Restaurant Experience From A Life Experienced
By Darren Atkins
There is something to be said for life experience being helpful when it comes to success in the restaurant business. Franklin Ferguson has sure had his fair share of experience. The son of a Professor and Dean of Orthodontics and a Part-time Nurse and teacher, Ferguson was purposely moved around the globe by his parents in order to appreciate and remember his life experiences. Coming from such an educational parental background ignited the fire in Ferguson for learning and teaching others what he had learned. Coupled with curiosity and tenacity he adopts the mentality of a “break it and see how it works and let’s see if we can do it better “.Ferguson says, “Curiosity best describes it, as it pertains to food and beverage- my maxim is, I’ll try anything twice. Call it masochistic but I seek out the strange and inventive, and if I don’t like it, I’ll seek it out elsewhere and try it there.”
Ferguson grew up in several countries around the world such as the Middle East, Europe and Central America, he says “Whenever we lived in these places my family and I tried to live as the locals do, we’d eat the same foods, go to the same events and try and immerse ourselves in their culture was the food. We tried everything from haggis to bull intestine “.Ferguson’s inspiration for food and culture also came from his mother, he was always fascinated at the flavors she used in the kitchen and what spice went with what food, and it was here where his curiosity increased to a love and passion for food and wine.
Ferguson’s first foray into the food world was washing dishes at Burger King at 13 years old. Not exactly the culinary arena one had hoped. Ferguson says, “I was trained in the school of hard knocks, starting in fast-food, I always yearned for fine dining.” Ferguson immersed himself in literature, reading about French and American style of culinary service. To follow in his father’s footsteps, Franklin temporarily sought a scientific education; he graduated with degrees in Pre-Medicine, Biology and Psychology. Surprisingly his father, whom he wanted to follow, talked Franklin out of medicine and decided that a career in Food and Beverage would be better suited given his son’s dream of becoming a restaurateur.
After college Ferguson moved to Los Angeles from Milwaukee to learn about the wines of California, he lived in his car and couch hopped around Los Angeles until he found work at Morton’s of Hollywood. His old boss Pam Morton Ferguson recalls, “Was quite the bear, but I was able to help run a couple of Vanity Fair parties for the Oscars which was a tremendous opportunity.”-no doubt a fledgling leadership spark of what was to come. Ferguson left Morton’s to get his first real sense of opening a restaurant with Peter Mavrikis and Citrine on Melrose. Ferguson had made the transition back to his culinary senses that were so passionately instilled in him from his youth. This would be the training ground for what his life would become. Continue Reading…