Chef Stephen Drops By The Kitchen
Before we see him in action tonight, Chef Stephen dropped by our little kitchen to chat.
Welcome to BTC Chef Stephen
US: Why did you decide to become a chef
Stephen: When I was in my early teens, becoming a chef resembled becoming a rockstar, but in the kitchen. After working my way quickly up the ranks in local restaurants, I decided to make a career out it.
US: Who are your culinary heroes?
Stephen: Joel Robuchon, Ferran Adria & Morimoto Masuhara
US:If not a chef, then what?
Stephen: A food critic of course. I have always enjoyed analyzing other chefs’ creations, and writing about it.US: What is your favorite dish to cook?
Stephen: A perfect risotto because of the finesse its takes execute properly.
US: What was the one dish you hated the most growing up but your parents insisted you eat?
Stephen: Cauliflower & Spaghetti. A classic dish from Southern Italy that my father would cook (which I love today), but I always found the flavor overwhelming, somewhat like the overcooked brussel sprout effect that many older American generations have experienced.US: Tell us a bit about yourself. What were the your high school years like? First crush? First Kiss? Bad hairstyles you want to confess to?High school?
Stephen: I worked in restaurants most of the time, caused a great deal of trouble and had fun...a bit too much fun. Towards the end, I became very serious in the kitchen, grew all of sudden and decided I wanted to move to New York to attend culinary school. First real crush was on my Latin teacher in middle school. I did have one bad hairstyle, but I thought it was cool at the time. Long blond hair to go along with my Doc Martens, black jeans, wallet chain and Metallica t-shirts. Those were my guitarist days, and never a dull moment. I still laugh about how we used to swing our long hair around in circles and “headbang” while wailing on our instruments. I still jam from time to time.US: Whats next on your calendar?
Stephen: I’m opening my first restaurant in Palm Beach County in South Florida, named Forté di Asprinio (www.fortepalmbeach.com), as well as a wine boutique in Los Angeles called Tastevin. Both are scheduled to open this year.US: What do you feel was the difference between season 1 and season 2?
Stephen: Season 1 was more about the art of cuisine, where Season 2 I found to be more about the hype that surrounds cooking these days.US: Do you talk to any of the chefs from season 1?
Stephen: Yes, I stay in touch with Harold, Lee Anne and Dave.US: Care to share you most embarrassing culinary moment?
Stephen: Burning toast as a brunch cook when I was in high school.
US: What is your favorite
TV Show: Southpark
Book: Winning by Jack Welch
CD: Kind of Blue by Miles Davis
Food: White Truffles from Alba
Guilty Pleasure: Japanese confectionsUS: What items should every cook have in their pantry?
Stephen: High quality sea salt for finishing, such as Fluer de Sel or Hawaiian red sea salt.US: Are there any culinary trends you hope never return?
Stephen: Garnishing dishes with sprigs of rosemary and thyme for no apparent reason.US: Any recipes and/or cooking tips you'd like to share?
Stephen: Season dishes with not only salt, but use acid as well, such as fresh citrus, wine or food friendly vinegars such as balsamic. A bit of acid can take a dish to a whole new level, bringing out flavors that may have been suppressed by fat or other rich components in the dish. Acid breaks through these bold flavors, revealing their “true colors”.
US: What are some challenges you would like to see the next batch of chefs do?
Stephen: Blind taste wines.
US: What do you do for fun?
Stephen: Drink Champagne.
US: Anything you'd like to say to the TC faithful?
Stephen:Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
US:Last question and the silliest one by far, if you could be anyone for a day, who would you be and why?
Stephen: Bill Gates. It would be worth a lifetime to be able to contribute to the world what that man and his wife do in one day for other people across the globe.
Stephen,thanks for playing along.