This is part two of Mabel Suen's Chef's Choice profile of Mike Warhover of Baileys' Range. Part one can be found here. Part three, a recipe from Warhover, will be published tomorrow.
Did your family cook when you were a child? Yes. My mom cooked all the time, and that's where I found my love for food and cooking.
How old were you when you started cooking? I was always in the kitchen with my mom as a kid, but I began cooking professionally in my early 20s.
First cooking job? Catering Plus was the first cooking job I took seriously.
Did you attend culinary school or college? I did for a little bit but didn't finish.
What do you eat? Usually burgers because I'm at work. I don't go out very often because I have a new baby, but I like trying new places.
What do you cook at home? I really like to barbecue when I'm at home. I'm just a big fan of simple food done right.
The local chef who most impresses you? Kevin Nashan from Sidney Street Cafe.
Your favorite food city? I really like where St. Louis is going in the culinary scene. I think it's definitely an up-and-coming city.
Most essential ingredient in your kitchen? Salt.
Favorite local food find, and where do you get it? Cheese curds and fresh mozzarella from Marcoot Jersey Creamery.
Four words to describe your food. Local, fresh, delicious, unpretentious.
One food you dislike. Bananas.
A food you can't live without. Pork.
Culinarily speaking, St. Louis needs more... Recognition.
Best tip for home cooks. Have fun!
Favorite after-work hangout. At home with my fiancée and baby.
Favorite kitchen tool. My chef knife.
What's next for you? Hopefully, the next step is to do my own thing. I don't really know what that entails yet, but it's definitely something I want to happen in the near future.
What inspires you? My family. My cooks.
Chefs who inspire you. Fergus Henderson. Alice Waters.
Favorite cookbooks? The Flavor Bible or Fergus Henderson's The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating.
Proudest professional moment? Two of my mentors, at separate times, came into the restaurant that I was working at the time, ate from my menu and complimented sincerely about the food. It was very humbling and exalting at the same time.
Favorite music to have in the kitchen. Anything upbeat -- something that's going to keep you moving and motivated. I've been on a real Flaming Lips kick lately.
What's on your pizza? Sausage and mushroom.
What's in your omelet? Bacon and cheese.
What are you drinking? If I'm at home, I usually have a PBR or a rum-and-Coke, but if I'm out, I like to try new things, so who knows!
What is the most difficult lesson you've learned in this business? Humility.
When did you know the chef's life was for you? I just kind of fell into it when I started going to school. I really started developing a passion for it.
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