Part two: Chef and Tell with Sean Kelly from LoHi SteakBar
This is part two of Lori Midson's interview with Sean Kelly, exec chef of LoHi SteakBar. You can read part one of Midson's interview with Kelly here.
Lori Midson LoHi SteakBar exec chef Sean Kelly
Ten words to describe you: Husband, father, cook, dedicated, extreme, blessed, impossible, critical, introspective and obsessive.
Best food city in America: I adore San Francisco, and for me personally, it's the most inspirational place to go out to eat. But New York is the best food city, period. It's always exhilarating to eat in New York because it has the best of the best; if you make a name for yourself or your restaurant in New York, you know you've made it.
Favorite New York restaurant: I have a lot of great memories of New York dining. I grew up there -- culinarily speaking -- and I remember in the summer of 1985, New Orleans Cajun food icon Paul Prudhomme rented a restaurant space from Mel Masters for two months during the summer. Paul had taken his restaurant, K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen, to the Big Apple to set up shop New Orleans style so he could serve authentic goods to the hungry, curious and Cajun/Creole-obsessed New Yorkers. It caused total anarchy, though, because no reservations were taken, so everyone was democratically forced to stand in line for hours like commoners -- only to later feed community style on obscenely overpriced Cajun peasant fare. Still, it was one of my most unique dining experiences ever. I would add, though, that the most exquisite meal I've ever had in New York was at Le Bernardin.
Favorite music to cook by: Jazz -- without a doubt. Its infinite possibilities never fail to open my mind.
One food you detest: I detest any food that's laden with chemicals and overly processed. I could go on and on about how our government has failed its citizens on all sorts of topics related to our industrial food production systems, but the things that they're allowed to put in our food are, in many instances, very, very scary.
One food you can't live without: Coffee. It's an unnerving admission, but without it, I just don't know how much I could get done.
Favorite cookbooks: I own about 400 cookbooks and I treasure them all, but if I only had a couple of Alice Waters's Chez Panisse cookbooks, I could get by. I just love the purity of her cookbooks. You never look at one of her recipes and wonder why she's using an ingredient. She uses a lot of French techniques, but everything else about her books is American.
What show would you pitch to the Food Network? I don't have cable television, so I have very little knowledge of what they do on any of those shows...but I once thought that I wanted to produce a show featuring all the incredible natural products that are within our state's boundaries.