Travis Hyde, executive chef at Z Cucina
How different is cooking at home versus at work?
I keep it simple at home. I play with food, and I use my wife as my tester. We do a lot of Asian cooking - I like the freshness of Asian ingredients. My kids love their hoisin and sesame.
They also like steak - good steak, and not cooked beyond medium. If it's gray, my daughter won't touch it. For a three- and four-year-old, their palates are pretty sophisticated.
What are some of your favorite ingredients to keep on hand?
I love using tahini paste as a marinade. I just did a shrimp yesterday with that - take tahini, red wine vinegar, garlic and olive oil, marinate the shrimp in it and grill them. It is awesome. The tahini, because it's a sesame, makes a crust on the outside of the shrimp.
And these udon noodles are great. It's like ramen, but it's awesome. Whole Foods carries it, and I'll throw in vegetables to make a stir fry. Lee Kum Kee Chili Garlic Sauce is my go-to in Asian dishes.
What do you like to make for a light meal?
Keep it simple with some antipasto platters, as people like to call them. Chop up some tomatoes, onions and olives and put olive oil and vinegar on them. Make some hummus. Hummus is five ingredients, blend it up - it's so easy to do.
Where do you like to shop?
We do the farmers markets, and I have a huge garden. I grow all my herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers. Also, the North Market, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.
What's a trip to the grocery store like for you?
I will go through everything of a single item to find the best quality. If I'm looking for kalamata olives, I'll go through all the kalamata olives and actually look at the olives to check the quality - you can tell, if there's spots on olives, you don't want to buy them - and compare prices for the amount that I'm getting.
It takes a while. The produce section is the worst for me. I'm extremely particular about produce.
What won't you eat?
Oh my gosh, my wife is very into buying turkey hamburger. Turkey bacon. I hate it. I absolutely despise it.
It's nothing against turkey, but if I want turkey, I want sliced, roasted turkey. I don't want my turkey turned into something that appears to be bacon, but it's not really bacon. It's like, why are you lying to me? I get angry about it.