Why did you become a chef? By fluke. My first job was dishwashing in a small restaurant in Healdsburg in high school, it paid 20 cents more an hour than minimum wage. I ended up helping the chef a lot in the kitchen; With that small amount of experience, I cooked my way through college and finally decided this was something I could do. By fluke, I managed to get a job at Ma Maison peeling vegetables for Wolfgang Puck. That's how it all started.

Favorite ingredient: Garlic & fresh thyme.

Unusual request: One time we had to hide an engagement ring in an order of oysters. We hoped that she wouldn't be so excited by the oysters and slurp that one down that concealed the ring.

Dinner party with 3 people: Buckminster Fuller, Thomas Jefferson & Gloria Leonard.

Chef or Cookbook author that has inspired me most: Wolfgang Puck & Leonard.

Best Culinary Schools: Any professional school in which you are willing to invest your heart and vest effort.