Delia Snyder of Don the Beachcomber, Part 2
Our interview with Delia Snyder, chef-owner of Don the Beachcomber in Huntington Beach, started yesterday--click here if you missed the first part, particularly if you're a fan of old-school Cantonese-American food.
Photo by Kimberly Valenzuela
OC Weekly: What's your favorite music to cook by?
Delia Snyder: Oldies and good old-fashioned rock and roll! In the kitchen it gives a great energy and I love singing along.
OCW: What's the best food city in America?
DS: Las Vegas! Think of any type of food or cuisine and it's available to you with ease. You can walk to almost any restaurant on the Strip and most of them are excellent in ambiance, service and, of course, quality of cuisine. With all the competition, they all really strive for excellence.
OCW: What's your favorite restaurant in America?
DS: Perino on Wilshire, where I met my husband Arthur in the '70s. It has since shuttered.
OCW: What would you like to see more of in Orange County, from a culinary standpoint?
DS: More freshly-used ingredients and less fatty oils. We have so much in terms of fresh produce at our disposal, so why not use it? Cooking healthy has always been of interest to me.
OCW: What would you like to see less of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint?
DS: I'm still getting comfortable with my surroundings in Orange County and still haven't gathered enough criteria to judge that--there are so many restaurants I would love to visit!
OCW: What are your favorite cookbooks?
DS: William Sonoma's cookbooks are the best! I also look at all the James Beard-nominated cookbooks to see what's out there.
OCW: What show would you pitch to the Food Network?
DS: How to properly cook Chinese/American food with a flair. I don't think anyone has tried to really delve into this type of cooking.
OCW: What's the weirdest thing you've ever eaten?
DS: Rice worms as well as wild cat and snake soup--that was in Macau and Hong Kong... not here in Orange County.
OCW: You're making an omelet. What's in it?
DS: Tomatoes, avocado, mushrooms and cheese. Perfect.
OCW: You're at the market. What do you buy two of?
DS: Any fruit of the season, I usually buy cases of it even though I don't need it and give it away to my friends and family as treats. I love fresh fruit as a healthy snack or dessert.
OCW: What's the weirdest customer request you've ever received?
DS: Once, a customer came into the restaurant with live abalone that he just fished and wanted it gutted and cooked. And yes, I did actually cook the abalone for him--when it's fresh, it only takes a minute or two. Arthur and I love fresh abalone. He seemed pleased!
OCW: What's your favorite restaurant in OC, other than your own?
DS: Himalaya Grill located in Sunset Beach.
OCW: What's the hardest lesson you've learned?
DS: Not everyone likes what I like. Sad, but true.
OCW: What would be your last meal on Earth?
DS: A good old-fashioned cheeseburger with bacon and cheddar.
OCW: Who's your hero, culinary or otherwise?
DS: My husband, Arthur Snyder. No doubt about it.
OCW: What cuisine that you are unfamiliar with would you want to learn more about and why?
DS: Indian cuisine, but more specifically the different types of Indian bread. They are all so interesting.
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