A fun Q&A with some of the state’s up-and-coming chefs as well as culinary superstars.
Photography by Janet Warlick
TODD R. GOLD (Online Exclusive)
CEC, CCA, AAC / Pulaski Technical College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute / Little Rock
Hometown: Little Rock.
Are you a formally trained chef or an on-the-job-trained cook? I was formally trained at La Maison Meridien and The Memphis Culinary Academy.
How many years have you worked in the food industry? 28 years.
What or who inspired you to become a chef/cook? At 15, I was a dishwasher at Bruno’s Little Italy; by 18, I was the kitchen manager and leaving for culinary school. It was just one of those things, it’s always been my path.
What was the first item or meal you prepared? When I was 8 years old one Saturday morning I woke up before everyone else and prepared scrambled eggs using food coloring. My plan was to serve “Green Eggs and Ham” for everyone.
What is your favorite meal to prepare? I love just about anything Northern Italian: chicken Parmesan, veal piccata, chicken marsala and, of course, all with risotto rice and seared asparagus.
What is your favorite meal? I like to take the time to enjoy a multi-course dinner with wine pairings, usually with other chefs so we can strategize on our menu and wine selections. This usually happens at restaurant One Eleven at the Capital Hotel.
What is your favorite meal to eat out? At this point in my life, it is much more about whom I am dining with versus the establishment, but sometimes I enjoy good Southern comfort foods: fried chicken, mashed potatoes and corn, of course all natural and no GMOs …
What is your favorite junk food? French fries or fresh-fried potato chips.
What is your favorite type of cuisine (i.e., Chinese, Italian, etc.)? Hard to pick between French and Italian.
What is your favorite utensil, gadget or piece of equipment? My chef’s knife is always first, but I am really into a hot infusion siphon right now.
Where do you find new recipes? Ideas for new recipes? Reading magazines and journals.
For whom would you most like to prepare a meal? My grandmother, Sarah Gold, who first taught me how to cook in her kitchen.
Music or silence? Music.
Salty or sweet? Sweet.
Bake or nah? Nah.
Beer, wine or cocktail? Cocktail, right now anything with tequila — I’m definitely into tequila right now.
Do you cook at home? Not much. I should do more of that!
What food or meal do you wish you’d invented? Beef Wellington.
What food trends do you like or hate the most? I love it when chefs take the time to thoughtfully plan out their plates; it can be a moment to show their artistic abilities! I never cared for the food stacking — especially when there is some long sprig of herb sticking out of the top of whatever I am being served.