Where did you buy your ingredients for this dish?
I bought the meat at Lobel’s on the Upper East Side. Lobel’s is one of the last great independent butchers in the area. But I love Lobel’s not because they are part of a dying breed, but because they do meat better than Whole Foods could ever dream.
Is this a dish you often make? If so, why?
I have made this dish a lot. I love it because it’s an event in and of itself: 90 percent of the work is spent in the preparation and nine percent cooking and one percent eating.
Once you take the meat off the grill, the fun is over and it becomes this very brutal, primal process of devouring that depresses me. In that sense, I totally understand why most chefs design kitchens that are separate
from where the eating takes place.
Did you have any mishaps while making this dish, or did it go
It went very smoothly. It was raining pretty hard, which meant that it was difficult to get the desired heat (1000 degrees).
Do you cook often? Do you enjoy preparing meals? Is there someone you cook for, beside yourself?
I love to cook most of all for my wife, and then guests. It used to be nerve-racking cooking for guests when we lived in a tiny East Village apartment. Since then we moved to New Jersey and have ample room—and don’t let anyone fool you, that makes all the difference. You need space to play, and you need to be inspired by that space. I have a nice garden that I can grill in. Before, it was on a sticky tar roof,
against co-op rules!
Do you draw any connection between the food you like to make and the kind of design you do? Is your approach to one similar at all to your approach to the other?
In cooking you know pretty quick if something is good or bad. With design, who knows (who cares!).
How important is presentation to you?
Presentation during the process of making food is way more important than how it’s eventually presented. I grill on a $99 BBQ that I bought at home depot. It’s an updated version of the one my father cooked on
since I was 10 years old—that to me is as exquisite a look you can get.
When and how did you first learn to cook? Who taught you?
My mother taught me to cook. I came from a farm and spent more time in the kitchen than I did in the barn.
Do you think your relationship with food has changed much over the years?
The kitchen is home—one of the few spots I know I can go to and get grounded. Often I’ll just lie down on the bare floor of our kitchen for 10- or 20 minutes—literally getting grounded.
Is there a new way that you’ve noticed design and food connecting? How is design shaping our collective relationship with food, in your opinion?
More and more I think people are realizing that they actually have
a choice in all matters (big and small) that pertain to their lives: where they travel, what they drink, what they eat, what they watch, what they read, what they cook, etc. As they become more aware of this, they start to make more decisions based on what they want: they edit, they curate, they research, they shape, they form, they have to think creatively, before you know it they are designing the way they live! Cooking is then part of the design process.
Do you listen to music while you cook? If so, what’s your preferred cooking soundtrack?
I listen to the birds chirping and the fat sizzling.