WAT’s Proust Questionnaire: Rebecca Fischer –
Executive Chef at Clyde’s of Tysons Corner

Texas native Rebecca Jacks Fischer has been dabbling in kitchens since she was a young girl. She spent most of her adolescence perfecting pizza dough, breads and cakes and volunteering at Prison Fellowship headquarters, cooking and baking for teas and luncheons. After graduating from Bethlehem Baptist Christian Academy in Fairfax, Virginia, Rebecca worked her first restaurant job as a line cook at Clyde’s of Reston. It was there that she decided to pursue professional culinary training at L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

After attending L’Academie de Cuisine, Rebecca transferred to Clyde’s Restaurant Group’s fine dining establishment 1789, where she trained under Ris Lacoste. In 2002, Rebecca was promoted to her first Sous Chef position down the street at Clyde’s of Georgetown. Rebecca worked at the Georgetown location for one year before moving on to assist in the operations at Clyde’s Restaurant Group’s Rockville restaurant, Tower Oaks Lodge. Within two years, Rebecca was promoted to Executive Sous Chef while working under Tower Oaks Lodge’s Executive Chef Jeffrey Eng. In 2007, Rebecca was asked by the Clyde’s Restaurant Group corporate team to take on the leadership role as Executive Chef of Clyde’s at Mark Center in Alexandria, Virginia. She spent four years there before transferring to Clyde’s of Tysons Corner where she currently works as the Executive Chef.

Rebecca actively supports several nonprofits by donating her culinary skills and time to the annual Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation Walkathon and Newton Marasco Foundation. In July of 2013, Rebecca had a backyard BBQ wedding in La Plata, Maryland. She currently resides there with her husband, stepdaughter and pets. In her free time, Rebecca enjoys gardening, Sunday drives and teaching her stepdaughter how to cook.

Rebecca took time out from her incredibly busy schedule to answer WAT’s Proust Questionnaire written by Jason Veduccio.

What was your ideal job before the current situation?
I really didn’t know what I wanted to do and hadn’t settled on a career out of high school but I enjoyed cooking, I wasn’t sure what to do with that- until I spent some time in the kitchen. Growing up, I always tested things out at home trying different recipes and experimenting

What job did you hate?
I’ve never hated any job I’ve had but my least favorite job was when I worked in a bagel shop in Cape Cod. I wasn’t learning and I wasn’t challenged enough. Thankfully, that didn’t last long.

What people inspired you to follow this path?
I didn’t really know what this path would lead to when I first started. I had no idea what I was getting into (and still don’t ? ) but after my first day working the salad station and coming home smelling like lettuce, salad dressings and overwhelmed, my mom encouraged me to go back and keep trying. She’s always inspired me to follow my heart and my passion for cooking as have the rest of my family.

When you were sixteen, whom did you want to be when you grew up?
Julia Child – I adore her.

How old would you be if age didn’t matter?
Age freaks me out sometimes because I always critique my time frame of accomplishments. So I guess I’ll go with 33- because that’s when I met my husband. But on the other hand, age doesn’t really matter because you’re as old as you are so let’s go with 50 because that sounds like a fun age

How many people in your life would you call a close friend?
Five or six people (To my friends reading this, hope you’ve made the list.)

Who would get you excited to attend a meeting if you knew they would be there?
My chef crush – “Blue Eyes” Eric Ripert. Although, I love David Letterman too.

What was the tipping point in getting you into your current professional position?
I was really surprised when I was asked be an executive chef six and a half years ago. I think I’ve learned a lot of good leadership skills from my mentors along the way. Perhaps once I figured out what it really meant to be a leader -and that one of the key parts in leadership is getting people to follow you- accepting that responsibility and owning everything that goes along with it was the tipping point.

What is the single most important thing to do to be successful?
Never work alone. I couldn’t be successful if I didn’t have an army behind me every step of the way.

What is the most over-rated thing about being successful?
It’s not as glamorous as everybody thinks it is.

What could you use right now if someone would invent it for you?
The ability to add or subtract hours in a day.

What should young people know as they leave school?
Have a plan, save your money, live with your mom and dad as long as possible. Be confident.

What do you do most when together with your family?
We always cook together making as much fattening food as possible- at the top of the list being chips and homemade salsa and cheese dip. We also like to play card games, share stories and laugh until we cry.

What do you love to do with your free time lately that you would rather not admit?
What’s free time? I hate to admit it, but I’ll turn on the Real Housewives -Beverly Hills or Orange County to put my mind in neutral for an hour.

What personal or professional goals do you have for yourself for two years from now?
I don’t ever want to stop learning and I’d like to continue to teach other people.

What does your most commonly eaten lunch consist of?
I have to just eat when I can so generally, anything you can put in a salad. Let’s be honest, we’re not 20 anymore.

Who is your favorite fashion designer for business clothes?
Happy Chef or Old Navy comfy pants. Glamorous, isn’t it?

What do you need to get through the day that you would least like to sacrifice right now?
Diet Dr. Pepper. I need my bubbles. Oh, and a nice glass of wine.

What do you need to get through the day that you would most like to sacrifice right now?
Chocolate.

If all of humanity was to stop what they were doing and focus on working together on just one thing through to its completion, what is it we should we all be doing in your opinion?
We need to wake up and embrace healthier eating and life balance. Life is passing us by.