Cafe Society

Round two with Doug Anderson, head baker at Hi*Rise

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You're at the market. What do you buy two of? Fuji apples. They're sweet and crisp and great for baking, eating on their own or with cheese or meat. They also the perfect apple when you're making chutney. Yep, they win the best all-around apple.

Guiltiest food pleasure? The Potato Olés from Taco John's

Weirdest customer request: We play around with flavored cream cheeses for our bagels, and at one point, we had a Maraschino cherry-and-mint cream cheese. One day a customer ordered it on a bagel with lox. It was a pregnant woman -- are you going to say no? It was a to-go order, so I never did hear back from the customer.

Weirdest thing you've ever eaten: I've been a judge at chili cook-offs sanctioned by the International Chili Society, and while I don't see the recipes of the entrants, I know that I've had chili with whiskey, chocolate and sesame oil all in the same pot. It didn't go over well with any of the other judges, either.

What show would you pitch to the Food Network? The most boring show in the world would be a real-time show about bread baking. Really, though, I don't have cable, so my idea may already be out there, but I'd like to do a show based on the science of cooking and baking. You could do weeks on eggs and oils alone. Have Morgan Freeman host it, and everyone would watch.

Culinary inspirations: I wouldn't be in the food business at all if it weren't for my wife, Kristin. I grew up on a ranch in South Dakota, and while I consider it idyllic, mealtime with five kids and two parents was about volume, not technique: When it was time to eat, you ate. Kristin was the person who showed me that eating could be about the experience. She's a much better cook than I am, and even though I run the restaurant, she's still picky about my dicing technique when I help her make dinner -- and she knows how to make killer pie crust. My mom, who exemplifies grace and patience, still makes the best cinnamon rolls of all time, and while my dad, who worked to put five kids through college, can't cook, he always said, "Apple pie without some cheese is like a hug without a squeeze." To this day, I still love a bit of sharp cheddar with apple pie because of what he said, and I continually learn about running a business from him.

If you could cook for one famous chef, dead or alive, who would it be? Peter Reinhart, aka Brother Juniper. I'd love to sit down with something simple, like bruschetta or crostini, and pick his brain about bread. I think finger foods like that are more conducive to conversation, plus I'd like to see what ingredients he'd use.

Favorite celebrity chef: Gordon Ramsay. He's a loudmouth, and I wish they didn't have to amp up his antics, but that's the shtick of the show. That said, when he gives a compliment, it's sincere, and when he asks an aspiring chef, "Are you going to serve that?," it cuts to the truth of what this business is all about. Celebrity chef who should shut up: Aspiring to cook like Rachael Ray is like hoping to one day become a good music critic like Simon Cowell.

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Lori Midson
Contact: Lori Midson