On the Line: Danny Godinez of Anepalco's Cafe, Parte Two
Behold the second part of our interview with Danny Godinez, chef and head of the wonderful Anepalco's Cafe in Orange. Rather, behold it after the jump, where he dishes on the superiority of crepes over enchiladas, the raging debate about authentic versus fake Mexican food, and other chismes! And click here for the first part!
Hardest lesson you've learned:
I've learned that nothing in this life is easy; you need to work hard and have discipline to achieve your dreams and goals.
What would the last meal on Earth be?
Who's your hero? Culinary or otherwise?
What cuisine that you are unfamiliar with would you want to learn more about and why?
Asian food, because they have a very interesting cuisine, and many of the ingredients that we use today came from there.
Is a crepe just a sweet rip-off of an enchilada, or vice versa?
No, they are totally different dishes, different flavors and textures. A crepe is a more versatile dish--can be sweet or savory.
What dish would you tell newcomers to try first?
Where did the inspiration for your take on chilaquiles come from?
The idea came from a Ahi Tuna Tartare.
How did you end up in a strangely shaped strip mall next to St. Joseph's Hospital?
I was looking for a location like this for a long time; I was lucky to find it.
What were you doing before you cooked at Anepalco's--that is, what's your background, culinary or otherwise?
I worked for a lot of celebrity chefs, I worked for Stonehill Restaurant, Montage Hotel, Charlie Palmer, French 75, etc.
Where do you stand on the authentic/not authentic debate that always happens around Mexican food?
Authentic. I've always try to keep the original and authentic ingredients in my Mexican dishes, except that I've always like to give my little twist in the way that is presented.
What advice do you have for those that might be thinking about starting a career in food?
That they really need to love it and be passionate about food.
What do you see yourself doing in 5 years? 10 years?
Working hard to get a 3 Star Michelin.
What you'd like to see less of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint:
French Laundry by Thomas Keller; El Bulli Collection by Ferrán Adria.
You're not in the kitchen cooking; what are you doing?
At the gym, playing soccer or riding bike.
Anepalco's Cafe, 415 S. Main St., Orange, (714) 771-2333; www.anepalcoscafe.com.