If you could cook alongside any other chef, dead or alive, who would it be?
Thomas Keller; he is self taught and has extremely high standards. Also, despite being very accomplished, he still exudes an honest and boyish passion for cooking.
What is the weirdest ingredient you have ever used?
Yak - it is an extraordinary meat that is rare in this part of the world. My team and I became intimately familiar with the animal by being a part of its husbandry and dressing. We then became intimately familiar with its meat having prepared every cut in dozens of different ways.
How would you describe your cooking philosophy?
Simple. I believe in using animals that graze naturally on grass, produce we pick ourselves, and fish caught on a line.
Who (or what) inspired you to become a chef?
My Grandma showed me how much pleasure you derive- and joy you create- when feeding people well.
Many home cooks assume that professional chefs were in the kitchen at an early age, was this the case with you? Did you always want to be a chef? At what age did you start cooking?
I have been a paid cook since I was 13 years old. I never really dreamt (so to speak) of being a chef, but I was always interested in food and cooking. In my mid 20’s I realized that I couldn't deny those loves in the pursuit of a less passion-oriented career.
What is your earliest food memory?
Like most kids, it was when I first got a McDonalds cheese burger and chicken nuggets and the unami burst. I am of a generation of salt chasers.
What was your first job in the industry?
What is your go-to comfort food?
Bison Short Ribs.
Do you have favourite ingredient to cook with?
Mustard. I make them myself so in-of-themselves they have a myriad flavours and intensities.
What is your current favourite on your menu at Chill Winston right now?
Are you cooking up any new recipes for the menu for Fall? Can you let us in on some things to look forward to?
The new menu will be out the end of October. I am looking forward to return of our well-loved pan-seared calimari and am excited to present a Liver and Toast and a lunch-time “Fish Club Sandwich”.
Where do you get ideas and inspiration for your meals?
Everywhere and anywhere. A smell, a story from an Italian grandma, a single ingredient.
When you are spending time at home, do you cook for yourself or do you order out?
I always cook at home.
In a world where you can buy everything premade and ready to eat, what do you think home cooks should really take the time to make – sauces, fresh pasta – where should we spend our time?
You should always make fresh pasta (it's as easy as boiling water), always use fresh ingredients -- especially spices, and strive to not use anything pre-packaged. At Chill Winston, we start from scratch on not only every menu item, but every ingredient in every menu item. You really can taste the difference. And it's better for the planet.
If you had an impromptu dinner party for five tonight, what would you make?
Short ribs, grilled green beans, roast potato, and lots of cheese, olives, cured meats and crusty bread to hold us over.
Do you have any favourite cookbooks, cooking shows, or websites?
Joe Beef A Cook Book Of Sorts - It is a ground breaking cook book that uniquely celebrates indulgence.
Tell us one kitchen utensil you cannot live without. What tools would you suggest every home cook should invest in?
A really good quality 8”-10” chefs' knife; it can do anything.
What three ingredients can you not live without?
Bacon, butter, and garlic.
If you could travel to any part of the world and eat free for a week, where would it be?
What would you want your last meal to be?
A big bone-in grass-fed bison ribeye.