Timothy Kast is the executive chef partner of the new Seasons 52 at South Coast Plaza, a restaurant that doesn't use butter, has no deep fryers, and keeps everything it serves under 475 calories or less. Here's Part One of out On The Line interview with Chef Kast. Stay tuned for Part Two tomorrow and a recipe on Thursday:
What are six words to describe your food?
Seasonally inspired, satisfying, surprises the palate.
What are ten words to describe you?
Passionate, straightforward, works hard, plays hard, cooks in the moment.
Your best recent food find:
Frederick and Black Prince passion fruit from Mud Creek Ranch, Coleman Farm.
Most undervalued ingredient:
Fresh picked Italian parsley. Added to many dishes at the last minute, it adds a great level of freshness.
Rules of conduct in your kitchens:
Sense of urgency from start to finish.
One food you detest:
Canned black olives.
One food you can't live without:
Coffee, it is the gasoline of all chefs.
Culinarily speaking, Orange County has the best:
What fast food is your least favorite?
Best culinary tip for the home cook.
Master a recipe first; then try to experiment with variations.
Anjin for Japanese BBQ on Bristol and Paularino.
If you could cook for one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
My Grandma. She was such a great cook, but passed away before I became a chef.
Favorite celebrity chef.
The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten.
Celebrity chef who should shut up:
Bobby Flay can get a little over-the-top at times, but I would not tell him to “shut up.”
What's next for you?
I let the farmers market guide me to what is next.
Proudest moment as a chef/restaurant owner:
Opening Seasons 52 at South Coast Plaza.
Favorite music to cook by:
Some classic funk like the Ohio Players.
Best food city in America:
Napa and the entire Bay Area.
Favorite restaurant in America:
Spago in Beverly Hills.
What you'd like to see more of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint:
What you'd like to see less of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint:
The Tra Vigne Cookbook: Seasons in the California Wine Country by Michael Chiarello.
When you're not in the kitchen cooking, what are you doing?
Spending time with my wife Elizabeth and exercising our English Springer Spaniel.
Seasons 52 at South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol Ave., Ste. 2802, Costa Mesa, (714) 437-5252; www.seasons52.com. Open Sun.-Thurs., 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Dinner for two, $50-$75, food only. Full bar.