When was the moment you knew you wanted to become a chef?
That would be when I was around four or five years old when I asked for an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas, and I would hang with my uncle’s Chesapeake Bay restaurant/seafood market chef while I was on summer break from school and the rest of my family was working at the restaurant.
Favorite heirloom fruit or vegetable?
I am obsessed with chili peppers and tomatoes because of the diversity in flavors, shapes, sizes.
What’s the greatest lengths you have traveled to produce a dish or find an ingredient?
I have a million crazy stories like: going to Alaska to work in the salmon industry to gain the knowledge of where and how my favorite fish came to be in my kitchens—I still have the scars from that one— smoking hand-caught salmon in backwoods bear country of Alaska, and climbing 10,000-foot peaks in search of amazing wild low-bush blueberries for a dinner special. I have also traipsed through the High Sierra of Montana looking for a type of wild sage to smoke my bison with, waded in stinging jellyfish–infested tide waters to get sea beans and other wild succulents, and—the greatest length—started my own micro farm here in Texas to grow and raise specialty produce and birds that I use in my everyday cooking.
If you could have one chef superpower, what would it be?
It would have to be the ability to manipulate time; it seems I am always running out of it.
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