We first met Jason Petrie at Dux In Tux in November. He had us at truffle (and candied-bacon-and-mushroom risotto — but not all at once!). Between his Michelin-earning stint at Aureole in Las Vegas and helping Susan Feniger open Street in Los Angeles, it's safe to say Jason is well-seasoned in his craft. Our interview is spent discussing his relationship with Filipino cuisine and his man-crush on Thomas Keller.
What are six words that describe your food?
Creative, inspired, organic, electric, sustainable, farm-fresh.
What are eight words that describe you?
Charismatic, charming, passionate, creative, nice, eager, compassionate, clever.
You best recent food find:
Bossam from Kobawoo House in Koreatown.
Most undervalued ingredient.
Rules of conduct in your kitchen:
Be nice, be respectful, be passionate, be clean, be organized, do everything with a purpose.
One food you detest.
I don't detest anything. I love food and everything about it. I am always willing to try something.
One food you can't live without:
Butter and pork because both make everything better!
Culinarily speaking, Orange County has the best:
French restaurant: Pinot Provence. And pho in Westminster.
What fast food do you admit to eating?
The only fast food I will really indulge in is In-N-Out. I grew up eating it, and it is one of the only things that has stayed consistently good. You can never go wrong with a double double, fries and a chocolate shake. However, I rarely let myself indulge in such foods. I have a big heart to keep healthy.
Best culinary tip for the home cook:
Do everything with a purpose. If you cannot figure out why you are doing something, then you are probably doing it wrong! And put down the canola oil! Olive oil and butter taste much better.
At home with my pretty wife, with a glass of wine and some cheese. BCD Tofu House because soondubu and ice cold beer at 1 a.m. is pretty hard to beat! And last, but not least, Kanpai Sushi Bar, the most legit sushi/Japanese food I've ever had, and they are open until 2 a.m. and have late-night shoyu ramen.
Favorite celebrity chef.
Thomas Keller sets the standard and leads the way for everything we do and why we do it. . . . He's the culinary Jesus.
Celebrity chef who should shut up.
Guy Fieri: First, because he is not a chef, and second, he's stuck in 1991. He has nothing inspiring or interesting to say; he just yells a lot of stupid things and dresses and looks like a fool. [Editor's Note: Tell us how you really feel, Jason.]
Favorite music to cook by:
Katchafire is a reggae band from New Zealand. Motivating, yet calming at the same time . . . you can set up the line or break down the line listening to them.
Best food city in America:
Dumb question! New York, New York. No question. In Manhattan alone, there are 80,000 eateries. Something for everyone at any time.
What you'd like to see more of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint:
Understanding and adventurous diners. A lot of what we do at the restaurant takes a lot of time and precision, and some diners just don't get that.
What you'd like to see less of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint:
Chain restaurants are killing fine dining! Offering crappy food at low prices, people eventually start to think the $20 they spend for a three-course meal at TGI Friday's is the normal price for food.
The French Laundry by Thomas Keller is the only cookbook I have ever read from cover to cover.
When you're not in the kitchen cooking, what are you doing?
Eating! And drinking, but not in a bad or dangerous way.
Weirdest thing you've ever eaten:
Dinuguan is a Filipino dish of pork pancreas cooked in pig blood. My wife calls it “chocolate meat” due to the color. Gross.
You're making breakfast. What are you having?
Anything with eggs. They are my favorite.
You're at the market. What do you buy two of?
Craft beer, such as Lost Coast, because after one, I know I am going to want another. But at that point, I will probably be too lazy to go get another. It would ruin my night thinking I should have just bought two.
Weirdest customer request (and did you do it?):
Any time a customer asks for anything well-done is a weird request. I don't get why someone would like that. But other than that, when I was working at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Las Vegas, we would get a lot of requests for fettucini alfredo! And we would make it, too!