On the Line: Andrew Gruel of Slapfish, Part One
Photo by Meranda Carter
Fact: Andrew Gruel and Jethro Naude decided on Tax Day to create Slapfish. Also a fact: Their food is truly sustainable and fresh, since they double as wholesale importers (triple if you factor in their future "Test Kitchen" endeavor). Did we reel you in yet? Follow our interview with the Huntington Beach-based luxe lonchera in this week's On the Line.
What are six words that describe your food?
Simple, fun, addictive, innovative, saucy, crave-worthy, sexy.
What are eight words that describe you?
Driven, daring, sarcastic, high strung, stubborn, hungry, thirsty, unpredictable.
Chef Arthur Gonzalez's red chile sauce. He made it on my truck as a feature on a breakfast burritto! It was like finding $20 in your own sofa.
Most undervalued ingredient:
Any vinegar -- it makes everything taste better.
Rules of conduct in your kitchen:
Love to learn, eat everything once, and use acid.
One food you detest:
Cumin: It's too strong, overpowering. Once you put in in there, it's a culinary tattoo; it doesn't go away.
One food you can't live without:
Sandwiches of any kind. Big and sloppy -- we want food to drip down your arm.
New Jersey-style sloppy joes: triple decker, layers of turkey, Russian dressing, coleslaw, rye bread and swiss cheese. Plus, sauce throughout the entire thing. It's a really juicy sandwich explosion.
Culinarily speaking, Orange County has the best:
What fast food do you admit to eating?
The sandwiches from 7-Eleven. I don't even like them, but I keep eating them.
Best culinary tip for the home cook:
Finishing with acid -- vinegars, citrus, tomatoes, etc. -- will make any flavors pop.
My own kitchen.
Favorite celebrity chef:
Rachael Ray: Her 30-minute meals aren't half bad. Her talk show is another story. . . .
Celebrity chef who should shut up:
Jamie Oliver: I think he secretly swills coke and eats handfuls of candy.
Favorite music to cook by:
Best food city in America:
Brooklyn, New York.
What you'd like to see more of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint:
Good sandwich shops and delis using Boar's Head meats. Like Coach's Deli, not the Mediterranean Grill.
What you'd like to see less of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint:
Bad pizza shops.
Marco Pierre White's White Heat, anything by America's Test Kitchen, and Ideas In Food by Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot.
When you're not in the kitchen cooking, what are you doing?
Sleeping or eating -- possibly at the same time.
Weirdest thing you've ever eaten:
I once accidentally swallowed a live cockroach.
You're making breakfast. What are you having?
Taylor ham -- it's a pork roll, only available in New York or New Jersey; almost a mix between ham and salami, but you pan fry it -- egg and cheese with Jufran, which is banana ketchup.
You're at the market. What do you buy two of?
Weirdest customer request:
Fish with maple syrup.
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