On The Line: Dean Simon of Bruxie, Part Two
Photo by Christopher Victorio

On The Line: Dean Simon of Bruxie, Part Two

Today, we continue our Q&A with Dean Simon of Bruxie in Orange. Have no idea what Bruxie is? Where've you been?

If you missed the first part, click here to read it. And stay tuned tomorrow for a recipe.

What show would you pitch to the Food Network?
My idea for a show is called Cooking Inside the Box, during which chef challengers get a box of identical seasonal ingredients and have to create an entire menu with only the contents of the box. That would truly test a chef's creativity and make for interesting competition. You read it here first!

Weirdest thing you've ever eaten:
Prairie oysters. For those of you who don't know, don't ask. For those of you who do know, well, you know why.

You're making an omelet. What's in it?
Wild mushrooms, spinach, feta cheese, shallots and fresh tomatoes.

You're at the market. What do you buy two of?
My favorite seasonal fruit or vegetable. They will get eaten.

Weirdest customer request:
I've had a lot of strange requests in the less than two months we've been open, but I think adding bacon to the Nutella & Bananas Bruxie has to be up there!

Favorite OC restaurant(s) other than your own:
Koisan Sushi on Katella in Orange. It's all about the fish, and they have great fresh fish.

What would your last meal on Earth be?
Spaghetti pomodoro from Globe in San Francisco. Joe knows pasta.

Who's your hero, culinary or otherwise?
Marc Valiani, former chef at Eureka and Spago and currently the corporate-development chef at Frito-Lay. His unmatched passion for food, ability to taste and create, and ability to work with me in the kitchen have made him a culinary inspiration and good friend for more than 20 years.

What cuisine with which you are unfamiliar would you want to learn more about and why?
Chinese, all regions. Their cooking techniques are intriguing, and I really like their use of fresh produce.

Tell us about the first time you had a Brussels waffle. What inspired you about it?
In the late '90s, I was doing some research in Belgium with my partner, Philippe Caupain, and while walking Brussels Square, we stopped at a small café. That was my first Brussels waffle, and I will never forget it--I had never tasted anything so light, crispy and airy in my life. Delicious.

What was the impetus for opening a waffle-sandwich shop?
We have been offering our waffle mix to hotels, cruise lines and restaurants for years, and after letter after letter telling us we had a great product, we knew it was time to take action.

What made you decide on Orange over any other location?
The combination of the student body at Chapman University and the quaint neighborhood and atmosphere of Old Towne Orange signaled a balanced customer base that would appreciate our food. I've always loved the Dairy Treet location that we have come to occupy and have felt that many concepts could work in this space--with the right attention to food and a little love. :-)

We heard you're already scouting locations for your next store(s). Any front-runners?
We've received great feedback from our customers, but nothing is set yet. Of course, OC Weekly will be first to know of location No. 2!!

When do you plan the next Bruxie to open?
Sometime in 2011--you can count on that!

Have you been to Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles? And did it at all serve as an inspiration for your chicken sandwich or the shop in general?
Yes, I've been to Roscoe's, but our Chicken & Waffle Bruxie is vastly different.

What waffle fillings did you consider and/or test that didn't work out so well?
We're still trying to find something!! So far, we've done pretty well, but I'm sure we'll stumble across something sooner or later!

What dish would you tell newcomers to try first?
I tell all newcomers, "If you see anything on our menu that you would like as a sandwich, try it as a Bruxie--you will love it in our waffle!"

What were you doing before you opened Bruxie?
Getting much more sleep, playing more golf and drinking more wine! But I've been in the food industry for more than 30 years as the president of a major produce company and co-founder of Brux Waffles.

What would you be doing if you weren't in this business?
Getting more sleep, playing more golf and drinking more wine! I've been in the food business since I was 15--I don't know much else!

What advice do you have for those who might be thinking about starting a restaurant or a business like yours?
Don't do it unless you're committed and passionate. Oh, and Bruxie's trademarked. :-)

What do you see yourself doing in five years? 10 years?
Based on our recent success, I'm busy concentrating on the five months! Bruxie has presented a lot of opportunity. I'm sure I'll be busy.

Bruxie, 292 N. Glassell St., Orange, (888) 927-8943; www.bruxie.com.


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