Andrew Brannin's Floridian roots and love of comfort food in which "spicy is king" all shine through his racy small-plates-based cuisine at the Burgundy Room. A self-taught cook, Brannin's culinary career began as a dishwasher at a "down-and-out seafood joint" in Orlando.

Age: 34

Title: Executive chef, Burgundy Room

Hometown: Orlando

Current neighborhood: Clintonville

Andrew Brannin's Floridian roots and love of comfort food in which "spicy is king" all shine through his racy small-plates-based cuisine at the Burgundy Room. A self-taught cook, Brannin's culinary career began as a dishwasher at a "down-and-out seafood joint" in Orlando.

Moving to Columbus in 1997, the ambitious Brannin says he continually pored over cookbooks, "busted my ass," and was fortunate to apprentice under great Columbus chefs like David Tetzloff (G. Michael's) and Ben Graham (Burgundy Room). Brannin, who says he constantly asked questions of his mentors, also wanted to take this opportunity to thank them for all their patience.

What kinds of menus do you find interesting?

I really dig what Paul Kahan [of Chicago's cutting-edge contemporary American Blackbird restaurant] is doing. My wife and I ate at Blackbird last October and I still daydream about that meal.

Is there anything on your menu you never tire of eating?

Shrimp and grits

What's your favorite food and drink pairing?

Pizza and beer

What ingredient could you not live without?

Red bell peppers/hot sauce

Describe a great summer meal you'd make for friends.

Catfish po'boys, red beans and rice, cucumber and tomato salad, green beans with lots of bacon and watermelon with a little salt. What makes it a truly great summer meal iseveryone contributingveggies from their own gardens.

What influences make their way into your cooking?

Southern, Latin, Caribbean and Americana.

What's your favorite: meat, cheese, fish and fruit?

Pork! Fourme d'Ambert. Red snapper. Watermelon.

What was the best meal you've ever had?

It's a tie between High Cotton in Charleston and Blackbird in Chicago

What do you eat/drink after a busy service?

Bourbon and PBR

Do you have a "hangover cure" meal?

Fried chicken, mac and cheese, and ice-cold High Life

What kind of music do you like to listen to while cooking?

Good ol'-fashioned rock 'n' roll

If you weren't cheffing, what might you be doing?

Working as a bicycle mechanic