side dish - what's stirring in indie kitchens
chefs: jason and cindy caminos
location: swallow, philadelphia, pa
recipe: cheese soufflé
is cooking a craft or an art?
As is the case with any cook between the ages of 35 and 65, Julia Child and Jacques Pepin; our grandmothers; Jason's grandfather, and Cindy's great grandmother.
Where did you learn to cook?
As kids, we both learned to cook in our family kitchens helping make dinner and prepare holiday meals. We then attended The Culinary Institute of America for our formal training. The advantage of training is, of course, the facilities and the amount of produce and product you have to work with. When you have 300 pounds of carrot to work with, it's pretty guaranteed that your cuts are going to be perfect by the end of the day.
The Professional Chef which is the CIA's main text book. It is the reference for any culinary questions you might have.
What's the one ingredient you could not live without?
BUTTER! Mmmm butter!
Favorite Microbrew beer or wine?
Most any Petit Syrah or Beaujolais nouveau (November 20th is right around the corner), We are not very concerned with the label if the wine is good.
Favorite music to listen to while cooking?
Django Reinhardt, Rancid, Paolo Conte, Erasure, Jacques Brel, Natalie Merchant and Tom Waits.
What is your favorite type of food?
One pot meals like stews, soups, chilis, and casseroles.
Most memorable meal?
Cindy- The Lark, the only 5-star restaurant in Michigan. It was a perfectly orchestrated meal that really opened my eyes to the potential of food.
Jason- A fried soft shell crab sandwich Cindy made for me 12 years ago. We were already dating, and being the romantic and pathetic character I am, I'd probably already proposed to her. But one, I had never had a soft shell crab before, which I realize might be shocking, but it was just something I didn't encounter prior to that. And I thought it was fantastic: crispy, sweet crab meat, a hint of briny sea-ness in it, a wonderful fresh mayonnaise she'd whipped up, and it stands out for whatever reason.
Most memorable dinner guest?
Lynn Yamasaki. Most memorable and favorite. Lynn is a friend and our former neighbor, before we moved from Philadelphia from D.C. She ate over at our apartment almost every night, and there wasn't a time when she wasn't fantastic company.
Most irritating celebrity chef?
Any poor cook who publicly criticizes anyone who makes a living in a professional kitchen. This is a tough industry, physically demanding and torturous. Too much to endure nastiness. I'm not really comfortable saying to professional chefs that I don't like what they're doing or they look like fools or they are allowing themselves to be a clapping monkey for the unseen masses. They're making a living; it's an honest living and good for them for it... But as soon as you turn the recorder off I'll give you a laundry list of people that I can't stand! (laughs)
What makes indie food better?
The use of fresh seasonal produce, and a deep-rooted disdain for pre-made foods.
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