What’s the most exotic ingredient you’ve ever cooked with?
Fresh wasabi, which is actually hard to get. The “wasabi” you get in a lot of sushi restaurants is not actually wasabi, it is dried horseradish. We actually got it from a little place that, I think, was in Oregon. It usually only grows in a specific place in Japan, and Oregon was able to figure it out. That was a pretty cool ingredient – a lot of fun, actually.
What one cooking technique should everyone know how to do properly?
Patience is a skill that I think you need for cooking. It's not necessarily a technique, but for example: my wife will put a pan on the stove and then immediately put something in it. No! You've got to let that pan pre-heat on the stove for a while before you add oil. Knowing sequencing is important. Making a soup is not dumping everything into a pot and turning it on. Each ingredient needs to be treated a little bit differently. To make a marinara sauce, you sauté your onions first until they're translucent, then add garlic; and when you smell the garlic, then add the next ingredient, and so on. Patience is a key ingredient
Any other advice for aspiring chefs?
Cook with all your senses – your eyes, your ears, your nose, your sense of touch – not just taste. For instance, when you put a steak in a pan, if you're not hearing “sizzle”, then it's not hot enough and you need to be patient. When you smell the garlic, that's when you know you need to add something. Get fully involved in the food.