On the Line: Chris Kim of Rolling Sushi Van, Part One

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Photo by Meranda Carter

What can you say about someone who pimps sushi out of his nontraditional wheels? Chris Kim's luxe lonchera is a Mercedes Sprinter van, and he has even fewer square feet to work with than any New Yorker (assuming they're using their kitchens). While he recovered from the New Year's Eve event at the Orange County Fairgrounds, Chris found the energy to answer our burning questions.

What are six words that describe your food?
Healthy, natural, facile, inventive, unique, sensational.

What are eight words that describe you?
Passionate, adventuresome, well-trained, re-create, challenger, sociable, educated, welcoming.
Your best recent food find:

Learning from other chefs, including those on the Food Network and in magazines.

Most undervalued ingredient:
Nori, a.k.a. seaweed.

Rules of conduct in your kitchen:
Earnestness, clean, and put love into the food being made.

One food you detest:
Food containing MSG. I don't see the need of using MSG when chefs are able to make food that is healthier and tastier.

One food you can't live without:
I live and work with seafood all day.

Culinarily speaking, Orange County has the best:
Clam chowder.

What fast food do you admit to eating?
Pizza: I love tomato sauce, and there are different varieties of toppings that I can choose from.

Best culinary tip for the home cook:
Make food with ingredients that are seasonal.

After-work hangout:
Drinking and having fun with other chefs.

Favorite celebrity chef:
Nobu because he develops new recipes using his own style, without venturing away from the original sushi concept.

Celebrity chef who should shut up:
I think every chef has his or her own style, so I respect all chefs.

Favorite music to cook by:
Current Korean pop music.

Best food city in America:
Los Angeles because the food is made with fresh ingredients.

What you'd like to see more of in Orange County, from a culinary standpoint?
Chefs making food that is healthy for the customer.

What you'd like to see less of in Orange County, from a culinary standpoint?
Usage of MSG and products that are not fresh (e.g., fast food).

Favorite cookbooks:
New Century of Japanese Cuisine.

When you're not in the kitchen cooking, what are you doing?
Mountain climbing.

Weirdest thing you've ever eaten:
Lamb's brain.

You're making breakfast. What are you having?
Seafood miso soup with a bowl of rice.

You're at the market. What do you buy two of?
Any seasonal fruits or vegetables.

Weirdest customer request (and did you do it):
[Editor's Note: He left this space intentionally blank, so it's safe to assume this sushi master doesn't get any wacky requests.]

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