It's taken me a while to truly be able to write this entry. I've tried a few times but wasn't able to find the words to truly honor someone I have so much respect for.
A few weeks ago, I lost a friend who may have been the most knowledgable individuals with regard to all things culinary that I've ever known. Chef Ed Bilicki and I met during our training program at Not Your Average Joe's back in 2008. Both having been former Disney Cast Members, we shared an understanding for the career track the other had been through to get where they were. It was evident from the first time I had a conversation with Ed, he was incredibly passionate about food. I think I had asked him a question about Arugula and in addition to answering my question, I was informed of the origins of the plant and how the green achieved it's flavor profile. He was the type of person I enjoyed working with because he was always striving to be better, which in turn made everyone around him push harder. He understood food like no one else I've ever met and wanted to share that with anyone willing to learn.
After we both completed training for the company, we worked together for another 6 months or so in the Randolph location where Ed took over the role of Development Chef for the company. He's credited with a great deal of success with the Not Your Average Joe's menu. He found a way to express his creativity while maintaining the culinary vision of Not Your Average Joe's and created some amazing dishes. After I transferred locations, I used to giggle inside every time someone would complain about a labor intensive dish, thinking about the intricacy that Ed put into his work and realizing that not everyone shared his attention to detail.
Ed truly was a good friend, and a person I feel incredibly blessed to have had an opportunity to work with. In his quest to consistently keep learning and improve himself, he really did make me a more knowledgable professional. He's someone I'll always miss and the impact he made on me, as well as others will never be forgotten.