Ya know, I’ve known this guy via the Facebook foodie community for a while now. Not only does he stand out because of his unique twist on food, his stunning food photography, and his creative takes on food, but he’s a male, and he’s broken the glass ceiling in the foodie blogger world because really there aren’t that many men who do this. Oh, yes, there are lots of professional guy chefs, but that’s not the same as being a food blogger~~interacting with other bloggers in the FB universe, sharing recipes, taking photographs, hanging out with other foodies in social media and living and breathing food 24/7! Now if you want the statistics on this, they do exist. Saveur magazine did a survey in 2012 and found that 85% of us ‘foodies’ are female. Talk about gender disparity! I’m delighted to spend time with Steve and interview him~~trust me, I knew he was special, had a peacefulness to his soul, a chemistry of kindness and gentleness that even transfers, for me, through the Internet~~his focus on food is prolific and how he got to becoming a food blogger leaving his career of years is even more interesting. Stay tuned for more dude interviews~~ I figure we’ll let them break into the ‘girls’ club’! (That’s a joke~~don’t go getting all gender stressed!)
Stevie Wonder (that’s my special name for Steve!), what makes you tick and what ticks you off? I guess enjoying life is what really makes me tick. I love life and strive to be a positive and bright presence everywhere I go. I want be encouraging, pleasant and kind to the people I come in contact with. One thing that really ticks me off is people who continually whine and complain. Whether it is in a long line at a grocery store, on the roads, or anywhere, some people just like to complain and it takes the joy out of life. Life is far too short to be continually complaining. Plus, many of the things we complain about in North America are so miniscule and meaningless compared to the real travesties in the world. It’s all about perspective!
OK, I know that I’d love to be a fly on the wall…if there were a hidden camera following you, what would we see about you and your life? One of my favorite movies is the Truman Show and I loved the way he acted while the cameras were on him, especially once he knew something weird was happening! In the same way that we laughed at Truman’s bizarre antics, I am sure that following me with a hidden camera would provide many ‘laugh out loud’ moments. Aside from the embarrassing videos that would surely go viral on YouTube, what you would learn about me is the deep love I have for my family. There is nowhere I would rather be than spending time with my incredible wife and wonderful kids. Part of my passion for cooking comes out of a love to make the kitchen table a warm and special place for my family.
You’re one complex man, what defines you as a person other than a kitchen/cooking and family? I love my family and to work in the kitchen, developing recipes and taking pictures. But that is not all that I am as I am also defined by my faith. Up until just last year, my career was as a pastor. For more than 15 years I worked as a pastor, providing spiritual guidance for people as they went along their journey of faith. Jesus has been very good to me and I wouldn’t be where I am now, if it was not for him! My family has made some adjustments and I stepped away from ministry for now which has allowed me to start some new endeavors which is all very exciting!
From the pulpit to eats, what food trends are you excited about? As the world is getting smaller, international food is becoming far more popular and accessible. A couple months ago, I was in my local Walmart and was shocked to see fresh curry leaves in the grocery section. Curry leaves in a Walmart!?!? I have also seen fresh galangal and kaffir lime leaves in local supermarkets. These examples show that making authentic international dishes is easier now and I love that because I regularly make Thai, Indian, Vietnamese and others. That is awesome!
Now this is one of my favorite questions~~when you go to another person’s home for dinner, what mind chatter runs through your head as you watch, engage and interact in their kitchen, at their table? What do you think is the mind chatter of the host/hostess knowing that you’re quite the home chef/entertainer? I love this question because I experience these issues often. On many occasions, friends have told me that they either do not want to have me over for dinner or are insecure cooking for me. Every time I hear this I am bothered because I absolutely love going to people’s homes to partake in a dish they prepare. For me cooking comes from the heart and when I make a meal for people it is my heart on a plate. Each time I am in someone’s home, around their table, it is a special time as they share a meal with me. I love to see the passion and imagination in their cooking and I am always excited to try their culinary creation!
If I were snooping, which three ingredients would one always find in your kitchen? Why are they so essential and how do you cook w/them? I shared earlier that I have a love for international cuisine. Mexican, Thai, Indian and Vietnamese are regularly on the menu in our home, so I always like to keep stock of some of the standard ingredients to make dishes from these regions. Cilantro is so popular in each of those culinary regions and it has such a fresh flavor. I usually have a couple bunches in the fridge. Lime is another one of those ingredients that is great with grilled meat, international dishes, salads and desserts. Whether it is for the juice or the zest, I always make sure I have a half dozen limes ready to go! In my spice cupboard I have a large mason jar full of my own special BBQ spice rub. I have a smoker and a grill on my back deck that gets lots of action even in the winter and this rub is perfect on ribs, chicken, pork tenderloin and more. I even use it in my smoked BBQ beans recipe. They are killer! I’ve seen so many of your killer recipes, Stevie Wonder, what are you sharing w/us today?
Finally, Stevie, where can we find you hanging out in the social media universe?
Twitter Handle @blackpeppercrn