On the Line: Louie Francis Jocson of Red Table, Part One

On the Line: Louie Francis Jocson of Red Table, Part One
Photo by Meranda Carter

Relax, eat and drink. That's the motto of Red Table, where Louie Francis Jocson helms the kitchen. Discover his sweet salty tooth and fatherly love for his daughter, Madeleine, in this week's On the Line.

What are six words that describe your food?
Fun, fresh, tasty, edgy, approachable, affordable.

What are seven words that describe you?
Brown, simple, smiley, jokester, loving, easy-going, happy.

Your best recent food find:

Green-tea salt at Oki Doki in Tustin. I had it with uni three different ways: torched, traditional and fried.

Most undervalued ingredient:
Mushroom stems. Forest scallops on our menu use a king oyster, which have a thick, robust trunk. The stem resembles a scallop. It's a play on words. I don't think enough places use creativity with vegetarian items.

Rules of conduct in your kitchen:
Work clean. Prepare for food as if you were preparing it for the one you love most.

One food you detest:
Canned Parmesan cheese. I can't do the green can.

One food you can't live without:

Culinarily speaking, Orange County has the best:
Food representatives who will bend over backward to deliver your quality food needs.

What fast food do you admit to eating?
Spam musubi.

The best ones are in Hawaii. I have family on the Kona side of the big island.

Best culinary tip for the home cook:
Don't be afraid to mess up; that's how things get better and how other things are invented.

After-work hangout:
Home with my daughter, Madeleine.

Favorite celebrity chef:
Anthony Bourdain. He's a guy who's brutally honest in many ways. I guess the best way to say it is, if the food sucks, he'll say it sucks. There's no sugar coating. He's eating food because he loves food. He's very well-read and relatable.

Celebrity chef who should shut up:
Andrew Zimmern. It's not because I don't like his show; I watch it all the time. But after many episodes, I'd rather turn the volume down. He uses the same words: fishy, lemony, sugary.

Favorite music to cook by:
Gypsy Kings.

Best food city in America:
San Francisco, home of my favorite restaurant, Gary Danko. I love the concept, and it has amazing cooking.

What you'd like to see more of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint:
Better food in our schools. I make my daughter's food every day.

What you'd like to see less of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint:
Corporate fast-food chains.

Favorite cookbooks:
La Techinque by Jacques Pepin and Morimoto by Masaharu Morimoto.

When you're not in the kitchen cooking, what are you doing?
Hanging out with my daughter either at home or eating somewhere.

Weirdest thing you've ever eaten:
It's not really weird to me because it is an intricate part of my culture, but . . . balut.

You're making breakfast. What are you having?
Poached eggs over brown rice.

You're at the market. What do you buy two of?
Two packets of Parma prosciutto--one for me, and one for my daughter.

Weirdest customer request:
A date--before and after I was married. My wife, Nathalie, passed away in June 2009. I am inspired by her and our experiences. And no, I didn't go on either date.

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