Favorite class to teach: Knife Skills
Training/education: Associate’s degree in culinary and a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management
Cooking since: the ripe age of 5
Favorite childhood food experience: Recreating Alton Brown recipes with my dad
What made you want to become a chef? I came to realize that good food makes good people feel good.
What is your signature dish? I’ve studied both French and Peruvian cuisine. But my favorite thing to prepare is pickled vegetables. Pickles are my love language.
What are the 5 ingredients you can't live without? Salt, lemon, butter, fish sauce and vinegar
What do you love about cooking? Cooking is a blend of creativity and science, presented with a dash of personality.
When you're creating a new recipe, what influences and inspires you? The scientific method. I love to create a hypothesis of what may occur if and how I do something. The end result, be it delicious or repulsive, is the ultimate gift of learning.
What advice would you give a new cook? Cooking is philosophy. Stay curious, humble, and willing. Be quick to see where experienced people are right. Make use of what they offer.
What are you doing when you're not cooking? Strumming a guitar or a mandolin, fishing and camping, or diving into some neat cinema.
Describe your perfect evening. A meal hot off the grill on the deck with my beautiful wife, pets, and close friends.
If you had friends in from out of town, where would you take them to eat? Lao Peng You. Always Lao Peng You. Greatest noodles in the city of Chicago.
Where are you from? Antioch, IL
What was your favorite vacation? Peru for our honeymoon
What are your hobbies? Singing, string instruments, building projects, camping, and fishing.
What is your favorite band? Talking Heads
What is your favorite sports team? The Albuquerque Isotopes
If you could have dinner with one person, who would it be? I like to eat with other chefs. I love to eat and discuss the meal at the same time. A good dinner is an adventure.
What are your guilty pleasures? Ketchup and Taylor Swift
Who is your favorite celebrity chef? Emeril Lagasse and Matty Matheson. Both are great advocates of fat, salt, and acid.
What 5 tools should every new cook have in the kitchen?
A good chef’s knife
Instant read thermometer
What resources would you suggest for Chopping Block clients? I have been so proud of the progress I watch students make through our Culinary Boot Camps. I see not only skills progress but also growth in passion and pride. I highly recommend Culinaty Boot Camp to anyone who cares to step their game up.
List three of your favorite tips or techniques you use in the kitchen.
Season food with intention and throughout the process.
Use all five of your senses to determine the doneness of food. Time is an illusion.
Clean as you go.
The corn zipper is one of the coolest tools I have ever used. It’s a great way to make a messy job clean and easy. It removes the kernals from a corncob with minimal work and mess.
We also have some amazing cutting boards.