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Q&A
Date of birth: July 7, 1976

Astrological sign: Cancer.

Current job: Chef de Cuisine.

Cooking experience: 14 years at the school of hard knocks.

Restaurants you have worked at: Abacus Restaurant, Dallas; Eatzi’s Easygoing Gourmet, Dallas; Toscana Restaurant, Dallas.

Restaurants you would like to work at: Louis XV, Monte Carlo; El Bulli, Spain.

Chef(s) you admire: Christopher Lee, Thomas Keller, and Andrew Carmellini.

What cooking shows do you watch? I don’t have cable television.

Your must-have kitchen accessory is: A passionate staff.

What are your go-to ingredients? Fresh seafood.

How many courses should a meal have? Seven.

What’s your favorite course? Fish.

What famous person, living or dead, would you like to make a meal for? My grandmother, who passed away, and Oprah of course.

And, what would you serve them? My grandmother would eat anything I made for her. Oprah: all seafood and maybe one meat.

What’s your favorite style of cooking? Pan roasting raw meats and seafood.

What nationality of food do you like the best? Italian and French.

What’s your favorite meal of the day to prepare? Dinner.

Where do you find inspiration when creating a new dish? Other restaurants.

Who has been your greatest inspiration in the kitchen? I inspire myself.

What is your favorite comfort food? Braised Kobe beef, short ribs with black truffle risotto.

Do you ever eat fast food? If so, what? The Ciabatta Burger at Jack In The Box.

What restaurant do you want to eat at that you haven’t eaten at yet? Alinea and Tru in Chicago; Per Se in New York City.

Do you have a favorite partner that you cook with? Jermaine Brown and Tim Woehr.

What do you serve at Thanksgiving dinner? I haven’t had to cook Thanksgiving dinner yet.

What’s your favorite dessert? Lemon Sorbet.

Are there wines or liquors that you cook with? White wines, tequila, ports, brandy, red wines, Grand Marnier and champagne.

How much time do you spend cooking a meal just for yourself? Five-to-ten minutes.

What would be your dream job as a chef? Owning my own place.

How do you react when a customer sends something back to the kitchen? I taste it myself and then re-cook the dish and send it back out like it was for my mother.

Do you have a lucky charm of any kind during the competition? Nothing.

How do you handle the pressure of competition? I work out afterwards…I don’t feel that much pressure.

What scent in the kitchen do you love – what ingredient smells the best? Truffles, tomatoes, and grilled meats.

What ingredient(s) do you avoid/dislike? I hate white pepper. I also avoid green bell peppers.

What’s your favorite midnight snack? Nachos.

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