When it comes to crafting dishes, what inspires you most? Do you have a culinary muse?
My city, Kansas City, our region and our people. We’re in the center of the country, bridging the difference between the coasts. We have access to farmland, rivers, lakes, forests and prairie. We have a rich history with food and agriculture. We have young cooks here who have traveled the world and cooked in some of the best kitchens anywhere before heading back home to do their own thing. I look at the great cuisines of the world and I realize that they grew and developed in places very much like Kansas City – medium sized cities near farmland. I love the idea that a great American regional cuisine can come from here. I want to highlight what we’re good at and figure out things we have that you can’t get anywhere else. I want to cook food that shows off our great producers and resonates with our diners. Food that is for us. I don’t need prosciutto di Parma if I have la Quercia just up the road. And I love knowing that many of the best chefs in NY and San Fransisco are buying pork that’s raised here and processed by my friends at Paradise Locker Meats, but I love it even more that I get the same stuff faster, cheaper and fresher! Kansas City also has a great sense of community. Chefs and restaurateurs help each other, share with each other, and also push and challenge each other. We all want our region and our city to get the respect it deserves and I think this is a great inspiration for us.