Eric Schmitt - Vice President
How long have you been with Rapids?
What was your favorite project? Why?
Lowry Hill Meats in Minneapolis was a great project to work on. The ownership team for this operation was looking to unlock some potential in an artisan butcher shop in the Uptown neighbourhood that sorely needed a purveyor of high quality meats. We were able to sit down and develop a great concept that allowed the customers to see into the butcher operation in a way that they have not been able to many times in the past. With windows into the meat cooler and an open prep and cooking area, the aim was to bring the customers a little closer to their processing of their meats. With an ever growing trend towards knowing where your food comes from, this space was a revelation for me when it came to a creative owner making the kitchen a bit less confidential.
What was your most challenging project? Why?
We had a chance to work on an Army Reserve Center kitchen project in central Minnesota that was a great opportunity but presented a fair number of challenges. Government projects can be tricky as many times the project decision making ladder is extensive. We received the initial kitchen designs and identified several areas that were of concern as far as labor efficiency and employee safety.
What was your solution?
Our DSR, design team, and I worked in tandem with our manufacturers to come up with a range of solutions that we then took to the government for consideration. After several meetings to implement this changes, we were able to not only reduce costs by 20%, but drastically improved the space’s operation. It was a great project – to take a challenge and turn it into a unique and effective solution.
Name some of the projects you’ve worked on.
- Lowry Hill Meats (Minneapolis, MN)
- Silhouette Bakery (St. Paul, MN)
- Hell’s Kitchen (Minneapolis, MN)
- The Lexington (St. Paul, MN)
- 3M Center Buffet Renovation (Maplewood, MN)
What are you working on currently?
I have several projects going on with a wide range of customers. The best part of working on various projects with different owners is to see how each of them approach their food service operations. Some customers with practicality, and some with a bit more flare. Each one of the projects I have going now is very different, and it has been great to be a part of it with them.
What do you like to do on a Sunday afternoon?
With two kids under 5, the best thing to do on a Sunday is to get outside and enjoy the weather. Sitting inside is not an option. If we have the luxury of getting a babysitter, then I love getting out for a beer or two at a craft brewery and enjoying some time with friends and family.
If we gave you next week off, what would you do with your time?
Initially, I would probably assume that everyone has grown tired of my loud phone voice and my time at this fantastic place has come to a permanent end. After being calmed down, I would start to think rationally about how to use this new found time off. I would love to go on a road trip with my family out west. We did this all of the time when I was a kid and the greatest memories were made on those trips. I imagine that with my luck the trip would be along the lines of the Griswold family vacation but, hey, that is what makes the trip worth doing.
What was your last “oh my god this is perfect” meal?
Chicken Tika Masala at Everest on Grand in St. Paul, MN. This is the first place I can definitively say that the staff new our family’s “regular” order. I know not everyone is into Indian food, but believe you me, this stuff is out of this world good. I find that sometimes the most unassuming places have the most unbelievable food. This is that place.
What is your best dish?
In my mind, everything I make is on par with some of Thomas Keller’s dishes at the French Laundry. But the unfortunate reality is that I am the only person who really thinks that. If you asked my daughter what my greatest dish is, it would probably be my Frozen themed pancakes. If you asked my wife, it would probably be my butternut squash risotto.