Workin It (part 1)

photo by Jody Wheat
Debra S. Bicknese
Chef / Owner, Beast

Debra S. Bicknese is chef and owner of Beast, a popular tapas bar and lounge in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. Her interest in the culinary world began as a young girl, assisting her Italian grandmother in making gnocchi.A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Bicknese worked in various Manhattan restaurants, including Mario Batali's Otto, before deciding to open her own place. Bicknese fell in love with a quirky corner bar that had been closed for over 20 years, but dated back to the early 1900's and in 2005, opened Beast. Bicknese credits Beast's diverse menu to the various culinary strengths and backgrounds of the kitchen staff; Mexican, Greek, Italian, and Australian."The staff makes all the difference," Bicknese says, "I believe that if you genuinely care about your staff and what motivates them and what their dreams are, then they are more likely to care about you and your dreams." CB