While experience and education can get you pretty far, Chef Gstrein drives home the point that it's typically who you know (or simply good timing) that can get you places. We wrap up this week's interview with a juicy heirloom recipe to pair with your next meal.
Read our interview with Paul Gstrein of Bayside, Part One.
And now, on to Part Two . . . .
When you're not in the kitchen cooking, what are you doing?
I exerciese often – I bike, run, lift weights and I enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and 18-year-old son.
Last song playing on your radio/smart phone/iPod:
Jimi Thing by Dave Matthews Band.
Where did you grow up? If you're not from Orange County, what brought you here?
I grew up in Austria. I was working in Los Angeles, and a friend of mine was the executive chef at Bistango before it moved to Orange County. We had worked together often in Los Angeles, and he recommended me for the job. I worked as a sous chef with him, and when he left I became executive chef.
Hardest lesson you've learned:
When I was younger, I was very eager to push the envelope in terms of menu items. There were times I was too ambitious with the menu, and we would fall behind in the service. I've learned my lesson.
Last book you read:
Thomas Keller's Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide. I really learned a lot; he is a talented chef. I enjoyed reading about his techniques, and I enjoy reading a lot of different cookbooks.
Last thing you looked up/searched online:
The crisis in Spain and I also checked the stock markets this morning.
Do you have any skills that are non-food related?
Yes. I do some photography [Editor's Note: The landscape on his desktop computer background was taken by him in Austria.] and am an excellent skier.
What would you be doing if you weren't in this business?
I would have liked to have been a high school teacher.
Heirloom Tomato Salad
Shaved Tyrolean Speck Prosciutto, Ricotta Salata, Rainbow Greens, Styrian Pumpkin Seed Oil
2 baskets mini heirloom tomatoes
4 ounces thinly sliced Speck prosciutto
4 ounces crumbled ricotta salata
1 ounce micro rainbow greens
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoon white baslsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons pumpkin seed oil
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Mix shallot, oil and vinegar. Blend well.
Cut tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. Arrange tomatoes on serving platter. Drizzle with the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper.
Garnish with Prosciutto slices, ricotta salata and micro greens.
Serve at room temperature with some rustic bread. Enjoy!