What are you most excited about in the culinary industry right now, or in food more generally?
Food-wise, I'm really into rabbit right now. ... Braising rabbit. Doing rolls with rabbit, like crépinettes [sausage patties wrapped in lacy fat] and stuff. So that's exciting. I'd never worked with it that much before. ...
As a whole with the industry, I think what I like is just the casual turn things have taken. A lot of places just serving chef-driven good food, but you don't have to be hoity-toity about it, you know what I'm saying? It's nice to go into any joint, like up in Denver, or down here like 503W, and you just get a good meal. It's a casual thing. And I think young folks and folks in general just want to go and have a good meal and not have to dress up and do all that stuff.
Aside from rabbit, what's the most unusual or odd ingredient you've had in your kitchen recently?
Well, right now we're serving sweetbreads. We actually just had a cooking class where we featured sweetbreads. So that's one.
Several weeks ago, we did a gnocchi with escargot. That was fun. We like doing a lot of things with bone marrow and crépinettes, like with coleslaw and things like that. They don't seem so odd anymore, though, you know. It's just part of the repertoire.
What was your best meal out last year?
Man, I can't remember yesterday. [Laughs and asks chef Cathy Werle the question.] Oh, yeah. We went to Yellowstone over the summer, and we ate at this great place we're trying to remember in Jackson Hole in Wyoming. ... It was delicious. It's got a little Southern flair to it. If we do pimento cheese and bread, they'd give you a little pimento cheese with country ham with biscuits and everything, just as a little starter. I just fell in love with this place from the first plate. ... Café Genevieve.
What do you think 2015 holds in terms of emerging food trends?
I do think, like, rabbit as the other white meat instead of like a chicken or something like that. Definitely folks are getting into the Middle Eastern spice blends, North African spice blends. Stuff like that. Throwing a little bit of culture into it.
I also think that when it comes to Asia, it's not Asian anymore, it's the micro-regions of Asia and different flavor profiles. ... Instead of saying Asian-braised this or that, it's a Thai flavor. Or it's an Indonesian flavor. Or it's a Vietnamese flavor. And I think I like that more because there's different flavor profiles in each region.
What's your favorite foodie movie?
The Hundred-Foot Journey. We just watched that the other night for the first time. Just a great flick.
What's one book, recipe, blog or something you've read, that's inspired your cooking?
Michael Ruhlman wrote a book called The Soul of a Chef. It takes you through three different ways of, you know — one person was [famed French Laundry chef Thomas Keller] ... The second one, I believe, went into Michael Symon's restaurant in Cleveland, and talked about what they were doing, and then it took you to the [Culinary Institute of America] and the master chef program. So it was really inspiring, because it takes you to the different levels you can take it.