When Gabe Gordon first secured the Seal Beach spot now known as Beachwood BBQ, one of OC's most beloved rib joints, the chef/owner was considering another kind of place in its stead. What was that concept? Well you have to read tomorrow, where we ask him about it on the second part of our three part On The Line interview.
In the meantime, here's Part One:
What are six words to describe your food?
Six is hard, I'll give you a sentence...I am respectful of tradition while taking creative license.
What are ten words to describe you?
It's easier to think of ten words my employees would use to describe me.
Your best recent food find:
Most undervalued ingredient:
Celery. It has an awesome and intense flavor that should be used much more often than as a garnish for chicken wings or as part of mirepoix.
Rules of conduct in your kitchens:
Strive for perfection, you are only as good as your last table. Consistency is the most important thing.
One food you detest:
Okra. The texture just doesn't work for me.
One food you can't live without:
Foie Gras. It may sound pretentious, but honestly I just really enjoy well prepared foie gras, hot or cold, it doesn't matter...it's always good.
Culinarily speaking, Orange County has the best:
Asian food and markets.
What fast food is your least favorite?
Best culinary tip for the home cook.
Salt, fat and acid...three things that make all food taste good.
Haven't had that since I opened the restaurant. After a 16 hour day you just want to go home.
If you could cook for one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
The president of PETA. Maybe s/he just hasn't had meat prepared well.
Favorite celebrity chef.
I don't think there is a celebrity chef I really care for.
Celebrity chef who should shut up:
All of them, a chef's place is in the restaurant not in front of a camera.
What's next for you?
Professionally, we're opening a brew pub. Culinarily speaking I have been really interested in cheese making, fermentation and pickling.
Proudest moment as a chef/restaurant owner:
Surviving the first year. December 21, 2007. 1 year anniversary. Realizing we made it through our first year without closing.
Favorite music to cook by:
During service - Punk. During Prep - Reggae
Best food city in America:
Favorite restaurant in America:
The French Laundry, hands down. Although there maybe more "creative" chefs out there, the culinary team at French Laundry is able to execute perfect food, service and pairings unlike any other restaurant I have ever been to. The perfect execution of food and service they deliver to every table, most restaurants wish they could do even once a week, myself included.
What you'd like to see more of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint:
Restaurants that serve game meats. A lot of these animals are indigenous to our country and yet they are not engrained in our everyday cuisine, they should not just be reserved for high-end restaurants. Many are less taxing on the environment to raise and better for us.
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What you'd like to see less of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint:
Corporate chain restaurants that serve giant portions of subpar ingredients.
From Earth to Table by John Ash.
Alinea by Grant Achatz.
The French Laundry by Thomas Keller
When you're not in the kitchen cooking, what are you doing?
Beachwood BBQ, 131 1/2 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 493-4500; www.beachwoodbbq.com. Open Tues.-Sun., 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Appetizers, $4-$12; entrées, $8-$23. Beer and wine.