My mandoline is my best friend! I suppose I could live without it, if I HAD to, but I would truly mourn the loss of my dear, sweet, sharp slicer.
On those rare, magical days with no chores to be done, I can be found wandering the streets of San Francisco, lingering in bookshops, taking in a yoga class, and at home inventing new ways to fill corn tortillas.
I love so many things about being a chef, it's hard to choose a favorite: the creative process and social interaction that goes into creating a menu, the opportunity to turn a pile of ordinary ingredients into a colorfully tantalizing edible work of art, the gratification of an empty plate, and the act of supporting local businesses and sustainable producers.
Ming Tsai, not because I am particularly partial to his cuisine, but because he embodies so many character traits I respect in a chef: accessibility, humbleness, willingness to share, and an overwhelming impression of kindness.
coconut milk, diced tomatoes, onions, garlic, chick peas
The bete noire of questions asked of a chef! But after much time spent self-examining, I can honestly share a few: Anything to do with seafood. As seawater has replaced the blood in my veins, I can transform even the most common periwinkle into a gastronomic delight! Gluten-free cuisine. As a gluten-intolerant person myself, the doors of my mind were opened to non-gluten alternatives from a true chef's perspective. I have been able to transform a broad spectrum of previously gluten-laden sauces and dishes into Celiac-safe counterparts, as well as been inspired to create delectable plates with less-known but amazing ingredients. This hasn't detracted from my traditional cooking abilities - I am still a passionate baker and breadmaker - but broadened them instead. Making appealing and healthy "food for everyone." Not everybody eats meat. Not everybody can tolerate dairy. Many people shun my other specialty, seafood. For these reasons, it has been a particular interest of mine to learn about and work with vegetarian, vegan, and raw vegan food preparation while still making it taste-a-rific and well-balanced. With plant-sourced foods being the lowest common denominator in world-cuisine, I take great pride in being able to provide vegan options that even those not-normally vegetarian-inclined appreciate and love. My greatest experience of this was watching two local Bay Area chefs tear through a vegan moussaka I brought to a dinner party, never knowing that the bechamel was actually pine-nut cream and the "ground lamb" was artfully spiced lentils!
I am currently working on a vegan and gluten-free comfort-food cookbook in my spare time, and a gluten-free cooking show is in its planning stages!