Matthew Dillon explains why he chose to "put himself at the mercy of the fire," as he says, and fuel his new kitchen solely with wood.—As told to Kate Krader.
At Bar Sajor, we have a big wood-burning oven and a fireplace. We designed the oven—it's about 7-by-5 feet—and we use it for roasting and smoking. The fireplace has a rotisserie and a grill. And that's it. We don't have a traditional range, so we can't just boil water by turning on a gas flame. It's in line with my philosophy of local ingredients: If you have something, you use it; if you don't, you don't. I appreciate the thoughtfulness that comes with those kinds of limitations.
I also like the patience that cooking with live fire requires, and its primitiveness. The whole world has been cooking this way forever. I think it's a subconscious thing, deeply rooted in our souls, in our minds. By choice, we put ourselves at the mercy of the fire.