Like many, I began cooking out of necessity. It soon became a passion. My world is cleanly divided into those who like to eat and those who do not. Obviously, I prefer the former. I find them generally more interesting and more in tune with their senses. I like to coook the way I try to live-as big as I can. Although I appreciate the skill of nuanced flavors, I like mine bold. I don't like to go looking for them, and don't want my guests to have to, either.
My favorite things to cook
"Cuisines of the sun" are my favorites, including pan-Asian, Latin, Caribbean and southern. My favorite "state" to cook is Louisiana. I have a love of tropical flavors, especially mango and passion fruit, and am also a "limeaholic" and a corn junkie. Chilies are a big part of what I do, but I don't sacrifice flavor just for heat. I get a big kick out of helping someone to experience new flavors. Soups, stews and "bowl food" are favorites, as is BBQ in all it's permutations. I like to say that if there's a vegetable you don't or won't eat, I can make a dish with it that will change your thinking, if just a little. And rice is my favorite starch. Fried rice, regardless of cuisine, is my favorite comfort food.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Each year I travel back east at Thanksgiving to make dinner for my family. I love serving them and helping my nephews to learn to cook.
My cooking triumphs
A few years ago I made a New Year's eve dinner for 15 friends which included a dessert from one of Marcel Desaulnier's books, called "chocolate mango ambush." It had seven elements and took me 21 hours to make. It looked just like the book photo. A restaurant owning friend who tried it gave it his stamp of approval, which meant a lot to me.
My cooking tragedies
I have burned a few pots in my time, to be sure. I have over smoked meat to the point of acridity, and undercooked same meat, so it was still making noises. At a catered wedding, I once served Chinese roasted duck wraps and thought it was clever to use the duck head as a garnish for the platter. The guests were mostly horrified, since most folks in these parts don't like to be reminded where their meat comes from, but they stuffed those wraps in their pockets to take home, so I guess it wasn't all bad. I've also dropped a dessert I was just about to serve, but was able to reconstruct it, since the guests didn't know what it was supposed to look like anyway. (It was in a sealed container when it hit the sidewalk.)