On The Line: Dean Simon of Bruxie, Part One
What are six words to describe your food?
Simple, fresh, flavorful, seasonal, unique and diverse.
What are 10 words to describe you?
Determined, stubborn, passionate, committed, optimistic, confident, excitable, thankful, persistent, perfectionist.
Your best recent food find:
Real Wisconsin frozen custard. It's what soft-serve is meant to be. It's a truly unique offering and fun to work with at Bruxie. Our shakes, floats and desserts start with this custard.
Most undervalued ingredient:
Fresh herbs. They really help ingredients reach their potential. Our Smoked Salmon Bruxie has fresh dill; our Sundried Tomato has fresh-herbed goat cheese; and our Prosciutto and Gruyere has fresh chives. They help to make an ordinary dish exceptional.
Rules of conduct in your kitchens:
Excellence all the time. Be passionate about food. Have fun!
One food you detest:
Beef liver. It's one thing I detested as a kid and just never developed a taste for over the years.
One food you can't live without:
Pasta. All types. My favorite is pasta pomodoro with grilled sausage.
Culinarily speaking, Orange County has the best:
Customers. They know, love and appreciate good food.
What fast food do you admit to eating?
In-N-Out. But that's not tough to admit. Simple, fast, fresh food is easy love.
Best culinary tip for the home cook.
Keep it simple. Keep it fresh. Don't overcomplicate. There's nothing like a great roast chicken.
At home with my wife and a glass of good wine.
If you could cook for one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
My dad. He has passed away, but I inherited his passion for food, and I wish he could be around to see where it has led me.
Favorite celebrity chef:
Wolfgang Puck, for his passion, for fresh ingredients, and, most of all, for his ability to motivate, inspire and develop young chefs.
Celebrity chef who should shut up:
For a guy that talks a lot, I probably shouldn't comment . . . glass houses, rocks, you know.
Proudest moment as a chef/restaurant owner:
On the second day of business, our batter had not risen, and it wasn't ready for 45 minutes after opening. Meanwhile, we had approximately 45 guests place orders and wait up to an hour for their Bruxies--and they were truly appreciative!
Favorite music to cook by:
All '70s, all the time.
Best food city in America:
Wow, this is a tough one. I would have to say it depends on the time of the year. I love regional, seasonal cuisine. Among my favorite cities are San Francisco, Miami, Chicago, New York and Dallas.
Favorite restaurant in America:
Azul in Miami. As a fellow Bostonian and New England sports fan, chef Clay Conley always impresses me with his seasonal dishes.
What you'd like to see more of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint:
Authentic ethnic cuisine.
What you'd like to see less of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint:
This applies to any region, really, but I would like to see less of those attempting to run a restaurant as they would any other business without passion for the food.
Le Technique by Jacques Pepin and Larousse Gastronomique.
When you're not in the kitchen cooking, what are you doing?
Cooking at home, playing ice hockey, golfing or sleeping. Not necessarily in that order.
Bruxie, 292 N. Glassell St., Orange, (888) 927-8943; www.bruxie.com.