Fav Comfort Food: I really enjoy Pad Thai when I need some comfort! Plenty of limes and peanut sauce if it’s an extra rough day.
Greatest Cooking Influence: I draw a lot of my passion and early experiences in the kitchen from the women in my family, mainly my Mother. I was much younger than my other cousins and always would help with peeling potatoes or rinsing vegetables for holiday meals while my cousins would be playing tackle football on the lawn or getting into trouble! It was exciting to see that one or two people behind the scenes could be responsible for an entire family’s happiness and togetherness around the table.
First thing I ever cooked: Probably pancakes and I probably tried to sneak something terrible like fruity pebbles or skittles into the batter. I was also a professional at pouring milk into my cereal in the mornings!
Fav Cuisine: I really enjoy what modern Nordic chefs are doing, very minimal and with a specific drive on foraged/local sourcing and quality while incorporating traditional techniques critical to the history of those countries- such as curing and preserving. But the biggest influence on my early thought process and understanding of flavors and palate harmony comes from Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods, I was raised with a very anglo palate, salt and butter and comfort food textures. The way flavors and compositions of dishes can go really excited me. I remember being mind-blown when I was young the first time I realized how versatile and great something like yogurt could be when found on a hot dish.
Fav Kitchen Gadget: A Japanese Mandolin. Maybe not a flashy choice- but you can change the perception, presentation, use and texture of a food or vegetable with one of these. There’s a watermelon salad that I used to do that we laid a razor-thin sheet of a whole pickled watermelon cross-section down on the plate for. It was gorgeous, like stained glass because the mandolin was able to cut the watermelon so thin. We started the salad right on top of the sheet and it made for a heck of a visual when served.
Fav Ingredient: Lemon or lime. Acidity is so important to so many different types of foods. It can take something that tastes good and open up your palate into something great and so much more complex.
Music: It depends on the night. We’ll do something chill or acoustic like The Decemberists or Johnny Cash when it’s been a hectic day. Or something like faster Drake or Skrillex when the cooks need to wake up or need some energy.
Drink: I’m trying out not drinking much alcohol lately, but I really enjoy what’s coming out of Michigan with Bell’s and their Two Hearted Ale. Any hoppy beer or IPA is right up my alley.