Eli Odell dishes on hammering eighty pounds of wings and the Deadliest Chef
This is part two of Lori Midson's interview with Eli Odell, executive chef of Highland Tap and Burger. In part one of that interview, Odell dishes on what he learned from Matt Selby, and what might happen if you wear chile-pepper pants in his kitchen.
What's the best food- or kitchen-related gift you've been given? A full set of cast iron from my brother, Tate. I believe it was a birthday gift, and I use and oil them religiously. But at the risk of coming off as being spoiled, truly the best kitchen-related gift I've ever gotten is the culinary-school tuition from my grandparents. They worked their tails off so that I could have the opportunity. God bless them.
One book that every chef should read: Happy in the Kitchen, by Michel Richard. He has a creatively playful way of looking at food, and it's important to remain happy and not too serious in this profession.
What show would you pitch to the Food Network, and what would it be about? Deadliest Chef. I'd go out on the crab boats, lobster boats and swordfish boats and cook the stuff up on the spot. It could be any life-threatening scenario, although just being on the boats themselves is life-threatening when you're in the barren sea.
Favorite celebrity chef: Anthony Bourdain. He's a no-frills guy, and his writing never ceases to thoroughly entertain me. Thanks for sending me off to sleep with a smile, Tony.
Celebrity chef who needs a muzzle: I think it would be hard for someone to become a celebrity if they were told to shut up. I've got nothing to say but congratulations -- how'd you do it?
Best culinary tip for a home cook: Line everything with heavy-duty aluminum foil; it makes cleanup easy.
Favorite music to cook by: Jedi Mind Tricks. Nothing like clever, angry underground hip-hop.
Favorite restaurant in America: When I read Michael Ruhlman's The Soul of a Chef years ago, he wrote a lot about Cleveland chef Michael Symon, who I liked right away. It wasn't until years later, when I met my wife, that going to his restaurant in Cleveland became a reality. Leslie grew up just outside of Cleveland, and every time we visit, we go either to Lola or Lolita. I highly recommend the bacon ice cream.