TLK: What do you enjoy about cooking or coming up with new recipes?
AH: I enjoy the process. Starting with an idea and seeing it come into fruition and how that idea is sparked, that's interesting. Sometimes it could be a recipe or dish that inspires us, or sometimes it could be just going to the museum and seeing certain colors pop and wanting to emulate that in some way through food.
And then I think the most exciting part of the process is that sometimes you want something to turn out a certain way and through mistakes or just fate, iit becomes something better or totally different from what you had intended it to be.
TLK: How do you combine distinct flavors without one overpowering the other or seeming out of place?
AH: It’s always a balance of flavors, which I think every chef keeps in mind. It’s a balance of sweet, salty, acid. Textures come into play, and then also another big one for us has always been to make sure that food is simple. We can complicate it and overthink it all we want in the kitchen, but the important thing for us is that once it hits the table, hits the guests, we want it to seem effortless. They don’t need to know that it took 36 hours to cook a piece of meat, they just want to taste it.
That’s why when I go out to eat, I’m not necessarily amused or impressed by technique. Technique is very important, but if something tastes good, you can taste the love and the care that went into the food. So for us it’s always focusing on starting with five core ingredients, making sure that they’re the best quality, and then trying to work within that number. Five seems like a good number of ingredients to work with as long as we can keep them really solid, good quality, good flavor.