You might pass Roaring Fork's executive chef, Bryan Hulihee, on the highway. He's the one in the slow lane and he'll confess -- he takes his sweet, silent time.
"My commute to work is half an hour and it's absolutely my sanctuary. Thirty minutes of silence -- no radio ... When you work in an industry that's crazy busy and stimulating, you have to take advantage of quiet time."
He also has two kids under 3 years old. Needless to say, his quiet time (and time in general) is in short supply. But in the kitchen, Hulihee is in a different zone; he's obsessively clean, is a teacher to his staff and isn't afraid to bring up the heat.
The California native has strong ties to his Hawaiian roots and says that because of his experience with southwestern and Hawaiian cuisine, he has been comfortable experimenting in a variety of different kitchens. Of course, he now calls the Roaring Fork home, but he's also spent time at Lon's at the Hermosa and Phantom Horse Grill.
Today, the chef joins us to share a few more confessions, a peek into his culinary life at home and an excitement about pink sea salt.
Culinary Confession: I have the worst diet. What's easily accessible around the kitchen? Cheese, burgers, something fried, something quick and easy. Sometimes, one of my managers makes lunch, which is awesome, but for the most part I have the worst eating habits. I know.
Your signature on the menu: On the fish tacos, there's a salsa verde that comes from my house and is something I make for my own family ... I've had to bring the heat down a little for the restaurant, so I don't blow everyone out of the water. But really, any extreme heat here can be cured with one of our Huckleberry Margaritas.
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Hot on the menu: I have some salts in my cabinet that I really like working with. I have some Hawaiian pink sea salts and smoked salts that I like working into special menu items like tuna tartare. The grains are a little bit larger, so they add flavor and a little bit of crunch.
Roaring Fork style: It's American west with Southwest influences. So we stick to the West, but not solely the Southwest. Like we have tortillas and fish tacos, but we also have a lot of brazed items, stews, slow cooked foods and rotisserie chicken.
Who does the cooking at home?: My wife is in the industry too, and she's learning. But I'm definitely getting my phone calls during the day: "How do you do this?" she says. Or she's starting to send pictures to my phone that I can't really even make out what they are ... but she's learning.
(This was part one of our Chef Chat with Bryan Hulihee of Roaring Fork. Check out part two tomorrow and stay tuned for a recipe on Thursday.)