We had the good fortune of connecting with Ricky Odbert and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ricky, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I have always wanted to open my own restaurant, but the numbers were never appealing in a standard setting. This business model, due to its size and location, has given us the freedom to be creative without sacrificing the quality of what we do. Our priority becomes the experience we offer to the few that get a reservation rather than pushing people through it so we can be profitable. This also allows each of our team members to work 40 hours a week or less and still make a good living with the free time not often given in a fine dining restaurant.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Six Test Kitchen is a 12 seat counter top restaurant, the dining space surrounds our open kitchen which gives us the opportunity to connect with each guest on a more personal level. I think what sets us apart from other restaurants is the same thing that sets all creative outlets apart from one another and it is the individualism of our creativity. The ingredients we use are not rare or particularly different, but what we do with them, and the flavors and techniques we use, make the dishes uniquely ours. I have always enjoyed working in kitchens, the juxtaposition of freneticism and focus was something I have always admired about professional kitchens. I think one thing a lot of fine dining restaurants lack in their kitchen, however, is happiness. I think another thing that sets us apart, which I am most proud of, is that although we are very focused and serious about what we do, we as a staff are very close. We joke throughout the day, we help each other out. I am confident that our staff genuinely enjoys being at work and I don’t think a lot of restaurants can say that.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My family has been hugely supportive of my career, we began our restaurant as a long term pop up in my parent’s garage which we converted into a commercial kitchen with a six seat counter top. The success we had in the garage lead to our current location which my dad built from the ground up. My wife as well, has been extremely supportive through all the stress of opening a restaurant, the hours I spend staring at the menu on my day off trying to figure out better ways of doing what we do, I tend to reclude during menu changes, it takes up most of my mental capacity. Obviously, my staff, they are dedicated to the vision of the restaurant and are very integral in the momentum of the restaurant. Lastly, the cooks and chefs I have worked with in my career as a cook in San Francisco, whether the relationship was good or bad, the experiences I gained have always helped push me to be better.