Greg Daniels of Haven Gastropub, Part 2
|Photo by Kimberly Valenzuela|
Greg Daniels: Creativity. There are a lot of restaurants in Orange County, but not many that are culinarily noteworthy. I think it will take some great young chefs putting out incredible food to change that. We want to keep the residents of Orange County in Orange County, instead of venturing up to LA.
OCW: What you'd like to see less of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint:
GD: Chain restaurants.
OCW: Favorite cookbook?
GD: Right now, it's Under Pressure, by Thomas Keller. We've been cooking sous vide lately, and it's a great reference tool. Keller is a genius, by the way. Anything he does, he strives for perfection. All of us chefs can say we do the same, but he has the resources to actually hunt down the little farms that he buys from, pay them top dollar for their amazing product, and pass that cost onto the consumer. In this economy, he's one of the only ones out there that can do that right now.
OCW: What show would you pitch to the Food Network?
GD: "How to Avoid Eating the Same Shit the Rest of America Eats"
OCW: Weirdest thing you've ever eaten:
GD: Duck fries at Incanto. Those are testicles--for those that are wondering. Sautéed with bacon and capers. Really tasty, and plump like little sausages.
OCW: You're making an omelet. What's in it?
GD: Cheddar cheese, mushrooms, onions, bell pepper, tomato. I don't have omelets very often, but like to keep it simple. I will load it with lots of Tabasco though. That's a good way to wake up in the morning.
OCW: What's your favorite place to buy ingredients?
GD: The Irvine farmers' market. I've seen it grow a little bit over the years, and really hope that it continues to grow. My hope is that it will rival Santa Monica someday soon.
OCW: You're at the market. What do you buy two of?
GD: Cases of Chinese broccoli. From Cheu, this little Chinese guy that has some of the best vegetables available there. I had some sugar snap peas the other day from him that blew my mind.
OCW: Weirdest customer request:
GD: Heinz Ketchup. We make our own, but people will ask if we just have one bottle of Heinz somewhere? The answer is no. No ranch dressing either, in case you were going to ask that later.
OCW: Favorite OC restaurant(s) other than your own:
GD: Charlie Palmer, Lola Gaspar, Mesa, Lucca, and Sol Cocina.