Cooking Up a New Challenge: Dustin Tuthill
In 18 years with Oneida Nation Enterprises, Chef Dustin Tuthill has cooked in just about every kitchen we’ve ever built. His next challenge might be the most exciting one yet: He’ll be the Chef de Cuisine at 7 Kitchens, our new buffet restaurant.
“This is my first experience doing a buffet-style setting—it will be a very big change of pace for me,” he said. “It’s one of the last things I have to do here to complete my resume.”
Dustin certainly has been around the proverbial Turning Stone Block. He joined the team at Turning Stone before graduating from culinary school at SUNY Delhi. His first gig: Making fudge at Opals. From there, he scored a job as an entry-level line cook at Wildflowers, where he rose through the ranks to become Chef de Cuisine, which is the restaurant’s head chef. Most recently, he was Chef de Cuisine at Upstate Tavern.
Always a trailblazer, Dustin has been involved with numerous restaurant openings around here over the years. Among them: the kitchen at The Lake House at Sylvan Beach, Noodle Noodle (which is now Sushi Sushi), Upstate Tavern, The Food Hall, and Burgers of Madison County and Wicked Good Pizza at YBR Casino & Sports Book.
“Openings are great because you get to be involved from the very beginning and help to define the guest experience,” he said.
Dustin said he’s excited to imbue the menu at 7 Kitchens with his own personal style—he hopes to move away from the traditional buffet setup of chafing dishes and elevate the presentation across the board. He noted that he is also excited to lean on new technologies, especially the machine that steams dim sum orders on demand.
At the same time, Dustin acknowledges that mastering some of the cuisines he’ll be preparing at 7 Kitchens may take some time.
For instance, he has never worked in a traditional Italian restaurant and expects a learning curve on making sauces and pizzas for the “Culinary Tour of Italy” section of the restaurant until he gets things just right. Dustin noted that he plans to lean on colleagues to show him the way as he gains experience in these areas.
“I’ve always said the best way to learn is to watch people you trust and do what they do,” Dustin said. “My plan for developing 7 Kitchens and making it successful is no different.”
When Dustin isn’t at work, he likely is looking after his four sons, all of whom are under the age of 8.
He said he can’t imagine any other work situation where he would have been able to raise a family and have so many opportunities to cook.
“Most chefs are transient beings; it’s part of the job to move from one restaurant to another,” he said. “The great thing about Turning Stone is that you have so many opportunities under one roof, you can experience all of it without having to move. It’s the best of both worlds. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”