Some of the Greatest Chefs in the World are found in Orange County, California.
Chef Rainer Schwarz
What do you think is the next worthwhile food/dining trend?
It for looks like the trend is going more on the lighter side. People seem to enjoy smaller portions and multiple course vs big protein plates these days.
What food is your guilty pleasure?
Are cocktails considered food?
Is there a food you can’t bring yourself to eat? Hahaha, not yet.
Your favorite quick meal to prepare at home?
Nueske’s bacon… and maybe some eggs with it.
Your worst kitchen nightmare? Bad cooks.
Best cooking tip for a novice?
Remain humble and appreciate the ingredients you are working with.
What’s your last meal on earth?
Too hard to say… I love everything that’s bad for you -- like Foie Gras, Tripe, Liver, Cheeks, you name it. For me, it’s really more about the company I’m with since I love food so much.
Give us one reason why Orange County’s food scene rocks.
Diversity. There are many great ethnicities represented in the cuisines across the county.
What’s your favorite type of music to listen to when cooking?
I actually don’t listen to music when I cook. I don’t like kitchens that just blast loud music that distract cooks…
If you could cook for anyone who would it be?
My wife, Tasha. (What? I can be romantic!)
What’s the strangest request you’ve ever had from a customer?
A guest actually wanted us to order the soup from the restaurant next door “to go” and serve it to him in our restaurant. Did I? What do you think?
What’s the best part about being a chef?
Leaving pretension aside and presenting simple, but great food that speaks to someone.
What’s the most challenging part of being a chef?
Balance between work and family.
Anything you’d like to share with the readers?
There is no better industry than hospitality!
Just for fun, what is your favorite color?
Orange, of course – the Denver Broncos; my car is orange; my kitchen clogs are orange. I’m still working on orange pants and shirts, but I don’t want to overdo it. :)
What is your first food memory?
My earliest food memory is definitely my Grandmother’s Roasted Chanterelle Mushroom Ragu. She took fresh chanterelles and prepared them with Hungarian Paprika in the ragu... it was so simple, yet so good. I remember it vividly to this day. She is someone who has influenced my cooking a lot.
Did you grow up in a cooking family?
In addition to my Grandmother’s cooking, my Father was a master on the barbecue!
Why did you become a chef?
My family was in the Hotel & Restaurant business. We also owned a brewery and still have a winery. So, it came very naturally to me.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I used to be a professional Chess player when I was younger and I went on to study business in school. The road to becoming a Chef came along later.
If I weren’t a chef, I’d be:
If I weren’t in the culinary world, I would definitely be interested in the world of sports!
Who are your favorite chefs?
Just too many to name. But if I have to pick a few, I would say some of my favorites are Daniel Boulud, Eric Ripert, and of course, the one and only Paul Bocuse!
Which seasonings don’t you respect?
I just don’t like cinnamon.
Which spices are underrated? Garlic
Are there any culinary trends you like right now?
Plating ingredients separately instead of stacking them. The biggest one is of course unnecessary garnishes with micro greens, for example, that have absolutely nothing to do with the flavor or taste of the dish itself.
Any trends you consider overrated?
Not really… a chef should focus on what he or she feels most comfortable with.