Acclaimed Chef George Mendes opens up on an intimate conversation with Dorothy Cann Hamilton on this week's episode of Chef's Story. A first-generation American born to Portuguese parents, George Mendes has fond memories of the elaborate, festive meals his family would prepare while he was growing up in Danbury, Connecticut. Hear his culinary journey in his own words, from culinary school to Bouley to San Sebastian in Spain and eventually, many restaurant jobs later, opening Aldea in New York City. Find out how the lessons he learned working the back of the house with some of the most seminal chefs in the world helped shape his cooking style and turned him into the chef he is today. This program was sponsored by Whole Foods Market.

"I grew up around a lot of good cooking and that's what planted the seed. My mom made home cooked meals 5-6 times a week." [04:00]

"Having a really sharp knife is the start of everything. Too many cooks come in the kitchen with expensive knives that aren't sharp. To me - that's useless." [18:00]

"You can have a basic dish of 3 ingredients but it can sing off the table if you pay attention and do it right with discipline, focus, passion and skill." [26:00]

"I think it's important for a chef to know the basics but evolve and learn modern technology while keeping an open mind." [36:00]

--George Mendes of Aldea on Chef's Story