Starting with the basics:
Occupation? Community Events Director for the Jewish Federation of Raleigh/Cary. Where are you from? My hometown is Mill Valley, California, but I lived in Arcata, California for six years before moving to North Carolina. When did you move to North Carolina? July 2008.
What do you love best about North Carolina? The weather and the people. North Carolina has a nice southern hospitality to it, and everyone is very welcoming and friendly.
What type of music do you listen to when you’re cooking in the kitchen? Right now, I really like blue grass. There are two bands I’m liking right now, the Railroad Earth and Two Bob Crew.
Top 5 favorite foods? (anything goes) (1) Sushi; (2) A good deli sandwich is very important to me (sprouts, fresh onion…); (3) Middle Eastern food, (4) West coast barbecue. In California, this means grilled chicken wings and steak, not pulled pork; (5) American-style food: cheeseburgers and stuff.
What is your comfort food? My favorite meal is meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and peas.
Are there any foods you won’t eat/try? I don’t really like mustard. At all. And I don’t really like celery. Actually, I kind of hate celery, especially raw celery. As for things I won’t try, I can say that I won’t try anything alive. I also won’t eat snake or bugs.
What is your favorite meal of all time? It was a tradition that every summer we would go to New England and have a traditional lobster dinner: paper plates, lobster, and butter. We did that every year for a long time, but I haven’t had that in years. Then, of course, Thanksgiving and Seder, which is like a Jewish Thanksgiving.
The ingredient you currently can’t stop using is: Jalapeño. I just discovered that I liked it, and I just learned that I can control its spiciness.
You have a day with absolutely no obligations. How do you spend it? I want to do a downtown Raleigh daytime bar crawl. It would start mid-afternoon and we would get a cocktail each the place we go. There are so many great cocktails in Raleigh : the spiked milkshakes at Chuck’s, the margaritas at Centro, the Tecate Mojito at Calavera.
What are some cooking challenges or techniques you would like to tackle? Every time I try and roll sushi myself it’s never as good as the restaurant. My problem is probably in the rice.
Who is one person you’d love to cook with? Anthony Bourdain from No Reservations. We would cook steak or mussels. Definitely something high-end.