I don’t have a long family history of good cooks in my family.
I can’t grill vegetables, shellfish or steaks without tongs. Don’t bother with those long-handled grilling tongs normally found in the BBQ section of your home store. Get intimate with your grill and opt for the regular stainless steel tongs.
There are so many great things about this business. Almost everybody is on the same team. It is all for one-friendly competitiveness. No one is out to hurt anyone.
I think a lot of times people design restaurants with flash in mind. I think you should design restaurants with function in mind. Make sure it’s functional and works with what you’re trying to accomplish. Design can come later.
I live in New York and I’m in New York basically all the time. I spend a lot of my time in my restaurants, and I feel like that’s why they’re successful.
‘The Food Network’ was just starting in New York, and I was getting lots of attention from Mesa Grill. They had no money, so if you couldn’t get there by subway, you couldn’t be on. It wasn’t like TV was something I really wanted to do – but I knew it would be great publicity for my restaurants.
Most of the time, I grill over high heat. I like things to move fast. I like the sound and smell of a very hot fire. I gravitate towards dishes that you can get on and off the grill as quickly as possible. After a while, you’ll know without thinking about it how hot the fire is.
Nobody believed the ‘Food Network’ could last. Even I was short sighted and thought to myself, 24 hours of food on TV? They’ll run out of things to talk about in four days! But that wasn’t true. ‘Food Network’ continues to get better and evolve.
It is very important that when you put something on the grill, you leave it in place to cook. If you move it around too quickly, chances are it is going to stick.
I wasn’t passionate about food until I’d been cooking for a while. I started long before food became part of the mainstream media. I just wanted to cook, period.
Don’t try to be the next Rachael Ray or Bobby Flay, we already have those people. We want someone who is going to make their own mark on ‘Food Network.’
Basically, there are two things we know: Everybody has less time, and the general public is demanding better food – better in terms of quality and better in terms of flavor.
Everybody says, ‘I have problems overcooking steak on the grill,’ but just take it off earlier! Grilling is really common sense. It’s very simple. You should think of a grill as a burner – it just happens to have grates. You shouldn’t be intimidated by it.
Chipotles to me are a one-of-a-kind pepper because they’re smoked jalapenos, so they’re fiery and they’re smoky. It’s good to use chipotles in salsas or soups or condiments – that works really well. To me, they always really pick up anything you put them in.
Nothing goes perfectly, especially when you’re opening a restaurant.