On the Line: Jay DiEugenio From BACON MANia, Part One
Who doesn't love a slice of bacon? Chewy with extra grease or baked crisp, Shuji-style, its universal appeal is probably only outnumbered by oxygen. It was a matter of time before a luxe lonchera came along to steal the snout-loving diners of Orange County. Half of the visionary duo BACON MANia is Jay DiEugenio, whom we invited to join us in this week's edition of On the Line. Check out his serious devotion to the pig.
What are six words to describe your food?
Unabashedly American, unapologetic man-food with BACON!
What are 10 words to describe you?
Fun, BACON-loving, food-centric people person and family man.
Your best recent food find:
Our 0.5-pound, all-beef frankfurter in natural casing. We're the only place around where you can get this thing. We wrap it in bacon, of course. And it's AMAZING!
Most undervalued ingredient:
Salt. And beer.
Rules of conduct in your kitchen?
Have fun, keep it clean, and, most important, put out something you're proud of.
One food you detest:
I've never run across this food yet!
One food you can't live without:
Culinarily speaking, Orange County has the best:
Bacon-centric food truck! And fresh, young creative chefs from diverse backgrounds. That is the recipe for innovation.
What fast food do you admit to eating?
Best culinary tip for the home cook:
Have fun while cooking, and cook what you love. It shows in the final product.
Home with the family.
Favorite celebrity chef:
I love Gordon Ramsay's no-B.S. attitude, work ethic and standards.
Celebrity chef who should shut up:
Well, there are the standard answers--Rachel Ray and Paula Deen--but I would have to say anyone who doesn't value the American home cook. Often, there's too much emphasis on fancy, nouvelle this and that. But when it comes down to it, what foods do you really CRAVE? When times are tough, work sucks or you just need to have a good time--Mom's mac and cheese, a juicy backyard burger, the perfect rack of ribs. . . .
Favorite music to cook by:
Any punk rock, or lately Oingo Boingo and the Refreshments. But I love some high-energy sing-along.
Best food city in America:
Having traveled the country and eaten everywhere, I would honestly have to say, "Wherever I am at!" Each city has incredible food--you just have to find it! I love local flavors and diverse ingredients from each American region.
What you'd like to see more of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint:
BACON! More mom-and-pop food establishments. The entrepreneurs, the innovators, the rising stars can feed their creativity and passion while feeding their customers fresh, new, ever-changing menus. That's what is so great about the food-truck movement: You get real people making great food who care about building relationships with their customers. Are you gonna get that at your local Friday's?
What you'd like to see less of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint:
Also VEGAN and VEGGIE. I mean, come on, BACON is a sign that God loves us and wants us to be happy! I kinda adapted that from Ben Franklin. Works for beer, too!
Steve Raichlin's BBQ USA was a great learning cookbook for me, and it's a great regional reference. I frequently pull it off the shelf to look stuff up. Good chefs will gather all the info, and then adapt it to their needs in order to create their own amazing dish. That book really is loaded with all kinds of good stuff and inspiration.
When you're not in the kitchen cooking, what are you doing?
Hanging with the family! I have a wife, three boys, a dog and a cat!
Weirdest thing you've ever eaten:
I've had everything from rocky mountain oysters to alligator to Nilgia to squirrel pasta to raccoon sandwiches--so, not too sure I have one answer here.
You're making breakfast. What are you having?
You're at the market. What do you buy two of?
Everything! I have two teenage boys at home!
Weirdest customer request:
"Can I get that without BACON?"
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Orange County dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.