Round two with Jeff Russell, exec chef of District Meats
Rules of conduct in your kitchen: The kitchen is a dangerous area, so there's no horseplay. In addition to that, no bad music; keep your station clean; keep your head down and work; don't ever leave your tools lying around; respect the food; respect the equipment; respect your co-workers; don't burn the bacon; and if you don't enjoy what you do, then go do something else.
What's never in your kitchen? Tears. Just like Tom Hanks says in A League of Their Own, there is no crying in baseball. Well, guess what? There's no crying in the kitchen, either.
What's always in your kitchen? Energy. A kitchen that doesn't have that certain buzz about it just seems flat and uninspiring to me. Other must-haves include a very sharp knife, plenty of spoons, a Japanese mandoline, small tongs and a Tammis spatula.
Best food- or kitchen-related gift you've been given: All of my cookbooks, but I especially love Seven Fires, by Francis Mallmann. It was a gift from family members, and it really ties into what we're doing here at District Meats and Wazee with the wood-fired oven and the rotisserie.
What are your favorite wines and/or beers? Masi Valpolicella is an easy-drinking light red wine that's good on its own, and I also like the Herra Vinho Verde that we serve here at District Meats. It's an effervescent wine that's easy to enjoy on a hot day. Anchor Steam is my favorite beer. I love the caramelized malt and toffee flavors...it's the real San Francisco treat.
Favorite junk food: I'm a sucker for Cheez-Its.
Most memorable meal you've ever had: Dinner at Bittersweet on Martha's Vineyard in the summer of 2003. I had an appetizer of potato gnocchi with duck confit, sultana raisins, Picholine olives and pine nuts and a main dish of crispy skate, cauliflower, almond, pineapple and aged balsamic. Nine years later, I still think about that experience.
Weirdest customer request: When I was the executive chef at the West Chop Club in Martha's Vineyard, we had a guest bring in her own half-eaten pork chop and some mashed potatoes that she wanted me to reheat for her.