Favorite class to teach: Ramena Workshop
Training/education: I've been all over the city, but most recently I was a whole animal butcher and Cheesemonger. I found some real passions there.
Cooking since: I have been cooking since I could reach the stove. I started washing dishes when I was 15.
Favorite childhood food experience: The first time I ate a trout served whole it really changed my perception of food.
What made you want to become a chef? I adore cooking and eating! I wanted to learn as much as I could, which is a pursuit I still follow today.
What is your signature dish? Yakitori in the summer and cassoulet in the winter!
What are the 5 ingredients you can't live without? Soy sauce, mushrooms, butter, garlic, vinegar
What do you love about cooking? I love the tactile experience, the aroma, and timing, selecting ingredients, and every action that goes into a great meal.
When you're creating a new recipe, what influences and inspires you? I'm deeply inspired by classic or well-practiced cultural dishes. After I learn all I can about a dish, I use my knowledge of other cooking styles to make my mark on the dish. But sometimes, I just stick to the classics.
What advice would you give a new cook? My advice to a new cook is to not be afraid! If you put good ingredients together, it's really hard to make something that's not tasty. From there, you'll get better and better! I also think you should follow recipes from reliable sources at first. No one ever learned how to play piano without playing those first simple songs.
What are you doing when you're not cooking? When I'm not cooking I brew beer and cider, I go out to eat with my partner, I love the outdoors, but mostly I cook.
Describe your perfect evening. My perfect evening starts at the farmers market and ends with an elaborate seasonal meal with great wine and company.
If you had friends in from out of town, where would you take them to eat? One of my favorite restaurants in the city is Handlebar, which has the best vegetarian food in the city.
Where are you from? Libertyville, IL
What was your favorite vacation? My partner and I just spent a month in Germany and Italy. That's at the top of my list right now.
What are your hobbies? My hobbies are brewing, hiking, coffee and tea, and biking.
What is your favorite band? King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
What is your favorite sports team? I don't have one.
If you could have dinner with one person, who would it be? Probably a friend I haven't seen in a while.
What are your guilty pleasures? Potato chips. I. Love. Potato. Chips.
Who is your favorite celebrity chef? Anthony Bourdain
What 5 tools should every new cook have in the kitchen?
What resources would you suggest for students at The Chopping Block? America's Test Kitchen is my favorite no-nonsense food media.
List three of your favorite tips or techniques you use in the kitchen.
I'm a huge fan of the Epicurean cutting boards. For me to bring something home, it has to be very pretty and very functional.