Chef Mark Fischer on treating knives badly, pussies and unicorns
Most underrated ingredient: Common sense: a sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts. Common sense can carry a cook further than the greatest culinary education; common sense can carry a menu further than the greatest inventory of ingredients; and common sense can make the uneducated dishwasher the greatest employee any restaurant can ever have.
Favorite local ingredient and where you get it: Currently, chanterelles. They're like unicorns. Okay, so a little weird on the analogy, but it's my interview. I've found more chanterelles in the backcountry than unicorns; I think good directions for sourcing both are equally unreliable.
Favorite spice: Coriander, because it hasn't been taken by anyone else yet...and I love the mysterious and simple complexity of flavor that roasted coriander can add to everything from a curry paste to roasted pork.
One food you detest: Lavender is like eating (bad) perfume...or perhaps having your mouth washed out with soap, which I happen to know quite a bit about.
One food you can't live without: Coffee. I'd like to say something more "chef-like," such as butter or pork belly or foie gras, but the truth is, life is just about over without good coffee. It should really be its own food group.
Food trend you wish would disappear: Tweezers. I'm all for thoughtful presentation, but using tweezers to plate your food is that ultimate manifestation of food being touched and arranged and handled in unnatural ways.
What you'd like to see more of in Denver/Boulder from a culinary standpoint: Elegant simplicity. It takes far more skill and thought to do more with less. Why use 2,000 words, when 1,196 will suffice?
What you'd like to see less of in Denver/Boulder from a culinary standpoint: I sense a collective paranoia (or maybe it's a collective insecurity) about the food in this city. Denver's food certainly has been under the radar on a national level in years past, and I think that lack of recognition manifests itself in a weird collective lack of esteem. I will testify under oath that there are truly some badass cooks here -- and incredible restaurants, all equal to any other city's. We've got it pretty good here. Enjoy that relative anonymity before the secret gets out and reservations everywhere become impossible to attain.