On the Line: Mark Cleveland of Avanti Cafe
1. Dish that you cook that most represents you.
Mujadarah - Lebanese rice & lentils w/ caramelized onions & black pepper. When I first read the recipe I could see it played out in my reinvention the way musicians can read sheet music & hear the piece. I made it my own by switching immediately to brown rice, blending a mixture of organic brown rice varieties & blending colorful lentils as well, toasting black & brown sesame seeds, grinding our Avanti black pepper blend & caramelizing large quantities of half moon sliced yellow onions in extra virgin olive oil & grapeseed oil. A classic comfort food reinvented for wholesome American abundance.
2. What was the last meal you had at home?
Wide noodles w/ lemon grass sriracha ketchup & Avanti pepperoncini sauce over cold organic iceberg lettuce salad w/ home grown Tabasco chili peppers, cucumbers, red peppers & chives, garnished w/ white miso millet, quinoa, amaranth & pumpkin (a delicious concoction of food gifts, South Coast Farm favorites & leftovers)
3. Your favorite restaurant (other than yours):
Any of the many Buddhist temples on Mt. Koya in Wakayama ken south of Nara Japan. Shojin ryori vegan temple food is a complete revelation.
4. Fast food guilty pleasure:
Batter fried mixed vegetable platters - including onion rings, taters, yams, taro, mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, etc. w/ blue cheese dip
5. Complete this sentence I would like to [verb] [Food Network Star] with [noun]. (for example: "I would like to BEAT BOBBY FLAY with A STALE BAGUETTE." or "I would like to SHOWER GIADA DE LAURENTIIS with FLOWERS"):
6. Last meal of your life, what would it be?
I'll arrive hungry & make my selections from the Paradise menu tacked up on the Pearly Gates
7. Items you always have in your refrigerator:
Miso, capers, shallots, dry vermouth, hot chilis
8. Your most indispensable kitchen tool or appliance:
My hands - w/ all 10 digits intact, neither burned nor bandaged.