Scouting Report: Ash Fulk

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Photo: Courtesey of Bravo

He goes by “Ash” on Top Chef, but back in 2004, when he helped Katie Grebow open Café Chloe in San Diego, he was Ashley Fulk, sous-chef, pastry chef, and official kitchen Broadway star. “He’d be singing a show tune or quoting Shakespeare,” Grebow told us. “He was always very theatrical.” Fulk also created the café’s dessert menu, and many of his dishes — like the crème brulee, the crème fraîche ice cream — are still served at the restaurant. “He’s well rounded,” says Grebow. “In addition to that, he’s worked on a farm, so he knows a lot more about preparing vegetables. Most chefs focus on the meat or the seafood, but he’s really respectful of produce.” (According to his Facebook fan page, Fulk’s motto is “If it grows together, it goes together.”)

Grebow remembers Fulk as someone who helped maintain staff discipline — a recollection that jibes with Riko Bartolome, who hired Fulk to work in his kitchen at the W Hotel in San Diego. “He was a good liaison between cooks and myself. He was good with upper management and cooks,” Barolome says. In the kitchen at Trestle on Tenth, Fulk’s current boss considers the chef a creative thinker. “He’s definitely a freewheeler,” chef-owner Ralf Kuettel says. “He just figures it out as he goes along, and the dishes usually come out fantastic. It’s a good trait to have.”

Earlier: First Word With Ash Fulk