What is your favorite ingredient? Probably an artichoke. That's my favorite to eat. My favorite in terms of cooking: shallots. I put them in almost everything.
What do you think is the most undervalued ingredient? Vegetables in general. I'm crazy passionate about vegetables. Customers always tend to order dishes around a protein. And chefs, too: I'm gonna make a filet mignon and I'll figure out something to go with it. I think everything else on the plate besides the protein is where the skill and nuance comes in.
Is there a food you hate? I don't like meatloaf. Not even my mom's.
A food you can't live without? Heinz ketchup. Because without it you could never eat a hamburger. You could never have French fries, either.
What's never in your kitchen? Tomatillos. I'm allergic to them.
What is the weirdest customer request you've ever had? I had a customer once ask if I could make him shrimp scampi and pasta, and I didn't have shrimp on the menu. I wanted to ask why he was eating here, because there's a lovely Italian restaurant across the street. Turns out his wife is a foodie and wanted local and organic. So I ran across the street and got him some shrimp scampi.