Dean Lawrence Reed, Jr. (Dino)
Hometown: Akron, Ohio
Education: Associate degree, Culinary Arts, University of Akron
Professional Title: Executive Chef at La La’s in the Lakes
Civic Engagement: Fundraising
My Mantra... “We live to cook another day!”
Thinking back to your early years, was there a Chef or Culinary Instructor that had a significant impact on your professional journey? If so, please share. Absolutely. Instructor, and Chef Dick Alford at the University of Akron, and Chef Richard Taylor whom I apprenticed under. Both of whom are responsible for the passion I have to this day. Chef Taylor was not only a mentor he became a dear friend. I will always appreciate his knowledge of the arts and all he taught me.
What professional accomplishments are you most humbled by and why?
I would say the Senior PGA championship at Canterbury Country Club in 2009 was quite an honor. To get to work with such a prestigious organization was quite a thrill and very challenging. It was the toughest week of my career and also the most rewarding. Having my Chef coat signed by the champion, Mike Allen, was pretty cool too!
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is vital to the longevity and success of any professional. On your most challenging day, where do you draw inspiration to continue feeding your passion for this work? Honestly, I feel the passion comes quite naturally. I have always enjoyed a challenge and love to be innovative. I feel you have to keep evolving and learning to succeed in this profession.
What is the toughest decision you’ve made professionally? I’d have to say the toughest decision I’ve had to make was leaving my family for a year to open restaurants in Naples and Sarasota, Florida. However, it was a wonderful learning experience both personally and professionally.
The essentials to creating a harmonious work environment are… Keep the train on the track! That is, we are a team with mutual respect. When a problem arises we address it and move on. Keep things light and at crunch time get down to business.
What have you come to learn about success? I feel success in this business is all about passion for what you do and putting out a quality product. Keep things fresh don’t get complacent.
What have you come to learn about balancing career and lifestyle? As a chef my mind rarely stops thinking of new creative ideas. So in a sense I’m always working. Luckily, I have a great wife who appreciates my passion so it’s no problem at all for me.
What part of your job brings you the most joy? I really enjoy creating new menus and pushing the envelope. I also enjoy interacting with the patrons, as I am a real people person. I take great pride in people enjoying our food.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned professionally? How do you apply this lesson to the work you do? I feel it is important to put together a great team from the bottom up. Once again mutual respect and focus on the task at hand. I feel it is important for people to enjoy what they do so I like to keep a positive work environment. Knowing how to delegate and organization are also key.
My ideal vacation is… Relaxing at the beach with my wife!