Ulises Munos from Grinder’s
Chef Munos is a shy but engaging man who is clearly passionate about his work. After 14 years of apprenticeship in KC Originals kitchens, with stints at Hereford House, Pierpont’s at Union Station, La Bodega and then Grinders in the Crossroads, he is coming into his own as the Executive Chef, opening the new Grinders location at Stonewall in Lenexa. He professes his love of food was learned as a child but credits his mentors in these professional kitchens with teaching him the arts & crafts of cooking & managing a culinary team that enabled him to truly love his work. Learning on the job has also taught him that there is always more to learn from supervisors, managers, co-workers and other chefs and he spends much of his spare time reading cook books for recipes and other food resources to discover new preparation skills, taste trends and kitchen management. That’s relaxing to him which he alternates with bike riding and squeezing in the occasional movie. And when he dines out — well let’s say that he likes a great steak or Prime Rib.
From humble beginnings as a line cook charged with salad making he has graduated into the Top Dog that makes the dining experience at Stonewall hum like a well-oiled machine from regular menu items to daily specials that occasionally include a family recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup. Yet the key to his selection as Grinders – Stonewall Exec Chef is his clear understanding that consistency in preparation and maintaining the signature flavor profile are the #1 priorities. That goes hand-in-hand with making sure that all of their menu reflects only the freshest local ingredients so far as possible and is made fresh, in house, each and every day. While the Stonewall menu is identical to the Crossroads one, they have added Barbecue Brisket and the “Piggy Morgan” [pulled pork] to their regular fare – which sets them just a little apart. Asked about his secret to success and how to stay positive about a job that is often intensely demanding with long hours and endless challenges he said: “Do it every day like it is the first day – the very best that you can!” For him that includes being mindful of the guest experience – quick & friendly table service, quality food, and being good to your co-workers. With a beautiful smile, he concluded with – “that’s why I really love my job!”