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" The biggest fear in my life is being mediocre. "
" I eat to survive, you know? "
" I can't even kill a lobster without saying a Hail Mary for it. "
" Just because you love to cook and you are good at in your home environment doesn't necessarily mean that you are cut out for competition. It is a different animal and requires you to approach cooking in a very different way. "
" I'm very much half city and half country boy. "
" I love biscuits. I have a real thing for a biscuits, and if it's not made right, I'm gonna come down hard on somebody. "
" Desserts are last, but don't let them be least. "
" First and foremost, food needs to be delicious. It should pop and explode with flavor. Food should please all the senses. "
" I played every sport in high school for one year. If I couldn't be great at it, I quit. I would rather not do it than be average. "
" It's funny, you know, growing up, you are always introduced to people as your uncle this or your aunt that or your cousin this. By the time I was in my 20s, I had no idea who I actually was or wasn't related to. It's kind of a running joke in the family. "
" If I can't do something and excel at it and do it well, I have a tendency to give up on it really easy. "
" I have pictures of me feeding deer and possums with baby bottles. I am such an animal lover. "
" I dislike cloyingly sweet desserts - sweet is not a flavor - so I suggest dialing back the sweetness and focusing on what the dessert is about, whether it is a ripe fruit, chocolate, etc. "
" I am classically trained in French pastry, but I am American and have a natural curiosity and playfulness that comes through in my cooking. I like to present flavors that people are familiar with in unique combinations and forms that may surprise them. "
" When you think about French pastry, one of the most classic traditional pastries is the eclair. An eclair is like a blank canvas that can be easily adapted to any environment. Ingredients are the most important aspect of a perfect eclair, and they need to be used at their peak. "
" I love pies of all types. I especially love rhubarb. I grew up with rhubarb growing on our property, and my mom would make rhubarb pies and jam. I have to admit, though, my earliest memories of rhubarb were not fond ones, but over time, I grew to love it. "
" You can tell a lot about your cooks' personalities by their music collection. I personally have such an eclectic collection, partly due to the combining of music libraries with girlfriends past. "
" Whenever a chef cooks for his own ego rather than his guests, he/she set themselves up for ridicule and failure. In the end, it's the service industry. Our goal is to make our guests happy through our cooking. "
" I didn't come from a wealthy family. My dad told us if we wanted spending money, we had to earn it. So I developed an early work ethic. "
" I drink at least a couple of espressos every day and love the flavor of coffee. "
" I was an amusement and water park fiend as a kid growing up. I loved them. My brothers and I would go whenever we could. We liked all the super steep/fast slides and flumes where you would get completely soaked. Our absolute favorite was the tubes, though. "
" Everyone has days when things can go wrong. That doesn't make you a bad pastry chef - that makes you human. "
" I really loved traveling the U.S. and seeing regional differences within the same country and how the same ingredients are used in very different ways. I love how the 'old guard' of cuisine are still pioneering so much of the direction of food today. "
" At one point, in one of the kitchens where I worked, I was the only American pastry cook. They treated me poorly. 'You're stupid. You're American. You don't get it.' They'd speak French all day. At one point, my boss said to me, 'You learn French or get out right away.' "
" TV has taken a crazy turn, especially in the industry of food, where everything is either a competition show or a sort of reality show. We've lost the kind of shows that are, like, 'Here's how you do this,' like the old Julia Child shows. "
" Both my parents worked. So it wasn't like the previous generation where we learned how to cook and bake from our mothers and grandmothers. "
" If you would ask me some of the ingredients that people are surprised by that could appear on my menu are such things as bleu cheese, vegetables like parsnips and rutabaga, bacon, pork fat, fois gras, truffles, and olives. "
" The true mark of professionalism is the ability to respect everyone else for their styles and always find something positive in every dining experience and highlight it in your thoughts and words. "
" Chocolate is the go-to ingredient for many people. It is the thing people crave when they are happy and celebrate; it is also the go-to ingredient for many people when we are sad or depressed. It makes us feel better. "
" As chefs, especially pastry chefs, your creativity plays such an important part in your daily work. We truly do have a blank canvas to work with every time we create a new dish. "
" As most people will tell you, the best pies have the best crusts. It has to be tender, flaky, and full of flavor. That is the key to a great pie. "