Speaking of J.Paul’s and Old Glory and the Buffalo Battle taking place on Sunday, I was able to snag a few minutes of Chef Rich “The Pit Master” Brooks and Chef Tom “Big Wing” Crenshaw’s time to ask them the usual questions before things really heat up.
What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
Crenshaw: Micro plane – I use it for everything, shaving cheeses, prosciutto, chocolate, you name it.
Brooks: A Mixer
What is the most overrated food/technique in restaurants today?
Crenshaw: Although some might hate me for saying this, molecular gastronomy. I think there is a place for it when it enhances the food but I think it is used too much for shock value these days. Sometimes searing, roasting, braising methods just have to be there to really make the dish.
Brooks: Pressure cooking
If you were to open a restaurant with a different type of cuisine than what you are cooking now, what would it be?
Crenshaw: An open kitchen French bistro
Brooks: Surprisingly, a Pizza joint ….and I’d only offer take out.
What is your favorite local product or purveyor to work with?
Crenshaw: Any locally grown vegetable. You can’t beat the flavor of a vegetable right out of the ground.
Brooks: You can’t beat local vegetables…true southern bbq is served with fresh, local produce!
What is your biggest customer pet peeve?
Crenshaw: When a guest is upset because the dish doesn’t look like something they made at home.
Brooks: When guests would prefer not to eat family style…its how bbq is really enjoyed, when you get to taste it all!
What do you drink/eat after work?
Crenshaw: Usually a cup of coffee or when it’s been a particularly rough day a Knob Creek Bourbon with one ice cube.
Brooks: Diet Coke and Chicken, lots of it.
What is your favorite thing to cook at home?
Crenshaw: It’s usually something simple. Most times I will marinate chicken thighs (they have a ton of flavor) with fresh thyme, garlic cloves and lemon. Pan sear them and deglaze with a bit of white wine and finish it with butter and fresh herbs. Plate them with some roasted fingerling potatoes, sliced tomatoes and whatever local vegetable I can get my hands on.
Brooks: Beer-can chicken (see recipe below)