A fun Q&A with some of the state’s up-and-coming chefs as well as culinary superstars.
Photography by Cindy Momchilov
GILBERT M. ALAQUINEZ JR.
Forty Two / Little Rock
Hometown: San Antonio, Texas.
Are you a formally trained chef or an on-the-job-trained cook? An on-the-job trained chef.
Where were you trained? The school of hard knocks.
How many years have you worked in the food industry? 18 years.
What or who inspired you to become a chef/cook? My grandmother and the early cooking shows on PBS inspired me. [Cooking] was my responsibility as the oldest sibling. While my mother took night and weekend classes for her master’s degree, I cooked dinner for my two younger brothers. At some point, my brothers preferred my cooking over my mother’s, and the rest is history.
What was the first item or meal you prepared? Breakfast.
What is your favorite meal to prepare? Lemon oregano roasted chicken, brown butter gnocchi and kale arugula salad.
What is your favorite meal? Cheeseburger and fries.
What is your favorite place to eat out? kBird in Little Rock.
What is your favorite junk food? Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal.
What is your favorite type of cuisine? Anything Asian — Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, etc.
What is your favorite utensil, gadget or piece of equipment? A trusty chef knife and deli containers.
Where do you find new recipes and/or ideas for new recipes? In magazines and cookbooks, from talking with other chefs, the Internet and TV.
For whom would you most like to prepare a meal? My grandfather — I never had a chance to cook for him.
Music or silence? Music.
Salty or sweet? Salty.
Bake or “nah”? I love to bake.
Beer, wine or cocktail? Yes — just depends on the occasion or mood I’m in.
Do you cook at home? Yes.
What food or meal do you wish you’d invented? Steamed buns.
What food trends do you like or hate the most? I love the local food trend; hopefully, it will turn into the norm.