By March, William Bloxsom-Carter will have been executive chef and food and beverage director at Los Angeles’ Playboy Mansion for 25 years. The chef and his staff of 18 are responsible for not only feeding Playboy Enterprises Inc.’s Hugh Hefner and residents of his home, but also guests at a private hotel, a corporate fine dining room and corporate and charity events every year.
He is scheduled to participate in two seminars at the Produce Marketing Association’s Foodservice Conference & Exposition on Aug. 1 as a guest celebrity chef.
Q: What led you to your current position?
A: I started cooking back in 1979, after I graduated from college with a degree I didn’t feel comfortable with, working in a couple small little restaurants on the East Coast. I sort of enjoyed it, and one of the chefs there asked me, if I was going to take this career seriously, would I like to train under a master French chef. I worked for this chef for over two years and traveled through Europe as part of his chef’s brigade.
I moved to California in the 1980s, and it was kind of like I’d hit the lottery as far as fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, chickens. Even back in 1980, there was a real trend of farm-to-table type mindset out here in California. That really was enlightening for me, and I jumped in with both feet.
I went to work at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades probably in 1983 as the banquet chef and I tried to introduce more fresh items to their banquet operation. I was met with a little bit of frustration, so I went to work for a restaurant out in Malibu called Beau Rivage, which is still open today. It’s a wonderful Mediterranean-style restaurant.
I feel that the Mediterranean influence, coupled with the bountiful fresh produce and meats and fish that we’re accustomed to here on the Pacific Coast, it really drove me a little bit further. I responded to a blind LA Times (classified ad) back in probably late 1985, and I interviewed with Playboy. It took four interviews over six weeks to be offered the position, but after the second interview I really wanted it because I could see where the potential was to be cooking not only for Mr. Hefner, but for all the guests from around the world that come to the Playboy Mansion every year. Some may say, “Oh my gosh, 25 years in one place.” Well, you’re only as good as your last meal. I’m always growing, I’m always creating new things, trying new things.