Oh man, where to begin.
As long as I remember, I liked food. As both of my grandparents had farms, I knew where vegetables, fruit, and meat comes from, and how much work goes into having a meal on the table.
And since college, I had no other choice but to cook for myself and others. Eating well was expensive, eating trash was hell. But knowing the true value of the produce that goes into a meal, I enjoyed turning that into something tasty, and well, I still like to cook.
To this day I still like to improve my technique (15+ cookbooks and 3 stacks of cooking magazines in my flat, plus 25+ e-books are my witnesses), and consider a bad meal an insult to the produce.
What are my favourite places?
It really depends on where I am, and what do I crave.
It could be a 3 ingredient Roman pasta with extra guanciale. Pork n Peas from a great guy, and 2019 James Beard award semifinalist Sheldon Simeon. A 2 Michelin starred multi-course dinner, with great combination of flavors and textures. A salt beef beigel with English mustard and pickles. A humble teriyaki spam musubi. A potato fry bread, with sour cream and cheese.
What ties them together, I guess, is that all these places had their food well executed.
What do I cook the most?
Thanks to my upbringing it’s mostly potatoes and stews. Many times it’s even a Hungarian potato stew!
Joking aside, I think braising meats and vegetables in a liquid brings out the most flavor out of its elements, and lets you layer the taste of the dish. In some cases, though, I just let the produce shine. A grass-fed beef steak or a quick Italian pasta recipe relies on the quality of the ingredients, dressing it up is counterproductive.