The Syrup Man

Adr’ain Guillaume found his calling in the culinary/food arena at an early age, witnessing his family of chefs perfect their individual crafts of baking and cooking. He had the rare privilege of having tutelage from his mother, a Baking and Pastry Chef, an Aunt as a Vegan Chef, a grandmother as a Slow Foods Cooker, his father is a Southern Chef, and his great grandmother owned her own butcher shop. It is clear, the cooking purely runs through his veins. Adr’ain quickly adapted to the talents of his surrounding and used it to foster his career path.
He obtained a Bachelor’s Degree from Le Cordon Bleu in Business Management and Restaurant Hospitality, became a well known Pastry Chef in the Atlanta nightclubs, and was a traveling Sous Chef for Aramak. From his experience with a number of renowned chef, Adr’ain’s entrepreneurial spirit was awaken, which led to him starting his own company, Unique Gourmet and his own Natural Pancake Syrup business called Unique Syrups.

I had to pleasure of speaking with Adr’ain Guillaume to discuss his long lineage of family chefs and his continued aspirations in the culinary/food industry.

BE-STYLE: Describe for me, your favorite culinary technique?
Chef: My favorite technique would have to be sauté. I say sauté because it does not cook out all of the flavors in each individual ingredient. Instead it gives more flavors to each ingredient whether it’s caramelizing or searing.

BE-STYLE: Did your lineage of family chefs influence you career path?
Chef: Yes, I would help my mother when she was baking, especially when it came to wedding and birthday cakes and I always loved to help my grandma when she was breaking down meat, especially fish mmmmmmmmmmmm. With that said, my first career choice was to be in the culinary world but to be an editorial photographer for magazines.

BE-STYLE: What is your favorite course of a menu? And Why?
Chef: My favorite course of a menu would have to be the desserts. The reason for this is because you can make a dessert sweet or savory and be creative at the same time. As with entrees, you have to be careful not to over power the meat, vegetables, and starch.

BE-STYLE: Who are you culinary or chef heroes?
Chef: Five chefs come to mind:
The first chef is German Master Chef John Kanadu, he taught me that it is not about being book smart in this industry, but how you take the basic techniques and twist them to develop very creative dishes. I have to say personality wise, Chef Kanadu was the most humble chef I have ever met in this business.
Second – Chef Dan Harrar, taught me that every penny counts in your restaurant even if it is the first layer of an onion, which we all tend to throw away. This man was funny, he used to always tell me, and I quote, “Put it in the stock.” Need I say more?
Third – Chef Sean Glenn, taught me to take my time with pastries, appreciate all the exploding flavors that it has to offer, and think outside the box because someone is always watching. This guy was the most laid back Pastry Chef I have ever met.
Fourth – Chef Klein, taught me that while creating new dishes in the kitchen, never say it was good, but be more considered with what it tasted like.
Lastly, Chef Christian Pietoso always taught me to use natural ingredients for any and everything in the kitchen including ketchup and mustard. He was a blunt chef, but taught me how to be more responsible in the kitchen. To really tell you the truth, he is the one that gave me inspiration to start this syrup business because he was always about fresh local ingredients.

If I ever owned a restaurant, all 5 of these chefs would be the first chefs to get hired or my guest list.

BE-STYLE: Which chef would you love to work for or next in the chef’s kitchen?
Chef: I would have to say, my five year old daughter (an aspiring and upcoming chef), Chef D’andre – owner of The Private Chefs, French Chef Jean Robert in Cincinnati, OH, Charlie Trotter, Bobby Flay, and the list goes on.

BE-STYLE: What inspired you to create your very own natural syrup then launch your company?
Chef: Chef Christian Pietoso inspired me and I’ll tell you why; this chef hated American made products with all the added preservatives, especially ketchup, mustard, and BBQ sauce. He would literally throw away these products every time they made their way into in his restaurant. Then one day, I started to think, he is right. We rely on these products such as corn starch, high fructose corn syrup, and etc. So, I thought about how I can make pancake syrup naturally and enjoyable with no added preservatives. I chose pancake syrup because I love breakfast out of all meals.

BE-STYLE: What are your goals for breaking into this niche market of the food industry?
Chef: To be humble, use the finest ingredients and be loyal to my product. I know this is out of the question, but someone asked me, “Adr’ain, would you massively produce your product, like 10 gallons for instance?” And my answer is “No,” because once you start going big your product loses quality and I’m not about quantity. I’M ABOUT QUALITY!

BE-STYLE: Where can customers find your products?
Chef: I don’t have my products mainstream because I want my customers to have a business relationship with me. If they want to make an order, they either can email me at or call me at 513-428-9087 and place an order. If you want to place an order, you have to give me a 4 day notice and if you want me to ship it, you have to give me a week notice.

BE-STYLE: What are you hopes for UNIQUE SYRUPS, to BEcome?
Chef: My hopes for UNIQUE SYRUPS, is to supply all natural, organic, and fine dining breakfast establishments and not to become mainstream because again, when you become mainstream, you lose quality.

BE-STYLE: What is the last thought that you would love to share with our readers?
Chef: For the upcoming chefs, I would like to say, just believe in yourself and set your pride to the side because there is always somebody better than you. In my experience, this is the wrong path to go on. In addition, a wise woman once told me – “It is not how you start but how you finish.” Nevertheless, I would not necessarily recommend culinary school. You can work for some notable chefs at well-known restaurants or hotel chains and learn everything you would learn in school plus more, all the while getting paid for it. What I learned in school was the basics and how to set my pride to the side. I learned a lot from school but I learned more from the chefs I have had the pleasure of working for throughout my career.

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