|photography by Kevin Hunter Marple|
What got me started in cooking:
I needed a job to help pay for college, so I applied at a restaurant. The only job that was available was making salads, so I took it. But I’m a self-taught chef.
Where I go to eat in Dallas on my night off:
Craft and N9NE.
Ingredient I use most:
Chiles. Aji and rocoto peppers from Peru, jalapeño from the Southwest, and serrano and guajillo from Mexico.
On my off-nights:
I cook with my family. My twin 4-year-old girls and my 5-year-old boy like to help. Every Sunday that I’m in town, we host a dinner party for family and friends. We make it all.
My indulgence foods:
Foie gras, cured meats, and room-temperature cheeses.
Every kitchen needs:
A pair of tongs and a cast-iron skillet.
My favorite cookbooks:
Joy of Cooking and Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.
Best secret preparation tip:
There isn’t one. Good things take time. If you want good food in 10 minutes, pick up the phone.
A cooking disaster:
Once when I was catering an event for 300, I watched as the truck, which was carrying all the food, turned in front of me. The hotbox flipped, and the food spread across the street.
An upcoming trend in cooking:
Peruvian food. It’s the latest and greatest. Follow cocktail trends, and you’ll know what’s next in food. People are always more adventurous with what they drink.
One easy cleanup tip:
Get an outdoor kitchen, so all you have to do is spray it down when you’re finished.
A party-hosting tip:
Create a theme, from the music and napkins to the food and dress. Everyone will get in the mood as soon as the first person puts on the party hat.
One easy table-setting tip to help set a mood:
Boil water and add in flavors from the meal such as rosemary and citrus fruits. Pour the mixture in a teacup or bowl with floating candles. The aromas get everyone in the mood for the food.
Best compliment to the chef:
Seeing people smile.
Is there anything you won’t eat:
Sea urchin. I have tried it every possible way it can be prepared, and it’s just terrible.