Round two with George Eder, exec chef of Pizza Republica
Favorite junk food: Crunchy Cheetos...and I don't even smoke pot.
Best recipe tip for a home cook: Keep it simple, and don't forget the salt and pepper.
What's the best food- or kitchen-related gift you've been given? A single-cup coffee press from my brother -- it's like a one-cup French press, and it makes great coffee. He and I are coffee geeks.
What was the last cookbook you bought, and what recipes are you cooking from it? My mom gave me the Silver Spoon cookbook, and there's a recipe for roasted game hen with red and white grapes basted with the juice that's just perfect. I love the simple classics.
What do you enjoy most about your craft? I love the adventure and discovery of creating a new dish. You paint this picture in your head, you have an idea of what it'll taste and smell like, now all you have to do is make it a reality. That's just awesome.
Best nugget of advice for a culinary-school graduate: Realize that while you may have learned a lot in culinary school, it doesn't even begin to scratch the surface in your pursuit of knowledge.
What's your biggest pet peeve? My biggest pet peeve is having things out of place. Seriously, I completely ADD-out on where they've been moved to. It drives me bonkers. I'm an organizational nut. Mise en place, people.
Craziest night in the kitchen: When the wine cookie went wrong -- way wrong. We were doing a wine dinner, and I found a recipe for a classic Italian clove-and-wine cookie. We were in a full sprint to finish the rest of the dinner, so I put one of my guys on it. The recipe was in Italian and the measurements were in grams, but fifty grams of ground clove is not the same as a fifty-gram bottle of ground clove -- that's the whole bottle. When these crazy cookies came out of the oven, they could have killed someone. They were hideous, like ground-up clove cigarettes and menthol. They promptly hit the trash and plan B started. We ended up making a quick panna cotta instead with fresh berries...and apologized for the clove cookies.