NFL superstar turned commentator Tony Gonzalez on scouting chefs instead of opponents, and new family traditions.
My wife, October, comes from a huge musical family—they all sing and dance. Mine just likes to drink and eat. But on Christmas Eve we do a little talent show with a makeshift stage and a microphone. Everyone has to look presentable—comb your hair and bring a little style. It’s the highlight of the night. Then we open a few gifts.
I was on the Fox set with Michael Strahan and told him we have to go to The Cannibal in Culver City. They serve a Chinese-style pig’s head that is sooo delicious. Michael will run into a guy full speed with his helmet on, but he won’t eat a little pig’s cheek. That’s crazy.
Will Travel For Food
I’ve gone all over the world on food tours. This year we visited San Sebastián, Spain. Everyone should go there and just walk up and down the street and do a pintxo tour everyday. It was my first time in the area and it was one of the best eating experiences I’ve ever had. We ate at some Michelin star places and got to check out some kitchens. The poor servers, I’m always asking them if I can see the kitchen when I’m at a restaurant.
My wife and I got involved with Scholar’s Hope a couple of years ago to work with kids in our area. They’re going to get knocked down, and it’s important how they push through it. So we focus on grit and emotional intelligence as well as on academics. If you want to change generations, this is how you do it.
One for the Road
I’ve gone to Belgium and piled into a car with five guys to drink amazing monk brews at abbeys all across the country. And when I was in San Miguel de Allende last year, the gem of the trip was a bar with all these great Mexican craft beers.
During the off-season we invite a bunch of people over on Sundays. We call out a theme during the week—Cuban, Asian, whatever—and everything has to be made from scratch. My friends and I are in the kitchen getting after it.
I don’t think I’ve been to a restaurant in the last five years that I have’t thoroughly researched first. It annoys my wife because I can’t just wing it. Even if it’s just down the street, I will look that sucker up like I’m doing a book report.
Next Gen Food Fanatics
My kids come back from play dates and we’ll get a call saying we went out to eat and your kid was asking for mussels in white wine sauce or salmon sashimi or if we have truffles. Not sure if that’s that good or bad. When my 9-year-old daughter gets older she’s going to be my road dog on where we go. She loves to eat. I’m breaking in my 7-year-old son, I’m gonna get him right. It’s not going as planned so far. My teenage son is already on my side, he’ll eat anything. In fact to get rewarded for stuff he’ll say let’s go to a good restaurant. That’s what he wants from me now.