See also: Well, Gastro my Lounge
This is part two of my interview with Stephen Jones, the executive chef of Blue Hound Kitchen and Cocktails. If you missed part one the interview with Stephen Jones, read it here.
What's your favorite food smell: A whole roasted suckling pig.
What's your favorite cookbook: Eggs by Michael Roux. Eggs are such a delicate thing. To be able to master egg cookery, it takes you into a whole other realm. There's patience involved. That expression of patience is what being a chef is all about.
Name an ingredient you love to cook with and explain why: Fennel. It's clean, refreshing and bright.
Most over-rated ingredient: Ras el Hanout. I mean, one guy uses it on a TV show and suddenly, it's everywhere -- on bad dishes!
Most under-rated ingredient: Fennel pollen and bee pollen. When you use them in raw applications, they add a really, really nice fragrance. We use bee pollen on a crudo with bass. People are like, "What is it?" They're both a super-food. We finish our hamachi with fennel pollen. It's bright and clean.
Trend you wish would go away: Pizza. C'mon, be creative.
If your cooking were a genre of music, what would it be: Real hip hop (what's on the radio now isn't real hip hop), blues and jazz. When I cook, there's a beat in my head all the time. We have Bob Marley Sundays. Sometimes we have Mariachi Saturdays. It makes the kitchen, which can be such a stressful environment, lighter.
Favorite thing to eat growing up: Granny's peach cobbler. Insane!
Favorite thing to eat now: Hamachi collar and any raw fish.
Describe a meal you'll never forget and why it's so memorable: Charlie Trotter's in Chicago. It was seamless and timeless.
Describe a harrowing kitchen experience: It was my first day at Nobu, and it was also Steve Wynn's wife's birthday. I was brought in as a line cook, but the grill guy didn't show and they threw me on the grill. We did 649 covers that night, and when we finished, I took my shirt off and wrung it out. I think everybody in the kitchen bought me a beer.
What's the best thing about being a chef: Never, not one day, does it feel like work. I get to go to my second love every day and it's great.
What's the hardest thing about being a chef: Knowing when to turn it off and rest. I'm working on that.
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Enjoy this Chef Salad? Check out Nikki's previous interviews with: Stephen Jones of Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails Chris Gross of Christopher's Restaurant and Crush Lounge Chris Curtiss of NoRTH Arcadia Payton Curry of Brat Haus Mark Tarbell of Tarbell's Josh Hebert of Posh Kevin Binkley of Binkley's Restaurant Lori Hashimoto of Hana Japanese Eatery Larry White, Jr. Lo-Lo's Fried Chicken & Waffles