Chef Mark Hitri is a chef instructor for The Culinary School of Fort Worth. We did a Q&A with him to get to know him a little better! Here’s what he had to say:

Why did you get started in the culinary field? What was your first job?
I started at a Dairy Queen in order to get money to be in a rock band. I needed to buy a bass guitar and amp.

Who are some of your biggest culinary inspirations?
Chef Daniel Boulud is probably the main one for the longest time. I’ve come to really enjoy Chef Massimo’s passion for cooking. And then also Chef James Morris. He is a local chef and one of my mentors that I worked with three different times at The Worthington Hotel. He has been a big inspiration for me.

What are you most passionate about in the kitchen?
I’m most passionate about food that brings people joy and allows people to come together and experience things around food. That’s what I like the most is that it can bring people together.

Do you still cook at home? If so, what are your go-to dishes?
I still cook at home, but mostly it’s things that my high school boys will want to eat. The go-to dishes are instant ramen, but then I’ll jazz it up with the six minute eggs and pork belly and some other things to jazz it up. Then other simple things like casseroles are also go-to dishes for me.

What made you want to get into teaching?
Even before I was a musician and started cooking, I had gone to college thinking about being an English teacher. I’ve also taught Tae-Kwon-Do. I like teaching people and helping them achieve whatever they want to achieve in their lives.

What do you find to be most rewarding about working in a classroom setting?
The most rewarding thing to me is when students get that “a-ha moment” and make the connection that they can do these things that once seemed like magic to them. But once they get it down that they can do this, it’s exciting. I love watching them grow and exposing them to new flavors and tastes.