On the Line: Manuel Gonzalez of TAPS Fish House & Brewery, Part One

Categories: On the Line
TAPSmg1.jpg
Kevin Lara

We head north this week to visit with Brea mainstay TAPS, which locals frequent for Sunday brunch. This is the domain of Manuel Gonzalez. His heart belongs to pho, and his weirdest customer request is NSFW. This certainly makes for an interesting start to On the Line. (Stay tuned for part two on Wednesday to learn his strategy behind cooking for a successful establishment.)

What are six words to describe your food?
Delicious, fresh, seasonal, tenderoni, umami, original.

What are eight words to describe you?
Workaholic, passionate, happy, acute, charismatic, listener, kindhearted, old soul.

Your best recent food find:
Mustard caviar (simmer mustard seeds, honey and liquid of choice for a tasty caviar-like honey mustard).

Most undervalued ingredient:
Pepper.

Rules of conduct in your kitchen:
Treat everyone as you would want to be treated.

One food you detest:
Hot wings!!

One food you can't live without:
Pho.

Culinarily speaking, Orange County has the best:
Strawberries

What fast food do you admit to eating?
In-N-Out.

Best culinary tip for the home cook:
Get your pan hot.

After-work hangout:
Haven Gastropub.

Favorite celebrity chef:
Mario Batali.

Celebrity chef who should shut up:
Bobby Flay.

Favorite music to cook by:
Salsa.

Best food city in America:
Chicago.

What you'd like to see more of in Orange County, from a culinary standpoint:
More chef-owned farm-to-table restaurants.

What you'd like to see less of in Orange County, from a culinary standpoint:
Less restaurant chains.

Favorite cookbooks:
There are so many, such as Happy In the Kitchen by Michel Richard.

When you're not in the kitchen cooking, what are you doing?
Enjoying the company of great friends and family.

Weirdest thing you've ever eaten:
Fish eyeballs.

You're making breakfast. What are you having?
Over-easy eggs set atop yesterday's homemade Spanish rice.

You're at the market. What do you buy two of?
Five-ingredient Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream--one for when I get home, and the other just to have on hand.

Weirdest customer request:
A threesome.

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