What is your idea of a perfect meal?
A “fancy” tablescape with a casual multiple-course old-school French bistro menu – comfort food done right.
What recipe still gives you goosebumps?
Tuscan wild-boar ragu (my favorite “meaty” pasta sauce).
What cooking personality, living or dead do you most admire?
Jacques Pepin – he’s the man.
What’s a style of cooking foreign to you that you wish you had down pat?
British (with their Sunday Roasts, cakes and puddings).
Which ingredients do you find yourself using the most?
Eggs, butter, sugar, flour, chocolate, heavy cream – I’m a baker. On the savory side, fresh herbs, golden new potatoes, Swiss chard and spinach, tomatoes, lettuces, and red meat (hanger steak is my favorite). Organic chicken and wild game birds too, which I hunt myself.
What was your biggest culinary disaster?
I burn my toast sometimes, just like everybody else!
Jiro Dreams of Sushi. What food do you dream of?
I don’t dream of food – but I have dreamed of working on the line – which can be a nightmare, if you fall behind.
What’s your most treasured kitchen tool?
A little Opinel paring knife, from France – I can do anything with my little knife.
If you weren’t a chef, what other occupation could you see yourself excelling in?
Formula 1 race car driver.
Mario Batali has clogs. What’s your most marked characteristic?
Neckerchief bandana- always. And it doubles as a headband, when needed.
What food do you hold in the lowest of regards?
Overpriced molecular gastronomy in high-end fine-dining restaurants.
What is the quality you most like in a chef?
Honesty and authenticity. You have to be real. Faking it doesn’t work.
What is the quality you most like in a diner?
Proper table manners.
Chef Boyardee or Colonel Sanders?
Who or what inspires you?
Old-school French country cooking – fresh produce from the market to the kitchen to the table, everyday.
How do you take your coffee?
Two sugars and foamy whole milk.
What food trend drives you batty?
Kale is a super-food that’s good for you.
In-N-Out or Five Guys?
Could you “beat” Bobby Flay?
Do you prescribe to any kitchen superstitions?
“There’s no turning back the clock on disfiguring grease burns” (from a warning stickler on a restaurant deep fryer).
What’s a childhood dish you loved that still sticks with you?
Chocolate chip cookies.
Biggest cooking fear?
What do you cook on your off days?
Organic chicken breasts with rosemary from the garden and lemons from my tree
Go-to guilty pleasure food?
Chocolate ice cream.
If you ate some poorly prepared blowfish sashimi and passed, what person or thing would you like to come back as?
An Italian grandmother who makes hand–made fresh pasta for her family every Sunday.
What is your catchphrase?
“May I shave some black truffle on that for you?”