In The Kitchen With Chef Julio Rosas

In the Kitchen with Gateway: Chef Julio Rosas of Back Burner

It is always quite interesting to see how interviews will go with chefs. Usually appointments are set up by the managers or staff and my initial interaction with the chef is for the interview. I’ve been fortunate to meet some amazing people during the “In the Kitchen” series and this visit would be no different.

As I made my way inside of Back Burner Restaurant, I was greeted by Chef Julio Rosas with a large welcoming smile. After the initial greeting, I followed Chef Julio’s lead, where he invited me to a small two-seat table on the patio overlooking the parking lot. It was quiet, personal and quite serene. As I have learned in other interviews, it is best to not to put any restrictions on my interviews as people tend to invite you where they feel most comfortable and at home.

Chef Julio was born in Port Puebla, Mexico, the city known for birthing the famous Cinco de Mayo, a day of celebration. He has now been a resident of Macon for twenty-two years. First coming to America with little to no English-speaking abilities, he started off as a dishwasher. However, as a very determined hard worker, Chef Julio grew quite restless with his position and wanted to do more. Slowly, but surely he made his way from behind a stack of dishes to the kitchen where his passion for the culinary arts grew.

Chef Julio credits his success and experience to Caesar, the owner of the Hot Plates Group, whom Chef Julio previously worked for at the Tic Toc Room. Caesar pushed his kitchen to try new things and always challenged them to think outside of the box. This taught Chef Julio how to pursue all opportunities for new dishes and courses.

This remained true when Chef Julio took over Back Burner. Describing his style as New American, Chef Julio fuses uncommon cuisines for a unique and flavorful experience.

Experience, more specifically the social experience. That is what Chef Julio consistently brings up when he speaks of cooking and the dining experience. It’s about the conversation. From having a chemistry in the kitchen with his cooks to bringing the meal to table where another conversation ensues with the parties, it is about the social experience that keeps Chef Julio on his toes. No one conversation is the same, sometimes the flow of conversation is interrupted by a miscommunication, but it is very important to strive for a smooth, enjoyable experience with each customer.

This also plays into how Chef Julio’s kitchen is ran. The key to success is communication, a couple of laughs and a Pepsi next to Chef Julio at all times. However, sometimes when communication is off, silence tends to be the key to success. For instance, when Chef Julio slammed a bowl of chocolate mousse on his head and the entire kitchen stood silent in awe, the best solution was to act as if it never happened. The point is that just as dining is an experience, the process of cooking is as well and it is important to always strive for an enjoyable experience.

It is evident that Chef Julio loves his staff, the restaurant and his customers. He walks in everyday with his head held high looking to create something new that will spark a conversation, a feeling and hopefully a memory.

From the dinner rushes to the pickier customers, Chef Julio speaks nothing of praise and appreciation for his staff and Back Burner customers. As Chef Julio approaches his Second Anniversary at the Back Burner, he seems ecstatic about what’s to come next, including an updated menu! As we wrapped up the interview, I felt as if I got an inside look of the Back Burner experience and let me tell you, it’s not something you want to miss.

Thanks again to Chef Julio and the Back Burner staff for letting me in your kitchen. The experience was quite enjoyable and fulfilling!