Bout time for another Baker's Dozen, eh? Sheesh, you'd think we don't have any friends. Well! Chef Josh is no stranger to A Mouse Bouche--you may remember him from such episodes as Hamlet the Pig, the concord grape and habanero jam session, and that time I conveniently broke my elbow and he had to take over cooking the Boyfriend's Birthday Dinner. He's one of my most favorite people, and not just because he feeds me pretty much every time I see him. I've learned so much from watching him cook, and from his company Grill A Chef, which is basically dedicated to helping home cooks (and eaters) with any question, large or small. And believe me, I've asked them all. More than anything, he's an incredible chef. After a spring break trip to New Orleans during college, Chef Josh "saw his booze budget being funneled into restaurants instead", and decided to take a break from a sculpture degree to pursue becoming a professional chef. Since then he's worked in some of the greatest kitchens in Italy, New York, and as a private chef for some of the biggest names in entertainment and finance. But even better, is his totally democratic approach to cooking and eating: Whether it's a bucket of thighs from KFC, or foie gras at Gramercy Tavern (where he just recently did a stint in the kitchen), or something a measly little home cook like me has thrown together, if it's tasty, Josh will eat it and love it. In just a few short weeks, The Boyfriend and I will be in New Orleans celebrating Chef Josh and his lovely and brilliant lady Kate's wedding. Highlights? A crawfish boil the night before, and, drumroll please, a PIG BAR at the reception. Also I hear tell of late night goody-bag muffaletta on our way out the door. Jealous?
Without further ado, it's my turn to grill this Chef...
1) What are your earliest food memories?
I also remember BLT's in late summer. Crispy bacon, iceberg lettuce and the perfect tomato on toasted wonder bread. It was one of my favorite things in the world.
2) What was the first meal you made for your lovely wife?
3) If The Boyfriend were to call you and tell you he wanted to make a romantic dinner for me, what would you recommend? Keep in mind, he knows his way around the kitchen but he's no expert.
4) What do you have for dinner when you're home alone?
5) What are the top mistakes home cooks make that could be easily solved?
6) What food trend do you find totally irritating?
The same is true for the other trends in the city over the years. Fried chicken? BBQ? Hamburgers? Ramen noodles?
7) Okay, weigh in on this debate for me: If a special on a menu features a main ingredient that I can find elsewhere on the regular menu, I assume it means they're trying to get rid of too much product that's about to go bad, and I don't order it. Am I being ridiculous?
Hence the ramp special on the menu. . . . . I'd order it.
8) Favorite hangover cure?
9) The Boo and I grew up as products of a multi-cultural household, with parents from very different religious backgrounds. You recently had an adorable baby girl who faces a similar complexity: Dad is a chef who loves meat, and mom is a lifelong vegetarian. How do you plan on raising the munchkin?
11) What do you do when you go to someone's house for dinner and the food is really terrible?
Smile and say thank you.
12) I've heard chefs like to play a game of "last supper"--as in, what your final meal would be if you could choose. What would yours be?
13) Your company, Grill A Chef, has an awesome tag-line, "advice from scratch". Who came up with that, and does this person's brilliance know no bounds?