Chefs you admire:
My mom, and anyone who can put a flair on food with decorations. I have a hard time with the “presentation” part.
What cooking shows do you watch?
I don't get cable so I can only see the travel/cooking show on PBS. I’d love to watch the show with the guy who look sat food scientifically, because I think that’s very interesting, but it’s on cable and I can’t remember the name of it.
Your must-have kitchen accessory is:
A sharp knife, or a big cutting board. Nothing is MORE annoying than hacking at veggies or trying to slice and dice on a small board, stuff flying everywhere, getting messy.
What is your go-to ingredient?
Olive oil – oil is used in a lot of dishes and its my healthy sub for veg oil.
How many courses should a meal have?
I'm not sure I understand the difference between "course" and "side dish" - but it usually seems hard to balance the flavors of more than 3 dishes.
What's your favorite course?
Any of them but dessert. I really don’t care for sweets.
What famous person, living or dead, would you like to make a meal for?
Well gee that's a lot of pressure. Surely if they're famous they'd have eaten lots of good stuff? Okay, so how about someone who was famous when they were dead but a pauper when they were alive...like that famous poet. What is her name…She lived in a droll little house in New England and wrote about sad stuff and died penniless…Emily Dickinson! I bet she would appreciate some tasty food.
And, what would you serve them?
Hmm. Chicken enchiladas with ranchero sauce. Bet she's never had THAT before.
What's your favorite style of cooking?
Simple and do-able, and then flexible. I don't care for pretentious food or something that requires EXACT science to where it’s almost a miracle that it comes out right. In my opinion cooking should be fun not stressful. I also love being able to customize recipes which applies to most, but some recipes don’t let you stray too far from the original.
What nationality of food do you like the best?
Depends on my mood. I think all cuisines have their ups and downs. Also, it's so hard to really know what a nationality's food really is unless you travel and/or live there for some time. So yes, I’ve had some Italian and French…but have I?
What's your favorite meal of the day to prepare?
A big late lunch/dinner, it seems to give you more time of the day. Like a Sunday 2pm dinner.
Where do you find inspiration when creating a new dish?
I follow a bunch of food blogs so when I see something that looks interesting or something I haven't done before I look up some various recipes and do research until I come up with a recipe I want to try.
Who has been your greatest inspiration in the kitchen?
My mom. She's a good cook and makes it look effortless. Although, she was more of an inspiration for me to try new things since we didn't have a ton of variety in our meals growing up.
What is your favorite comfort food?
Do you ever eat fast food? If so, what?
Yeah, but I try to stay away from it. I've always loved Chicken McNuggets but when I got to college I discovered Jack in the Box's 99c "deluxe" burger which is when I started eating ketchup on my burgers. In Japan I was craving American food SO BAD I got hooked on McDonalds again (I just wish they would bring the Teriyaki burger over here). Then last year my bf introduced me to the McDonald's Cheeseburger. I alternate between cheeseburger and nuggets, usually.
What restaurant do you want to eat at that you haven't eaten at yet?
Z Tejas. It's a 5 star place in Austin that's supposed to be very "Austin" and very good.
What do you serve at Thanksgiving dinner?
Turkey, mashed potatoes and brown gravy, green bean casserole, and homemade rolls at the least. I’ve only done it 2 times mostly so that I could have some leftovers; this year I’m probably going to change it up since I’m only pleasing myself.
Are there wines or liquors that you cook with?
White wine to give depth to some pasta and vegetable dishes, red wine in red sauces and some beef or onion based soups. I use Vodka just for one chicken penne with vodka sauce. I want to try cooking with Tequila.
How much time do you spend cooking a meal just for yourself?
As much as I would cooking for someone else…unless I'm feeling lazy. But I usually look forward to making dinner. It’s almost always a treat when I can cook.
What would be your dream job as a chef?
If I was a chef, I'd love to have a cute little cottage style diner where I could make up new menus, where it was a nice relaxed environment with nice green (not city) scenery.
What scent in the kitchen do you love – what ingredient smells the best?
Celery and onion sauteed in butter.
What ingredients do you avoid/dislike?
I don't like using sun dried tomatoes. They taste like feet.
What's your secret splurge at the grocery store?
I’m a sucker for new type of flour I don't have yet. I love the flour section of the grocery store for some reason.
What's your favorite midnight snack?
Mixed nuts. Or, chamomile tea blend with milk, honey, and a little bit of brown sugar.