Have you always wanted to ask your favorite chef what they love to eat when they’re at home? Or perhaps what they think the next big food or dining trend will be? Look no further than this exclusive series of chef interviews by JustLuxe. So read on, as we bring you these answers and more — direct from the culinary masters themselves. Some of the most famous names in the industry, including legendary Michelin-starred chefs, have divulged exciting insider information and personal stories of their journey to the top just for our readers.
Restaurants: Searsucker & Burlap Location: San Diego Type of Cuisine: Contemporary and Comfort American Accolades: 2011 San Diego Best New Restaurant, San Diego Magazine, Top 10 Hottest Restaurants, OpenTable
JustLuxe: At what point in your life did you decide to become a chef? What influenced you to do so?
Brian: It was something I just kind of stumbled into. I realized I wasn’t going to be a nine-to-fiver. I tried to act and realized I wasn’t going to be disciplined enough to do that. I was always cooking for my friends and I got a lot of joy out of entertaining, making people happy and providing a great party for everyone.
JustLuxe: If you could give a word of advice to an aspiring chef, what would you say?
Brian: I would say that it takes a lot of work, commitment and passion. Don’t rush promotions—take advantage of every opportunity to learn from the people around you. Work for as many great chefs as you possibly can.
JustLuxe: Where do you get inspiration for the design of your dishes and plating?
Brian: I find inspiration working hand in hand with interior designer Thomas Schoos and by the building that we’re putting the food into. I also find inspiration working with other great chefs who help to make my visions become realities.
JustLuxe: What do you predict as the next big trend in cooking and/or the restaurant industry?
Brian: Social dining is the next big trend in the restaurant industry. Restaurants are becoming more than just a place to eat- they’re places where neighbors and friends can come together.
JustLuxe: Which season do you look forward to the most for its ingredients?
Brian: I love everything about spring—the colors, flavors and tastes. Spring is everything coming to life again.
JustLuxe: What places or cities in the world have influenced your cooking the most?
Brian: The hearty and seasonal food in the Northwest has greatly influenced my cooking, as well as everything that the Oregon coast has to offer—crab, salmon, blackberries, huckleberries and wild mushrooms, to name a few.
JustLuxe: In your opinion, what innovation has recently influenced the restaurant industry in a significant way?
Brian: Sous-vide: it speeds up production and executes it more flawlessly- I was apprehensive about it, but my younger chef taught me that it’s a great method of portion control.
JustLuxe: What would you say is the current climate of business in the restaurant industry?
Brian: I think it’s an exciting time in the restaurant industry- we’re seeing a real alignment with the economy. Down here in Southern California we see a lot of restaurants opening with unapologetic and approachable comfort food.
JustLuxe: What is your favorite dish to prepare at home as opposed to the plate you enjoy preparing in the kitchen?
I have a great grill at home so I love to do my own rotisserie chicken. I have 3 little kids so I like to make it simple- I’ll put it on early on a nice Sunday afternoon.
At the restaurants I love the simple searing of scallops and the braising of pork belly. I also love seafood- preparing whole fish and anything surf and turf. I have a lot of fun playing with eggs— poached, sunny side up, you name it!
JustLuxe: Besides gastronomy, what other passions do you have?
Brian: Family, friends, the ocean, the sun, nightlife, eating and drinking.
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