Chef and Tell with molecular gastronomist Ian Kleinman
One food you can't live without: Ice cream, because it brings me back to my happy place. Rocky Road is probably my favorite, but only when I make it. I use housemade marshmallows, chocolate-covered almonds, chocolate fudge ice cream and cinnamon foam.
What's never in your kitchen? Zen. There's always an element of chaos in the kitchen. I have to have chaos.
Culinarily speaking, Denver has the best: Taquerías. You can walk into a dozen of them on Federal and get an amazingly authentic experience. My favorite is Tacos y Salsas.
Culinarily speaking, Denver has the worst: Places for chefs to hang out. Where's our Blue Hill, the big restaurant in New York where chefs go to hang out and talk about the culinary world?
What show would you pitch to the Food Network, and what would it be about? Chef Swap. Put Thomas Keller on the line at the Breakfast King and have Pedro run the expo line at Nobo...and then sit back and watch the pans fly.
Weirdest customer request: Can I get my get my beefsteak tomato cooked medium rare? It was a room-service request when I worked at the Westin. I've never laughed so hard in my life.
If you could cook for one person, dead or alive, who would it be? Einstein. I have a few questions I want to run by him. I try to apply science to the food world, right? There's a matter called Bose-Einstein condensate that's a fourth kind of matter that happens right before absolute zero, and I have a theory that you can make new flavors using condensate. I'd like to ask him if we can combine flavor atoms using a condensate.
Favorite celebrity chef: Frank Bonanno and Alan Wong. They both gave me some great advice early on in my career that's really helped me. Frank told me to always learn on the other person's dime; Alan taught me that every time you cut a tomato, it will always be different in flavor, texture and moisture. In other words, respect your food.
Celebrity chef that should shut up: The Swedish chef from The Muppets.
What's next for you? My wife and I started the Inventing Room Catering Company a few months ago to create fun, unique events for people tired of the same old catered experience. We do everything from liquid nitrogen ice cream parties and molecular dinner parties to mixology and Miracle Fruit parties. We'd like to open a store after we find the right investors, but until then, I plan on spending many days and nights in my lab trying to make new flavor compounds using a Bose-Einstein condensate.
To read the rest of Lori Midson's Chef and Tell interview with Ian Kleinman, click here.