Monday, April 23, 2012

An Interview with Alton Brown

I found this great interview with Alton Brown. I think I have more in common with him than a love of food.  

When did you realise you could cook?

AB : 
College. I had a pathetic social life, and I couldn’t get dates very easily -- at all -- and I found that if I offered to cook for a girl, my odds improved radically over simply asking a girl out. Through my efforts to attract the opposite sex, I found that not only did cooking work, but that it was actually fun.

I worked in restaurants all through high school and college. I had always been in a kitchen with my mom and grandma and relatives and then, yeah, I watched cooking shows, although I found them to be uniformly unsatisfying, which is why I ended up where I ended up.

What's the best way for a chef to impress his lady friend? Would it be knowledge of place, food or wine?

AB : 
No. Not at all. Um, hospitality all the way. Hospitality -- you know, showing that you love or care about the simplicity of having someone at your table and serving them from the heart. I know people that could serve me canned tuna and saltine crackers and have me feel more at home at their table than some people who can cook circles around me. The more you try to impress people, generally the less you do. 

And as far as getting to a woman’s heart through her stomach, I don’t think that there’s anything that is more important than just simply being yourself and sharing what you like. For the people that come into my house, I cook very simple food. My number one rule for cooking is just to do no harm. You know, buy simple, good ingredients and don’t mess them up. And don’t try to cover them up with your ego and your ability to use 15 different herbs and spices -- how about just cook the chicken and don’t screw it up?

You know, a lot of men want to make it look like they can conquer the food, um, and I think that’s the big mistake. You should just simply do it right.

To become a successful chef, which is more important: receiving professional schooling or learning the ropes "on the street"?

AB : 
I would say that it is like anything else: Professional schooling can get in the way as much as it can help. So I would have to say: the street. Life is always the best teacher, no matter what you’re doing.

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