“One little funny secret that I haven’t really told anyone about is [what happened when] Dana Cowin (Editor-in-Chief of Food & Wine) called me because I’m going to be the Best New Chef for that year. I was actually on the other line ordering take-out Chinese for my house, just with the kids. I was quite surprised that there I was being lauded as a chef, and I always felt that there was a juxtaposition of me just … ‘I’m not cooking tonight, I’m exhausted. I’m ordering take-out Chinese.’ And not like the great super Szechuan place; the classic American, sweet and sour pork.
“And I have an affinity for Americanized Chinese food; maybe that’s a deep dark secret. Yeah I get it, you know, let’s have the authentic noodle Dan Dan, Szechuan, Hunan province. There’s something great about just this Americanized, sort of sour, sweet, General Tso’s chicken. There was no General Tso, we all know that, no matter how many ways it’s spelled. I think probably that’s still my favorite Chinese food.”
He was one of Food & Wine’s 2009 Best New Chefs.
Interview and photo by Laurie Ulster