ROCKFORD (WREX) – Patrick Alberto began washing dishes at Octane Interlounge in 2001 after losing his job.
The opportunity came up on a night when the restaurant was short handed.
“My wife had just taken a job as a server there. One night, they needed a dishwasher. They asked me if I’d like to to wash dishes. At that point I was looking for any job so I said yes,” Alberto said.
Alberto soon began climbing the ranks at Octane.
Becoming a line cook after one year of work and a full time chef through 2006.
Then, Alberto was presented with a new chance to grow as a line cook at Abreo Restaurant on the east side of town.
“I was there for about six years and I was a sous chef for three years, ” Alberto said.
“I learned most of the classic french techniques while I was there. It was one of the most gratifying jobs as a chef.”
Alberto made his back to Octane in 2012 after being offered a job as its executive chef.
Fast forward to this year, when ownership of the restaurant was passed along to him as well.
“This place means a lot to me. This is where I got my start. It’s surreal but familiar.”
The level of comfort comes from more than just the kitchen for Alberto.
It’s also about the people in that kitchen working along side him.
“I’ve worked with Patrick for the last 11 years I’d say. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to work with him over the years and see him grow as a person in that way,” Octane Server and Bartender Luis Seijas said.
Since returning to Octane, Alberto developed strong leadership skills, making sure his workers know they don’t work for him.
They work with him.
“When he speaks to us as a group, he refers to it as “we” like this is our restaurant,” Seijas said.
When reflecting back to his days as a dishwasher, Alberto is grateful for the career he made out of a job that was only suppose to help him get through a tough time.
“I was in my early 20’s when I first started working here. The second half of Octane was more fun. It was a little more challenging but it came full circle the past four years and it’s been great,” Alberto said.
Alberto hopes to continue expanding the options Octane provides to Rockford.