This article appears in the January 2011 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe, please visit loumag.com.
The "secret ingredients" during your episode of the TV competition Iron Chef were tongues and cheeks. Have you incorporated them into 610 Magnolia’s menu?
We’ve used pork and beef cheeks on our menu before. I think we’ll stay away from duck tongue, which I used on the show.
Your favorite food to make at home?
A hot bowl of noodles, extra spicy.
Any up-and-coming ingredients?
Animals we don’t typically think of but are really delicious and cheap: goats, rabbits, eel.
How would you improve the city’s most famous dish, the Hot Brown?
Replace the dry turkey with succulent rabbit confit.
Earliest childhood memory?
Playing with salt and pepper shakers.
What song’s been stuck in your head lately?
“Ain’t No Grave” by Johnny Cash is downright creepy.
When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A professional skier.
All-time favorite Kentucky Derby winner?
Funny Cide. It was 2003 and the first Derby I experienced in Louisville. It seemed magical.
Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger Than Paradise. I was in high school when I saw it, and it was the first time I could feel the filmmaker’s presence in every shot. I didn’t know then that I wanted to cook for a living, but I think something clicked in me that I wanted to have that kind of presence in anything I did.
Leo or Velocity?
Velocity — I love all the soft-core porn advertisements.
In summer it’s a Ricard and water; in winter a glass of thick red wine.
Best Louisville bar?
The Beer Store on Market Street. I always learn something new when I walk into that place.
What’s something nobody knows about you?
How much I lost on last year’s Derby…and I’m not about to reveal that now.
Favorite bourbon drink?
On the rocks with a dash of bitters.
Best book you’ve read over the past year?
The Surrendered by Chang-rae Lee. I’ve been lobbying for him to come to Louisville for a reading.
Can’t-miss TV show?
CBS Sunday Morning. It sounds so lame but watch it once and you’ll be hooked.
Where do you take out-of-town guests?
Knob Creek Gun Range and Buffalo Trace Distillery.
Guilty pleasure in town?
A burger from Ollie’s Trolley.
Where do you go to be alone?
In my wine cellar, counting bottles.
What makes somebody a Louisvillian?
Love of bourbon, pride in hospitality and a willingness to bet on a long shot.
My Santoku knife, which a young sushi chef in New York gave me after he decided to quit his profession after a rough night. It reminds me every day that it’s easier to give up than to take the punches. I’d rather take the punches.
Photo: Louisville Magazine