Chef Peter and I shared a common babysitter growing up: PBS. More specifically, one OG celebrity chef (before they were even referred to as celebrity) by the name of Martin Yan. His fascination with food began with family memories in the kitchen, and television helped fuel his passion to create.
Bosscat Kitchen (the remodeled restaurant space next door to Ten Asian Bistro, and a story we broke in January) is nearing completion. We sat in the unfinished space to go over his responses.
Best culinary tip for the home cook:
Keep clean and organized. When possible, get someone to clean up after you.
Where does the restaurant's name come from?
TEN means heaven in Japanese (or so I am told).
One food you can't live without:
Anything that comes from a pig. Do I really need to explain?
Your best recent food find.
Randy's Donuts in LA. I've driven by that place hundreds of times and went for the first time a few weeks ago. The donuts are so damn delicious.
Martin Yan. I used to watch him as a kid on TV. He's one of the original "celebrity chefs". I had the chance to cook for him a few years ago, and he really enjoyed my food.
Your earliest food memory:
Standing by the stove in my Grandmother's kitchen "helping" her cook.
What is your restaurant experience?
I've been in this industry since I was 14 years old. I started as a dishwasher at a banquet hall in my hometown.
You're making breakfast. What are you having?
Eggs and a bunch of meat that came from a pig, wrapped in pancakes and topped with waffles.
Weirdest customer request (and did you do it?):
When I owned a restaurant in Las Vegas, a woman came in and ordered filet mignon, cut in half. One half cooked medium and served now. The other half medium rare and put in a to-go box (so she could take it home and reheat to medium later.) Yep, I sure did.
Most popular item(s) on the menu:
Believe it or not, pad thai. I sell a ton of this stuff! It's not served the same [way] as a traditional Thai restaurant would, and I think that draws a lot of people to it.
What do you recommend for first-timers?
You can never go wrong with our sushi and wok dishes. If you're an adventurous first-timer, try something like beef bone marrow or peking duck confit.
Where was your most recent meal? What did you have?
I think I grabbed some vegetable scraps and leftover trimmings of pork from the walk-in and heated them up and served them over rice. I sat outside on a milk crate and ate it between orders.
Favorite meal growing up:
Shepherd's pie. My mom always made this during the winter, on those especially cold nights.