Taste of Vail guest chef Martin Rios Q&A
VAIL, Colorado Martin Rios started his career 25 years ago as a restaurant dishwasher. He worked his way up to the top of the restaurant food chain and now he serves as executive chef of Geronimo restaurant in Santa Fe, N.M. Rios plans to hold a cooking seminar Thursday as part of Taste of Vail. Those who take Rios workshop will learn how to make a diver sea scallop paella with red pepper and chorizo sauce. Rios spoke with the Vail Daily about his distaste for over-garnishing, his wifes excellent eggplant parmesan and his appearance on Iron Chef America.
1. Vail Daily: You started out as a restaurant dishwasher. How has starting at the bottom of the culinary ladder affected your view of the industry, now that you are at the top?Martin Rios: I understand the importance of what every single employee does in the kitchen and in the restaurant in general, and more importantly I have learned to treat them all with respect.2. VD: How did you know you wanted to be a chef?MR: I have always been interested in building and creating things. If I had been able to afford the education, I might have pursued a career as an architect. Instead, my early restaurant experiences showed me that I could build using colors, flavors and true construction, but with food as my medium. This has brought me great satisfaction.3. VD: What was it like competing on Iron Chef America last year?MR: It was a great honor to be the only chef from New Mexico ever invited to compete. The experience was great I thrive in a challenging environment. I know that I did my best and I would welcome another opportunity to go up against Bobby Flay in a different environment.4. VD: For you, is cooking at home completely different than cooking on the line? How so?MR: Yes, because my wife doesnt stock a professional kitchen and I eat very differently at home than the dishes I prepare in the restaurant.5. VD: If you had the power to ban a food from American supermarkets, what would it be?MR: Products that are so far from real food that you cant even identify any of the ingredients as coming from nature.6. VD: If you were limited to eating one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?MR: My wifes eggplant parmesan maybe if I put this in writing she will make it for me more often!7. VD: The public is getting more and more educated about authentic cuisine, techniques and ingredients. Does this give you as a chef more freedom or less?MR: It gives you more freedom because when you are preparing food for a more educated customer you can use ingredients, techniques and preparations that were in the past considered foreign or exotic. Now they are more readily accepted and enjoyed.8. VD: What ingredient or technique are you all fired up about?MR: Combining the new type of molecular cuisine with classic French techniques but not going over the top keeping it sane and approachable. 9. VD: What ingredient or technique are you just plain tired of?MR: Over saucing and garnishing of dishes including the use of inedible garnishes and hiding rather that showcasing the true flavors of ingredients.10. VD: Whats the best perk about being a chef?MR: I get to play with ingredients that I love. I get to learn everyday. I play a big role in the most important thing my customers do each day: eat!High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2938 or firstname.lastname@example.org.