I continue my interview with Lillie's Q founder and Chef Charlie McKenna. Our subject not only spends time cooking meat, he enjoys the hunt. Get to know the military brat below.
Where did you grow up?
I'm a military brat and was actually born in California at Vandenberg Air Force Base. My family roots are South Carolina, and I've lived there as well as Florida and Bucktown, Chicago, Illinois. When in California, I stay in Yorba Linda.
Hardest lesson you've learned:
Being able to trust people.
Last song playing on your radio.
Pearl Jam's "Porch."
Do you have any skills that aren't related to food?
I'm an avid hunter with a bow and gun. Growing up, I used to go bow hunting with my father for deer, boar, duck, doves, antelope and pheasants. I loved being in nature and enjoying time with my father.
You have a whole day to yourself; what do you do?
Eat at places I haven't tried. Hang with my daughter. Take my dog to the dog beach.
Tell us something most people don't know about you.
How fanatical I am about organization and cleanliness.
What was the last thing you looked up online?
Getting into the science of brining meats, and how it helps your overall product.
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Seeing the guest's enjoyment from one of my dishes, or their experience in one of my restaurants. Really makes me want to keep creating and growing in the concepts I have and the concepts I want to do.
Last book read. How was it?
Danny Meyer's Setting the Table. Read it again for the second time. I really enjoy his knowledge on creating a great guest experience.
What did you study in school? Did you always plan on being a chef?
Hospitality Management at Florida State University. From there, culinary school–I'm a CIA grad. Yes, planned to be a chef from age 18.
Lillie's Q is located at 240 S Brea Blvd., Brea, (714) 482-2001; http://www.lilliesq.com/restaurants/