On the Line: Keith Stich of Wildfish Seafood Grille, Part One

Change is inevitable when it comes to the restaurant business, and while we've previously featured Wildfish Seafood Grille for On the Line, a new executive chef means a new technique and insight on what makes him tick. Keith Stich is now at the helm, and we reel him in (post-trick-or-treating duties with his daughter) for a Q&A.

What are six words that describe your food?
Fresh, flavorful, simple, inspiring, artful, passion.

What are eight words that describe you?
Serious, passionate, funny, hard worker, driven, creative, organized.
Your best recent food find:
Rib-eye cap from Broadleaf Game; It's the outside muscle, the most tender.

Most undervalued ingredient:

Rules of conduct in your kitchen:
Always give 110 percent and care about the product.

One food you detest.
I never have enjoyed the flavor of celery.

One food you can't life without.
Butter makes everything better and can be used in baking and cooking.

Culinarily speaking, Orange County has the best:
Fresh and tasteful, healthy-inspired food.

What fast food do you admit to eating?
Taco Bell's bean-and-cheese burrito is simple, fast and cheap.

Best culinary tip for the home cook:
Take your time with recipes.

After-work hangout:
My house.

Favorite celebrity chef.
Gordon Ramsey because before he became a celebrity chef, he was one of the world's best.

Celebrity chef who should shut up.
I don't pay enough attention to them to care.

Favorite music to cook by:
Rock & roll: Zeppelin, Rage Against the Machine, System of a Down, Tool.

Best food city in America:
Manhattan has great food, restaurants and a huge diversity of cuisines.

What you'd like to see more of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint:
Molecular gastronomy.

Favorite cookbooks:
Culinary Artistry by Andrew Dorenburg, On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee, Larousse Gastranamique by publishing company Hamlyn in the U.K.

When you're not in the kitchen cooking, what are you doing?
Hanging out with the family, watching movies, going to parks.

Weirdest thing you've ever eaten:
My Norwegian grandmother would make blood pudding.

You're making breakfast. What are you having?
I don't make breakfast. [Editor's Note: WHAT!?] I drink a cup of coffee.

You're at the market. What do you buy two of?
Bananas. I try to eat one every day.

Weirdest customer request (and did you do it?):
I cooked a filet for one hour in the oven because they wanted it well-done, like beef jerky.

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