What's Your Favorite ... ?
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Dana Velden
Nov 17, 2011

Last week when I wrote about the cookbook Off the Menu, I mentioned that one of its fun features is the Escoffier Questionnaire, a list of questions modeled after the Proust Questionnaire. The Escoffier Questionnaire's questions were developed by the book's author, Marissa Guggiana, in order to take a deeper look into the influences and passions of each chef. The questions are designed, says Ms. Guggiana, to elicit short responses that are long on meaning.

Bur chef's aren't the only people who cook! What about you? How would you answer The Escoffier Questionnaire? Read on to participate in our mini-version!

In the book, there are almost 30 questions in The Questionnaire, so I choose three for our purposes:

• What three adjectives would you use to describe your cuisine?
• What is your favorite ingredient?
• What music do you like to hear when you cook?

Here's how some of the chef's answered.

Paul Kahan: Blackbird (Chicago, IL)
What three adjectives would you use to describe your cuisine?
Seasonal, clean, soulful.
What is your favorite ingredient?
Alliums -- all kinds.
What music do you like to hear when you cook?
I own about 8,500 albums encompassing different musical styles. For example: Iggy Pop when I'm happy, Dexter Gordon on a rainy day, and Motorhead when I'm feeling feisty.

Russell Moore: Camino (Oakland, CA)
What three adjectives would you use to describe your cuisine?
Delicate, subtle, and partially burnt.
What is your favorite ingredient?
Scallions and chervil.
What music do you like to hear when you cook?
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (mostly the sad and dreary songs,) Thin Lizzy, the Minutemen, and Bollywood soundtracks.

Suzanne Goin: AOC (Los Angeles, CA)
What three adjectives would you use to describe your cuisine?
Rustic, sensual, and personal.
What is your favorite ingredient?
Olive Oil.
What music do you like to hear when you cook?
I don't like music when I'm at work, but at home I go through phases -- Ravel, Wilco, Radiohead, among others.

Paul Liebrandt: Corton (New York, NY)
What three adjectives would you use to describe your cuisine?
Simple, graphic and feminine.
What is your favorite ingredient?
Fleur de sel.
What music do you like to hear when you cook?
The "music of the kitchen." I don't really play any music when I cook.

Cathy Whims: Nostrana (Portland, OR)
What three adjectives would you use to describe your cuisine?
Rustic, gutsy, and reassuring.
What is your favorite ingredient?
Anchovies and olive oil.
What music do you like to hear when you cook?
The Rolling Stones.

OK, now it's your turn!

Find the book: Off the Menu: Staff Meals from America's Top Restaurants, by Marissa Guggiana and published by Welcome Books. Find at your local bookstore, library, or buy for $24.32 at Amazon.

Related: What's your Favorite Apple Variety?

(Image: Melissa Guggiana)

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