The American's Executive Chef Debbie Gold competes tonight on Top Chef Masters and the restaurant is hosting a watch party from 8 to 11 p.m. But an hour-long reality cooking competition is not long enough to get to know one of the city's most accomplished chefs.
So when I sat down with Gold last week in the lounge at the American to discuss the show, I also asked her five questions for the debut of our own new series introducing Fat City readers to chefs around Kansas City.
What are the biggest challenges you face right now as the chef at the American?
I think the economy is somewhat of a challenge for everybody. But mostly it's about changing people's perceptions. We're a fun place [Gold laughed here]. And we're less expensive than a lot of the steakhouses in town, which most people don't know.
What food is you guilty pleasure?
Chocolate. Chocolate. Chocolate. I like dark chocolate if I'm in the mood, but if there are M&Ms around I'll eat them. And, oh, the Midnight Milky Way -- that's hard to resist.
If you could cook for one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
M.F.K. Fisher. She was a big food writer in her day and having read a lot of what she wrote, I think it would have been great to get her take on my food.
What are the rules of conduct in your kitchen?
I'm all about respect. You treat people with respect, respect the product, and respect equipment. It's also about staying clean and being responsible for the food on your station. Adults don't like shortcuts, so I just tell everyone what is expected of them.
What was your proudest moment as a chef?
Teaching my children how to cook. It's been fun teaching them how to use a French knife. We'll make everything -- it's whatever my girls want to learn. We make tacos, spring rolls, lasagna, and stir fry rice is a big one. We tried sushi, once.
Image courtesy of Bravo.