We appreciate and delight in the food, but what’s cooking beyond the dish? In a new series, Ono Yum steps out of the kitchen and gets a peek at the man behind the chef coat. Meet Chef John Park of Fish 101.
OY: What did you have for dinner last night?
JP: I was in Baja over the weekend, and Sunday night I had tostadas from La Guerrerense in Ensenada. The urchin with Pismo clam, avocado and chile pulla was the best thing I’ve eaten in a while. Then, I had fish and shrimp tacos from the Fenix taco cart a few blocks away.
OY: If you could share a meal with any one person, who would it be?
JP: My wife and Rick Bayless. We’re always so busy that when we eat at home, we eat standing up. If we eat out, it’s usually with the boys in tow. I’d love to hit some spots in Mexico City and coastal Mexico with Rick Bayless. The guy’s a legend in my eyes. He’s a legend with my wife as well since he’s into yoga.
OY: What inspires you in and out of the kitchen?
JP: In the kitchen: a clean kitchen, quality product and working alongside passionate people with the same mindset. Out of the kitchen: traveling, wineries, eating at great places, talking to vendors, farmers, and fishermen.
OY: What is your theme song? Why?
JP: Geez, anything 80’s, and the cheesier the better, so I can sing along. We’ve been roadtripping the last few weekends and my wife always plays “Blame It (on the alcohol),” by Jamie Foxx so we can sing together.
OY: Give away one trick/tip anyone could use in the kitchen.
JP: A sushi chef I used to work with a while ago and who I look up to would always say, “Mise en place is your friend.” Essentially, “Everything in its place.” You’ll save yourself a lot of stress if you can plan, organize, and work cleanly — whether you’re in a professional kitchen or planning a dinner party.
See Chef John and 14 other chefs at this month’s I Love Poke San Diego event. Buy tickets here.