Photo courtesy Brittany Snyder
Brittany Snyder has only known cooking. She fast-tracked her life to make a living working in a restaurant and worked her way around Las Vegas before settling on her current home of Daily Kitchen in Summerlin. Off the Strip, Snyder’s been able to quickly work her way up in the management tree at Daily Kitchen and loves the environment where her ideas and concepts are embraced and being in a place she can apply all her early lessons and continue learning.
When did you know cooking was your career?
I’ve been cooking as long as I can remember. I was not a kid who wanted to play outside and my mom put me in the kitchen at 3 or 4, so there was no other career choice. I went to Johnson and Wales at 16 after graduating early from high school and finished my bachelors by 20. I had started in Miami and transferred to Denver, and wanted to be closer to family, so finished out there. Worked for two years before moving here to Vegas, and I’ve been here for four or five years and love it.
Prior to Daily Kitchen where’d you work?
Worked all around, started at Andre’s at Monte Carlo, then Spago, went to Comme Ça at Cosmo, worked Wicked Spoon at Cosmo, and my first sous chef job was Craftsteak at MGM and then came here. I was here for three months when I was promoted to head chef and then eight months to general manager.
What’s a lesson to learn working on the Strip?
It’s always at high volume and I worked under some wonderful chefs learning a lot. The biggest thing for me in the first few years was learning as much as I can, but also as many cuisines as I can. A lot with Italian and French and moved around cuisine to cuisine, Comme Ça being French—love the French and Italian cuisines—and at Wicked Spoon, under Mark Crane, I learned a lot of cuisines at the buffet, so that was wonderful.
Was it good to move around as much as you did?
Definitely, there’s something to be said about someone who stays in one place, but another for people who move around when the time is right. I moved when I felt there was nothing else to gain. By the point I was stagnant, I was ready.
How’d you get to Daily Kitchen?
I had left Craftsteak and was taking a break to be with family and my son, who needed me at home. I started looking around and was offered a few places but I had four interviews before I was offered (the job) and they were a great company and I loved the concept: all organic and open to being chef-driven. It’s so great to work for people who understand the chef.
Is working a healthy concept challenging?
It was definitely a big adjustment, not something I was used to. Some favorites I’ve had to alter to make them healthy. Its clientele are all about being healthy. I try to source fresh and organic and other than that I’m focused on cutting down butter and oil and make sure we’re giving our customers what we believe in.
Is working around a rotisserie difficult?
I definitely saw it as a challenge in the beginning as well. It’s the biggest seller and once you open the mind you can put anything up there. We have chicken and tri-tip, but I’ve put pork, salmon, anything is possible.
How about serving all three meals?
I actually thought that would be much more of a challenge. Breakfast is all day long, so there’s no hassle of turning things over. Everything is the same all day.
Are you able to apply everything you’ve learned so far in this job?
I try to apply most of what I learned every day. The biggest thing coming here is going from a big pond to a little pond and being the big fish rather than little. It helps me grow as a chef and as a person. We’re a small crew who are tightknit and we look out for everyone. I love my crew.
So going to the small pond was good?
It can go either way. Some people do it later in a career, but because I started so early, I’ve worked longer than most people my age. I felt getting off the Strip, where you can feel underappreciated and overworked and they don’t want to hear ideas, it was an eye opener coming here. They take the time to listen to what I think and want to do. That really helped me grow and I love it.