F&W Star Chef
Restaurant: Harvest (Louisville, KY)
Experience: Wiltshire on Market, Wiltshire Pantry (Louisville, KY)
Who taught you how to cook?
My mom, who taught me cookies and pie crusts and fried chicken.
What was the first dish you ever cooked by yourself?
I was around 8 or 9 and made the coffee cake recipe on the Bisquick package. I loved the topping, and so I doubled it. I remember my brothers devouring it.
What are two dishes that define you as a cook?
Fried chicken. We brine it, marinate it in buttermilk, dredge it in seasoned flour and fry it in canola oil. We typically do the airline breast. If we do the legs and the thighs, we confit them with a sugar-salt-thyme-peppercorn mixture the night before, and then we submerge them in fat so they’re tender.
Also, a Red Wattle pork roast. We break the shoulder into its individual muscles, dredge them and sear it like you would a pot roast. We make a sauce out of the braising liquid: beer, bacon and whole-grain mustard.
What's the most important skill you need to be a great cook?
A strong palate that can determine when food is seasoned well. If you can’t season food, it doesn’t matter how good your knife skills are.
What is your current food obsession?
I’ve been on a big pork kick. We just had a beer dinner and gutted a whole pig, and I’ve been experimenting with new ways to use the ears and the trotters.
What ingredient will people be talking about in five years?
Heritage breeds of all kinds of animals: hogs, cows, chicken, duck, some game birds. What is rare now will hopefully be more common.
Do you have a favorite snack?
Salami, cheese and bread. The Creminelli brothers have amazing salami. For cheese, I like just about everything. The bread varies. Blue Dog Bakery has a really good seeded baguette.