Favorite after-work hangout? The Bleeding Deacon Public House. Even when I was managing kitchens in Clayton, I came to the Deacon.
Favorite kitchen tool? Tongs! They can be used for just about anything.
What's next for you? Changing the menu at the Deacon for summer. Iron Fork. Winning the lottery.
What inspires you? Modern art, fresh produce, my employees, music.
Favorite cookbooks? Jacques Pepin: La Technique. I have this old Better Homes & Gardens cookbook form the '50s that's interesting. I also have this Nobu cookbook that is impossible to cook out of, but it's something to strive for!
Proudest professional moment? Writing a new seasonal menu and watching people get excited about the choices we've made.
Favorite music to have in the kitchen. '60s soul, Kraftwerk, '70s punk rawk.
What's on your pizza? Mushroom, spinach, onions and garlic is pretty all right!
What's in your omelet? Red peppers, chorizo, smoked mozzarella.
What are you drinking? During the day, coffee and energy drinks. Night: The Deacon has well over 70 beers, so there's always something new to try. For some reason I've been stuck on Schlafly Hefeweizen.
What's the most surprising food you've eaten? Foie gras. It looks like something you should hate, but it's fantastic.
What's the most difficult lesson you've learned in this business? Don't get too attached to your menu or ideas. Just because you love a dish or combination, It does not mean it will be a big seller. Chefs walk a thin line between art and giving the people what they want.
When did you know the chef's life was for you? I've always loved to cook, and it's very similar in some ways to my degree. (I was a printmaker and bookbinder). There's a certain amount of patience, creativity and critical thinking, as there is in art. I started managing kitchens and rewriting menus about six years ago. My mother manages cafeterias, so it's always been a part of my life.