I had the option to do a phone interview but I really wanted to do an interview in person. Festival Place is a wonderful, intimate venue for a concert and I got to come in during the sound check, which was a great experience for me. Also, how else could I bring Gordie, a big foodie, treats from Duchess Bake Shop! The whole crew could not wait for the box to be opened up.
Gordie is really down-to-earth and easy to talk to. He definitely loves food as much as music. Talking food with someone who loves it as much as you do is always a fantastic experience.
I heard that you are a big foodie. I was reading that you grew with Italian food.
Italian food and Ukrainian food. I grew up with 2 great schools of thought and it’s interesting because there are some places that it intersects. Perogies are potato-filled ravioli. My father makes fresh pasta and my mother makes fresh perogy dough. They both have to roll them out, cut them into circles, fill them, pinch them and boil them so then... this is the exact same thing though we all know it’s not but at the end of the day, it kinda is.
It’s like how every country has their version of meat on a stick...
There are these things you eat your entire life and then one day you realize when you are looking at them … like my mother used to make Babka, which is a Ukrainian Easter Bread. She used to let it rise and made it in a big ole coffee tin and it was this yellow, yeasty, cakey stuff with raisins inside. The Italians have Pannetone on the holidays and I was at my mom’s house one day and I was looking at it thinking this is exactly the same thing. It’s not similar, it’s identical.
You cook a lot of Italian. Are there specialties you make? You mentioned your father makes pasta dough. Do you?
No, my father has the machine and the whole restaurant set up. If I’m having pasta, I use the dry, I like it better. Hard to say what my specialty is… I’m the guy who makes the sauces once a week. I make my own pesto and tomato sauce. I make a giant pot of (tomato sauce) it and by the end of the week, we are down to just a little leftover which goes into next week’s sauce. We have sauce that has potentially 10 year old sauce in it.
Do you experiment in the kitchen? Do you make your own cheeses or yogurt? How adventurous are you in that sense?
In that category, I would say when I make Texas chili. I can make Indian food, Jamaican food ... but living here in Texas, I have gotten into the whole science of chili making. There are so many techniques into making chili, it can be very complex dish so I take an Indian approach by making a curry for my chili. We use local peppers, I will dry them for 6 months, hanging them in the sun in my kitchen and grind them in a coffee grinder. Chipotle peppers, Ancho chilies, which are very dry and raisiny, so when you grind them down to a powder, it’s amazing.