Born Clyde Dorsett in Bridgeport, Conn., in 1967, he was raised the typical New England way.
Lots of hard work is the key to survival in the northeast United States and being a cook didn't come into play until the '90s. He went to welding school at an early age but after a couple of near electrocutions and cold morning welding assignments, he knew he was meant for something different in this life.
Now the chef at The Bridges on Bloomindale Ave., perhaps his greatest influence in his cooking career came from a man named Larry Edmonds. Edmonds ran the dog track, also known as the Bridgeport Jai Alai, in Bridgeport and pushed Dorsett to his limits. Chef Edmonds was a gold medalist in the Culinary Olympics once upon a time so he knew his way around a kitchen.
It's true that pressure either makes diamonds or crushes coal, and Chef Dorsett turned out to be a gem among stones. He stopped at this point of the interview and got a great big grin, like he was reminiscing, and looked at me with a twinkle in his eyes. Dorsett went on to tell me that Edmonds had to fire him because he messed up and called in on New Year's Eve. Ah, the mistakes of youth.
He went on to The Centro Italian Restaurant in Fairfield, Conn., where he spent the next eight years working for Suzanne Wazaluski, and when she went to the Jersey Shore, he followed. He worked at a place called 8th & Central in Barnegit Light, N.J.
Of course, with all the media hype nowadays, we refer to it as The Jersey Shore and he lasted a few years until he somehow wound up in Texas and then at Malio's Prime Steakhouse in Tampa. He lasted a few years until he found his way to The Lucky Dill in St Petersburg and Buckhorn Springs Golf & Country Club in Valrico. From 2001 until 2009, he worked at both places at the same time---no small feat.
In October 2009, Dorsett wound up at The Bridges on Bloomingdale Avenue in Riverview and has flourished ever since. His favorite cooking style is French Thai fusion and he likes his steak medium rare, none of which he gets to practice enough in this typ of environment, but he's happy with the people he works with and for in this community. He supervises 17 employees and runs the entire dietary department at The Bridges and genuinely seems to be a happy man.
Author's note: Chefs don't always work in restaurants. Some do catering or banquets and some even do in-house menus.