I grew up having simple meals with a lot of flavor. My dad was all about making sure there was enough food on the table. He was very big into portions and family-style meals. While my mom was a Betty Crocker–, Julia Child–type cook (she made a lot of casseroles!), she was also really into herbs and spices.
That’s what first intrigued me about becoming a chef: I was around so many great flavors as a kid, and I really wanted to share them with other folks. As a chef, I’ve been able to take a little bit from my mom, as far as bringing in those herbs and spices and using them plentifully in dishes. And because of my dad, I also like to bring family-style meals to the table, whether it’s for two people or 12.
I create the food I do because people have told me that cooking has always been intimidating to them. I want people to know that cooking doesn’t have to be complex to produce something that’s going to make your taste buds happy. Keeping things simple is number one. That’s why I always try to make sure people feel comfortable with my recipes. I’m here to give you the starter kit, but I want you to take it to another level. Add your spin to it and taste it as you go. Whatever you make as your final dish is going to be more pleasing to your family because it’s yours.
Most of all, you’ve got to be happy when you go into the kitchen. I think a lot of chefs will agree that when you’re happy, everything turns out better. Have some fun! It’ll be great for you and your family. My belief is that your best audience is the people in your own home.