To start our series taking you into the kitchens of DC’s favorite chefs, we asked Danny Wells, the Chef de Cuisine and creative genius behind the food at BlackSalt a few questions (which will become the same 7 questions we will ask of a different chef each week).
What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
A hand-held emursion blender. I’m not real big into foams or anything, but you can incorporate so many ingredients into so many sauces almost instantly.
What is the most overrated food/technique in restaurants today?
I guess the whole foam craze would be my most overrated technique these days. I have had some that are incredible and actually accomplish what they’re supposed to, but I feel like a lot of sauces are “foamed” just so chefs can put that word on the menu.
If you were to open a restaurant with a different type of cuisine than what you are cooking now, what would it be?
Sushi. I used to think sushi was an easy thing to create, but to do it right, balancing flavors and textures that way, is an amazing skill.
What is your favorite local product or purveyor to work with?
Even Star Farms in southern Maryland provides some of the most amazing produce ever, in the history of the world. Brett Grohsgal, the man who runs the farm, puts out a variety of products, especially his arugula, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and specialty peppers, they are on a completely different level as far as flavors are concerned. Plus everything he produces is all organic, like actually organic, no sprays at all. He also used to be a chef himself, so, as he likes to say: “we drink the same drinks”
What is your biggest customer pet peeve?
I’m sure it’s most chef’s biggest “peeve” – customers that want to create their own dishes. Why do you even go out to eat if you want to dictate every last ingredient being served to you? You can do that at home.
What is your favorite thing to cook at home?
I eat cereal and turkey sandwiches home (i know, it’s sad). I like to go out to eat.