Kris Kirk of Ecco Restaurant, Part One

Kris Kirk of Ecco Restaurant, Part One
Photo by Todd Barnes

Kris Kirk used to cook at the late Sage on the Coast, but now heads the kitchen at the new Ecco at The Camp in Costa Mesa. The restaurant, which opened a few months ago after a prolonged delay, is already making up for lost time doing pizza, a seasonal menu, and, um, a seasonal pizza.

Here's Part One of out On The Line interview with Chef Kirk. Stay tuned for Part Two tomorrow and a recipe on Thursday:

What are six words to describe your food?
Fresh, fun, soulful, creative, sustainable, fantastic!

What are ten words to describe you?
Sarcastic, analytical, procrastinator, passive-aggressive, honest, caring, passionate, husband, father, hungry!

Your best recent food find:
Guanciale

Most undervalued ingredient:
Nueske's bacon

Rules of conduct in your kitchens:
Taste everything, clean hands, respect others, NO whistling.

One food you detest:
Liver.

One food you can't live without:
Cheese.

Culinarily speaking, Orange County has the best:
Beautiful outdoor patio dining.

What fast food is your least favorite?
Jack in the Box.

Best culinary tip for the home cook.
Taste your food, season it well, don't rely just on the recipe.

After-work hangout:
At home with my wife and two girls.

If you could cook for one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Julia Child, her passion for food was over the top.

Favorite celebrity chef.
Mario Batali.

Celebrity chef who should shut up:
Rachael Ray.

What's next for you?
Who knows??

Proudest moment as a chef/restaurant owner:
Cooking next to Dani.

Favorite music to cook by:
I don't even listen to music.

Best food city in America:
NYC, pizza capital USA.

Favorite restaurant in America:
Still looking.

What you'd like to see more of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint:
More communal tables in restaurants so people can sit around and get know each other over great food.

What you'd like to see less of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint:
Corporate-run restaurants in every shopping center. Where's the uniqueness?

Favorite cookbooks:
French Laundry, Joy of Cooking, The Art of Wood Fired Cooking.

When you're not in the kitchen cooking, what are you doing?
Dividing my time between family & football.

Ecco, 2937 Bristol St., Ste. A103, Costa Mesa, (714) 444-3226; eccocm.com. Open for lunch daily, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; for dinner, Tues.-Wed., 5-11 p.m.; Thurs.-Sat., 5 p.m.-2 a.m.


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