Brian Luscher on Prague Powder and Frozen Potatoes
Yesterday we chatted with chef Brian Luscher owner of The Grape, the venerable Greenville Avenue American bistro that is celebrating it's 38th anniversary this month. He spoke about great cuisine done well, wanting to do a great job and make his clients happy. We also discussed his now legendary burger and its quick rise to fame. Today we ask the chef a few questions to get to know him a bit better and follow-up with him again tomorrow for a visit in his kitchen.
City of Ate: If you weren't a chef, what career would you have chosen?
Chef Luscher: I probably would've been an electrician.
City of Ate: What is the best dish you have ever eaten
Chef Luscher: April 10, 2002 with my wife on the verandah of Auberge du Soleil in Napa. Crispy Duck Confit with spring vegetables and this light cream/broth/foam.
City of Ate: What do you serve the vegetarian guest?
Chef Luscher: I try to keep all the sides of non red meat dishes vegetarian. I really make an effort to make something nice because I think a lot of times vegetarian requests are met with the standard pasta or grilled squash/veggie plate.
City of Ate: What is the strangest request you have received?
Chef Luscher: "Can we just get a whole bowl of ranch?"
City of Ate: Tell us about your favorite secret ingredient.
Chef Luscher: If I tell you it won't be a secret. prague powder #1...it's magic!
City of Ate: What do you cook at home?
Chef Luscher: I eat bits & pieces all week. I always eat standing up at work. Something satisfying and easy. A nice steak, salad, Courtney picks some wine.
City of Ate: What would you pitch to the Food Network?
Chef Luscher: A hardcore professional cooking show. 86 the housefrau angle and go into top kitchens and have the chef dissect a dish/technique.
City of Ate: What chefs influenced you the most in your style of cooking?
Chef Luscher: The guys who kicked my ass coming up. Jim Mitchell, Hartmut Handke, Charlie Ray.
City of Ate: What wine goes best with your burger?
Chef Luscher: Moet & Chandon, White Star
City of Ate: What was your worst kitchen disaster?
Chef Luscher: The bane of my culinary existence; Ore-Ida Brand Shredded Hash Brown Potatoes. Every time I try to cook them they totally suck.
City of Ate: What is the best music to cook by?
Chef Luscher: Pandora is the coolest thing ever! I've got this Superchunk/Dinosaur Jr./Radiohead thing going right now.
City of Ate: If you could master one sport what would it be?
Chef Luscher: Curling, Judo, or Table Tennis. I can't decide.
City of Ate: What might be something you never wish to cook again?
Chef Luscher: Penquin...just kidding, I've never cooked a penquin before