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meet executive chef bob phillips

It was with great pride that we announce Chef Bob Phillips' promotion to Executive Chef of Maru Grand Rapids.

Bob has been with Maru Hospitality Group for four years, and has worked at both Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids.  As a natural teacher, Bob has a way with words that puts people at ease.  He is well-respected by his peers for his knowledge and work ethic, and we are grateful to have such a versatile chef on our team.

We asked Bob a few questions about his role and time spent as a chef, and this is what he had to say. 

Q: What is it that you love the most about being a chef for Maru?

The easy answer is the people. I have worked with some incredible chefs who were even better human beings during my time here.  We also have the unique opportunity of meeting guests everyday at the sushi bar, which is unique to any other cuisine.  We have the ability to interact with people every day and we try to use those opportunities to make someone's day.  When a person sits at the sushi bar after having a terrible day and we can flip their mood with a simple snack and a kind word, it truly makes us feel like we can make a positive impact in the community. 

Q: What makes being a sushi chef different than any other chef positions?

What I really love about being a sushi chef are the humble and simple roots of the cuisine.  It may seem easy on paper, but the simple things tend to be the most difficult in the culinary world because there is nothing to hide behind.  There is a reason that most sushi chefs in Japan almost exclusively wash and cook rice during their first few years.  The prep and techniques require precision, and this lends itself to chefs who are obsessive.  We take a great deal of pride in honing (obsessing over) our craft every day so that the humble appearing piece of nigiri we present to customers contains all of the love and care your Grandma's Sunday dinner would. 

Q: What is your philosophy on food?

My philosophy on food: nothing delicious was ever made without love.  We work hard at Maru to create an atmosphere of Family.  This leads to a low-stress work environment where we truly have a great time making sushi every day.  I think the food tastes better when the people making it are in a good mood.  I was taught when making nigiri that you really need to put love and positivity into your movements to get the most out of the ingredients.  That means if two Chefs could use the same ingredients to make a piece of nigiri, the one- soley based on the chef's positive attitude- would be superior.  That really resonated with me. 

Q: What is your favorite thing to eat at Maru?

My favorite thing to eat at Maru has to be anything made for me!  From family meals prepared in the back kitchen by our chef Luis, to chef rolls made by my coworkers, anything made for me has an added ingredient of care that I crave.  This is why I can't make myself a grilled cheese better than my mom's!

Be sure to stop in to Maru Grand Rapids to try a chef platter or piece of nigiri made by Chef Bob- no doubt you'll be able to taste that extra bit of love.