River City Six: Zac Clemetson
Located at 12750 Westport Pkwy in La Vista, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and Liquid Sunshine Taproom (drafthouse.com/omaha) combine to offer an entertainment experience that’s second-to-none. Zac Clemetson is the Executive Chef at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Omaha.
How did you get started in the business?
My first job was washing dishes when I was fourteen. That job transitioned to prep cook, then line cook, etc. Along the way, I was fortunate to work for a number of different chefs who helped me learn how to be a leader and operate a kitchen effectively and efficiently.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced professionally?
This job is the biggest project that I have worked on to date. I have been part of opening new restaurants in the past, but my previous experience was with smaller, neighborhood restaurants. I have never before been so closely involved with all aspects of launching a new business. From kitchen design, equipment and small wares ordering, initial staff hiring, menu creation, and training to the grand opening, there was a lot to learn.
What has been your most important achievement professionally?
I have had quite a few talented young chefs start their careers working for me. Now, many of them are executive chefs or general managers. It is incredibly rewarding to watch someone who I helped to mentor go on to run their own kitchen.
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life?
My son was born on my birthday in 2013. That is easily the biggest turning point in my life. He’s awesome.
What is your favorite thing to do on your day off?
I love spending my days off hanging out with my son. Also, I play golf as often as possible.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?
About a year ago, I began creating golf-themed paintings in my spare time. I was invited to be the featured artist at Jake’s in Benson for the months of July and October this year.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
When you have a strong feeling or gut reaction about something, whether it be a person, place, event, etc. – trust your intuition, and make a decision based on that intuition. Do not waste time questioning whether it is right. It is. And if it’s not, at least you saved some time! Basically, trust your gut.
If you could choose only descriptive word to be remembered as, what would it be?
Which talent would you most like to have?
To speak more than one language.
If you could choose any other profession to be successful in, what would it be?
I would like to have a career in astrophysics. I am fascinated by astronomy and quantum mechanics. What does Neil DeGrasse Tyson do all day? I want to do that. Well, that or sports broadcasting.
What is your favorite book or the last good book you read?
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
What is your favorite local restaurant?
Au Courant in Benson. The menu changes frequently and it is always fresh and innovative. The chef there used to work for me years ago. He went on to train in Europe and around the US. The food is perfect every time.
If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so?
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: drafthouse.com/omaha.