies.
His first cooking job in America was at Dell’s Burgers and Things, a shore-side burger joint ran by Tad Butler. Butler saw the value Elchanan Grabarsky brought to his kitchen, and he was soon a shift manager in the kitchen and was working as often as he could between taking classes at a community college and sleeping.
He went to college to study writing and literature, two subjects he hopes to never lose sight of. Though his co-workers and family encouraged him to enter culinary school, he thinks his experience as a proven chef is enough to get any job he wants. Hard work and sweat; that is what it takes in the kitchen.
Other than knowing ingredients and how to manage hundreds of minute variables in a kitchen, El Grabarsky has perfected the art of communication and efficiency. When there are dozens of orders to fill, lots of moving bodies, and dishes to clean, it is important for chefs to manage priorities while delivering top-notch quality food as quickly as possible.
He was as active as possible in college. He used the opportunity to delve into American culture and studied it through literature. He received his BA in literature in only three and a half years, quite an accomplishment for such a busy worker. He especially enjoyed taking writing classes no matter the professor or subject. He believes that exposure is important in the world of writing as much as learning about different points of view or math proofs in advanced calculus.
El became particularly interested in non-fiction writing, though he reads mostly genre fiction pieces like horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. Through non-fiction, he is able to write about his past as an immigrant and discover more about himself than he originally knew. The genre is becoming popular as more people are learning how to properly communicate and express themselves through writing. He has no shortage of topics, either, and enjoys writing about his childhood in the Netherlands, ski trips to the Alps, and even his first grueling years in Miami.
He knows that he will never make it is a writer but enjoys the craft none-the-less. He had to drop a few classes and even his job to meet the general education requirements during his senior year. This meant no more Dell’s Burgers, but instead he found a different chef job at an all-night diner where he met many interesting people he often writes about. The breakfast diner exposed him to a nightlife he could never imagine working at a lunch burger joint.
His next move was to Lux Bar, a high-end sports bar in downtown Miami. The dishes at Lux are over $20, but the quality and sheer variety of food is mouth-watering and tempting for hundreds of Miamians to experience every week. He started as a chef’s aid due to his lack of experience in a bar-type kitchen but was promoted to assistant chef after three months’ work. His background as a European and education (he had his degree by now) helped him advance through the ranks and earn a solid living. He even moved out of his old apartment and started experiencing everything Miami had to offer. It was in the summer of 2008 when he met Rosaline Blanca.
Rosaline, a fellow immigrant from Mexico, was an instant companion for Elchanan Grabarsky. They met during a job interview when he was applying for a sous-chef position at the White Rose, a dinner club in uptown Miami. Little did he know that his future boss would become his wife, but he got the job none-the-less and they went on a European honeymoon shortly after exchanging their vows. His full-time job at the White Rose is hectic and busy, but he loves nothing more than working side-by-side with his wife and fellow restaurateur.
On the Shelf
Throughout his life, Elchanan Grabarsky has pursued his bookworm instincts and continues to read European and American fiction, non-fiction, and other pieces to this day. His passion for adventure stemmed from reading a variety of Dutch-translated, youth-targeted adventure books. He has always loved series because they usually do not end as abruptly as other books, allowing him to continue experiencing rich literary landscapes and only having to return to the library for the next installment.
El Grabarsky’s first major series was Redwall, a collection of novels by Brian Jacques numbering upwards of twenty. He read them chronologically starting with Redwall and even picked up a copy of The Rogue Crew, a Redwall novel published posthumously in 2011.
The series took him years but that did not stop the young reader from reading other works. He especially loved adventure and fantasy growing up and just about read out the entire school library. He even tackled The Lord of the Rings trilogy when he was in high school and never skipped a song.
Elchanan Grabarsky moved onto sci-fi in later years and often went to the bookstore to pick up whatever was new on the shelves (as long as it had more than one installment). His biggest reading endeavor was Star Wars, a collection with more than 50 novels, comics, and other pieces of literature. He started reading the Thrawn trilogy, often considered movie-books “seven, eight, and nine” and moved up and down the chronology of the Star Wars universe. After three years he was on new releases, and continues to this day to read them.
His wife got him into newer and more mainstream literature once they were married. Though the Game of Thrones series is considered high-fantasy, they read them together and even enjoy watching the new TV series based on the books. Elchanan Grabarsky likes to read whenever he is not doing anything else; this includes work breaks, while he is riding the bus, or even trying to fall asleep.
El Grabarsky hopes his future turns out a lot like his past did. He and his wife are expecting, and soon he will need to cook for more than two mouths at the dinner table. His life is mostly spent reading and working at the White Rose, though he does not mind the hours as his wife is always there.
El is looking forward to attending a full-blown culinary school in the next few years. Though his original plan was to work his way up the culinary food chain, he has recently decided to try his own hand at the restaurant management business, a career his experiences match up to perfectly. He and his wife want to open a place somewhere in the Rocky Mountains where they can both take advantage of the skiing opportunities available, a hobby he has enjoyed since visiting the Alps as a kid in the Netherlands.
The currently unnamed restaurant will feature a fusion of European and American dishes and will likely have him in the kitchen and his wife managing the floor. She has more than 15 years in the restaurant management business, making her a prime candidate for a co-owner and managing partner. All he wants to do is work the kitchen, a job he has grown to love.
El also hopes to move back to Europe in his future to spend time with his mother and father still in the Netherlands. He loves the States and everything he has done in America, but sometimes it is best to go back home for a few years to settle down. No matter where he goes, though, Elchanan Grabarsky will continue reading, eating, and writing to his heart’s content.
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