When did you start cooking?
Really early. There was never an age where somebody sat me down and told me it was time to learn. It was more of, Can you come help me do this? So I was in the kitchen from a very early age.
Who got you interested in it?
This is going to sound hokey, but my mom. She has always been really into cooking and trying new things. She is never the kind of person to have seven recipes and repeat them every week.
Can anybody be taught to cook well?
Definitely, yes. I think a lot of people are afraid to begin the process, but once you get going you can definitely learn. It’s all about being comfortable with ingredients and tools and such things. It can be overwhelming if you have never been introduced to them before.
You opened your store two decades ago. Has cooking become more popular since then?
I would say definitely. With the rise of the Food Network and that whole thing, cooking has become something for the everyday person. Cooking is something people have become much more comfortable with. The economy is another factor; people who were used to constantly eating out have become much more interested in it, as well as finding good local ingredients.
How has the technology changed?
So many new gadgets have come out, but what is interesting is that some of the most long-lasting products that we’ve had are the simplest ones. You can’t beat a good knife or a good skillet.
Beer or wine with food?
I am a beer person.
What do you eat to lift your spirits?
Green chile, hands down.
What's one ingredient that livens up any dish?
Flat leaf parsley; it goes with a lot of things and brightens it up a little bit.
What makes for the best atmosphere at a restaurant?
Anywhere that is loud, busy and crazy. I like going to Flying Star for the people-watching.
Best restaurant worth loosening your top button for?
Nob Hill Bar and Grill.
What's your definition of great food?
Food that people come away talking about in a good way. Food that makes people happy.