Chef at The Chopping Block since: 2019
Favorite class to teach: Pasta Workshop
Training/education: I have an Associates degree in Culinary Arts and a Certificate in Baking and Pastry.
Cooking since: 2009
Favorite childhood food experience: Sitting around eating fondue
What made you want to become a chef? I was helping out a friend at first, but then I fell in love with the reactions that people have when you make their favorite food.
What is your signature dish? Fish tacos: they are simple, but they can be so complex at the same time.
What are the 5 ingredients you can't live without? Butter, salt, red meat, chicken stock, paprika
What do you love about cooking? The reactions on people's faces when they get that food that just looks amazing.
When you're creating a new recipe, what influences and inspires you? I'm inspired by Southern cuisine.
What advice would you give a new cook? Practice, practice, and practice some more. Also don't be afraid to fail, just be willing to learn from that failure.
What are you doing when you're not cooking? Play video games, watch movies and spend time with family.
Describe your perfect evening. A bonfire with some tasty drinks and some good friends telling old stories.
If you had friends in from out of town, where would you take them to eat? Monteverde
Where are you from? Clarksville, Tennessee
What was your favorite vacation? I went to Canada with my mother when I was young and it was hands-down my favorite trip.
What are your hobbies? Skateboarding, video games and annoying my roommates
What is your favorite band? Korn
What is your favorite sports team? Chicago Blackhawks
If you could have dinner with one person, who would it be? Eminem
What are your guilty pleasures? Moonshine - I'm just a southern boy at heart!
Who is your favorite celebrity chef? Gordon Ramsay
What 5 tools should every new cook have in the kitchen? A nonstick pan, a whisk, a fish spatula, a sharp knife, and a microplane
What resources would you suggest for Chopping Block clients? Cookbooks and recipes. As a chef, I collect cookbooks from everywhere.
List three of your favorite tips or techniques you use in the kitchen.
If you happen to break an emulsification, just put an egg yolk or some mustard in a new bowl and slowly whisk the broken emulsification in.
I'm a huge fan of frying things. I truly believe there is an art to frying properly, but it can be difficult to do well. In fact, I find that most home cooks refuse to even dabble in frying. But I think being able to get that perfect golden brown crust with a perfectly cooked center is a skill that is immeasurable. Remember, you can always stop frying and put the food in the oven to finish it.
Getting a perfect sear on food like a piece of steak is a technique that has no equal. Not only does it change the color of the food, but it also changes the flavor.
I love that we carry ISI cans, which is a canister that you put a liquid in that you want to aerate or carbonate, such as heavy cream into whipped cream.
Charge it once by screwing in a nitrous-oxide canister to the top, wait until you hear the canister make a “pop” sound, and it’s ready to go.
But this tool can do so much more than just make heavy cream. I especially love putting grapes in them and charging them to have fizzy grapes.