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Chef Tom Anderson

 

Chef at The Chopping Block since: 2019

Favorite class to teach: Fish 101

Training/education: Associates Degree in Culinary Arts

Cooking since: Since my mother told me if I wanted chocolate chip cookies, I’d have to make them myself.

Favorite childhood food experience: The first time I went to a French restaurant and they served me carrots in a way that I actually liked as a kid.

What made you want to become a chef? I watched way too much Iron Chef as a kid, and I love to eat.

What is your signature dish?I don’t really have a single dish that I would call my thing, but I make a pretty mean Bordelaise.

What are the 5 ingredients you can't live without? Thyme, shallots, dijon mustard, gochujang, and hoisin sauce

What do you love about cooking? Watching people’s reaction as they eat

When you're creating a new recipe, what influences and inspires you? Usually whatever I’m hungry for at the time.

What advice would you give a new cook? Repetition is key, so don’t give up when something doesn’t go the way you think it should.

What are you doing when you're not cooking? Mostly sleeping as almost all my time goes into cooking one way or another, whether that’s reading through somebody’s cookbook or watching yet another video on Youtube. 

Describe your perfect evening. Mid-60s weather with a clear sky, a table of friends, a few bites to eat and a bottle of something good.

If you had friends in from out of town, where would you take them to eat? Probably give them a laundry list of incredible restaurants of every cuisine you could think of, but still end up at Byron’s hotdogs.

Where are you from? Quad Cities, Illinois

What was your favorite vacation? My grandfather owned a ranch in Wyoming where I spent most of my summers growing up.

What are your hobbies? Honestly, cooking kind of is my hobby that I’ve been lucky enough to turn into a career. Outside of that I’ve always been interested in ancient history so I tend to fall into some pretty deep Wikipedia chain articles.

What is your favorite band? The Rolling Stones

What is your favorite sports team? As a Chicago resident, I am contractually obliged to mention that I am indeed a Cubs fan.

If you could have dinner with one person, who would it be? Charlie Chaplin just to watch him eat a Cobb salad.

What are your guilty pleasures? Anything involving chocolate.

Who is your favorite celebrity chef? Maybe not a TV celebrity, but Alice Waters has always been a big influence to me.

What 5 tools should every new cook have in the kitchen? A good knife, a cast iron pan, two hands, some taste buds and an empty stomach.

What resources would you suggest for Chopping Block clients? Jacques Pepin’s La Technique is a literal culinary encyclopedia, and will teach you absolutely everything you could ever need to know in terms of food.

List three of your favorite tips or techniques you use in the kitchen. Pan roasting, braising, and how to properly filet a fish as all three seem to be dying techniques in the food world.

Tom's Favorite Tool

cornzipper

The corn zipper because if I knew it existed before I joined TCB, I’d have spent dramatically less time in my life removing corn from the cob just in how quick and easy it makes it.