Drive along Second Street in Long Beach's Naples neighborhood and you'll see a dense concentration of restaurants--almost as if you were in New York's Upper West Side. Manhattanites would be very lucky to have Michael's on Naples, a young Italian restaurant we've reviewed here on these pages when it was under their old chef. The restaurant has since been thriving for almost a year now with their new executive chef: David Coleman. Here we subject him to our silly questions for Part 1 of our interview:
OC Weekly: The dish you cook that most represents you?
David Coleman: Honestly it's a tossup between the lobster with hand-rolled pici and crushed San Marzanos, or our house-made fennel sausage and polenta.
OCW: What was the last meal you had at home?
DC: Roasted chicken with baby asparagus and potatoes with rosemary and garlic.
OCW: Fast food guilty pleasure:
DC: Nachos. Cheesy, spicy, crunchy and meaty. What's not to like?
OCW: Items you always have in your refrigerator:
DC: Hog casings and eggs. Casings for sausage and eggs for pasta.
OCW: Your most indispensable kitchen tool or appliance:
DC: My 60-quart Hobart with grinder attachments.
OCW: What are six words to describe your food?
DC: Sustainable, fresh, homemade, inspired, honest, mine
OCW: What are ten words to describe you?
DC: Passionate, curious, motivated, bullheaded, sarcastic, self-critical, dreamer, lover, cured pork and craft beer.
OCW: Your best recent food find:
DC: I've been poaching a lot of duck eggs recently. They're so much creamier than chicken eggs.
OCW: Most undervalued ingredient:
DC: I don't know if most chefs would consider this an ingredient, but I would say water. We never have to order it, we always just assume it will be there and you almost never see it listed as an ingredient in a recipe.
OCW: Rules of conduct in your kitchens:
DC: Work clean, work smart, work with passion, always be willing to learn.
OCW: One food you detest:
DC: Food without soul.
OCW: One food you can't live without:
DC: Fresh fruit.
OCW: Culinarily speaking, Orange County and Long Beach have the best...
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DC: Potential to become a great culinary destination. Los Angeles is saturated, and the little guys with the good ideas can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. People are becoming more educated about quality food and Orange County and Long Beach have a potential for growth and longevity that could easily rival Los Angeles.
OCW: Best culinary tip for the home cook?
DC: Slow and low. When braising large, tough pieces of meat, use a low temperature for a long time.