On the Line: Dave Dennis of Matador Cantina, Part One
Photo by Amy Kaplan

On the Line: Dave Dennis of Matador Cantina, Part One

A man who loves his turf as much as surf, Dave Dennis banged out our questionnaire in one day (Thanks, Dave!). Is he hungry to discuss his views or just starving all the time? Only one way to find out what the chef at Matador Cantina is thinking . . . and rocking out to.

What are six words to describe your food?
Innovative, fusion, delicious, comfort, quality, natural.

What are eight words to describe you?
Passionate, fun, creative, loyal, motivating, helpful, optimistic, hungry.

Your best recent food find:

Whole roasted fish.

Most undervalued ingredient:

Rules of conduct in your kitchen:
Work hard, but HAVE FUN.

One food you detest:
Hydrogenated oils.

One food you can't live without:

Culinarily speaking, Orange County has the best:
Hidden hotspots.

What fast food do you admit to eating?

Best culinary tip for the home cook:
Try new things all the time.

After-work hangout:
Twisted Vine.

Favorite celebrity chef(s):
Anthony Bourdain and Ming Tsai.

Celebrity chef who should shut up:
Bobby Flay.

Favorite music to cook by:
Bad Religion

Best food city in America:
New York City or Chicago.

What you'd like to see more of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint:
More adventurous taste buds.

What you'd like to see less of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint:
Less processed foods and less high-fructose corn syrup.

Favorite cookbooks:
Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck; Culinary Artistry by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page; and Kitchen Confidential (a cooks' book) by Anthony Bourdain.

When you're not in the kitchen cooking, what are you doing?
Anything outdoors.

Weirdest thing you've ever eaten:
Durian fruit.

You're making breakfast. What are you having?
Two poached eggs on sourdough toast.

You're at the market. What do you buy two of?
Cold coconuts and a whole fish.

Weirdest customer request:
Nothing is weird to me anymore. I am obliged to help people feel comfortable and have whatever they want.

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