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1. Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
My parents moved us to Denver from New York City when I was three. A few years later they helped an amazing Chinese chef they'd met in New York relocate to Denver to open a restaurant. While he was an incredibly talented chef, he was a terrible business man and eventually left his restaurant(s) and our lives. But while he was around, I remember him preparing great feasts for my parents and their friends and teaching my dad all sorts of wonderful recipes and techniques. I grew up with ducks drying in front of fans, pantries full of (then) exotic condiments, weird dried vegetables and assembly lines at the kitchen counter where I was tasked with rolling out thin pancakes for Peking duck or stuffing BBQ pork buns. I have since inherited my dad's well-seasoned wok and utensils, a giant triple decker steamer, several cleavers, and many of the recipes my dad made while I was growing up. It gave me a love not only of Asian cuisines, but also of planning and hosting magnificent feasts for friends.
2. What's your least favorite kitchen task?
I have only had to skin a cow's tongue once, but it was a pretty disturbing task that I'd like to not do again.
3. Your favorite kitchen tool?
Many things come to mind, but I have an old, weathered flat wooden spoon that is tapered just right and has a perfectly smooth round handle. I have yet to find another anywhere that's nearly as nice to hold on to.
4. What is your idea of comfort food?
I really love a good bowl of brothy, noodly soup, especially with a perfectly cooked poached egg.
5. What is your greatest kitchen disaster?
Years ago I tried to make my husband a German chocolate cake for his birthday. I used an old cookbook of my grandmother's which involved some method of heating the sweetened condensed milk in the can. It must have cooked way too long because when I went to stir it together wit the coconut and pecans, it got harder and harder to stir. I briefly tried to rescue the situation by molding the dense mixture into two roundish shapes to put between my cake layers, but it hardened like giant hockey pucks. I gave my husband the cake for laughs, but it was completely inedible. I have since sourced professional and delicious german chocolate cake for him elsewhere.