Chef and Tell with molecular gastronomist Ian Kleinman
Six words to describe your food: Textural, global, fun, unusual, tasty and delicious.
Ten words to describe you: Childish, bipolar, perfectionist, crazy, dad, husband, blogger, native, musical and different.
Culinary inspirations: The hardware store, because I like to take machines that are used for different mediums and apply them to the culinary world. I took a chalk line, for example, which is typically used in carpentry, and filled it with edible powders. If you're looking for me, you can usually find me at Home Depot. And kids will love this: I'm completely inspired by Willy Wonka. I want to replicate the experiences that he was able to give to kids in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I've been working on food pills now for a couple of years. I've even managed to manufacture one with several layers of flavors.
Favorite ingredient: Liquid nitrogen. I'm able to get textures and shapes I could only dream about a few years ago. Plus it's really dangerous, and the ten-year-old inside of me really likes that. The possibilities for different textures are endless, and it's so much fun to see people's reactions, especially the reactions of kids.
Most overrated ingredient: Salt. Everyone uses it to enhance their food, even though there are so many better ways to get flavor: fresh herbs, the citrus of a lime, honey or maple syrup for sweetness, or even an infused vinegar. We should reach for these natural flavor enhancers before salt.
Most undervalued ingredient: Popcorn. I think we've only scratched the surface on what we can do with popcorn. It's taking a common ingredient that everyone's used to eating in its current form and turning it into textures that most people would never think was possible -- things like popcorn gelée, popcorn space foam, floating seaweed popcorn...
Favorite local ingredient and where you get it: Hatch green chiles. During chile season, I just drive down Federal Boulevard and hit whatever stand I can. There's a good one at the corner of Federal and Mississippi.
Rules of conduct in your kitchen: Save the drama for your mama; bring your Frisbee so we can play if the line gets set early; anything I might say to you in the rush of the moment must immediately be forgiven; and you must promise not to call the police.
One food you detest: Ramen noodles. I used to have to cook for myself a lot as a kid, and one time I left the noodles on too long and burned them. I was so hungry that I ate a bite anyway, and to this day, I still have that nasty flavor burned into my memory.