Drew Hardin, exec chef of Lola, on cooks who don't have passion
What do you enjoy most about cooking? It makes people happy. Everyone loves food, and we try to give people what they love. It pumps me up to go talk to a table that tells me that our food, drink and service was spot on. It makes me happy.
Favorite childhood food memory: Going fishing in the morning to catch all the fish we needed for dinner. After cleaning the fish, the boats and the poles, it was time to cook, and I just wanted to help as much as I could, but my grandma, my mom and my aunts just wanted me out of the way, I think, because they always said they had a very important job for me: "Stand here and don't stop stirring these grits until I tell you." I'd stand there for an hour or so, continually stirring to make sure the bottom didn't burn.
Favorite junk food: Skittles, Sour Patch Kids, frozen White Castles, any flavor of Doritos, those spicy Cheetos, and the best Heath bar cookies you've ever tasted, courtesy of my wife. If you ever want some, let me know; she'll be happy to make them for you.
Last meal before you die: My mom's fried chicken. But she passed away, so I think I'd have some blue crab, sea trout, grits, okra and tomatoes, and maybe some black-eyed peas with ham hocks...and coquilles St. Jacques.