Chef Talk: Mother Rucker
Eating Our Words: What made you interested in molecular gastronomy?
Randy Rucker: I'm not a boxer, so don't put me in that "molecular" gastronomy box.
EOW: Well, what culinary box would you put yourself in then?
RR: A box without a lid. The more you think outside the box, you inadvertently put yourself in a smaller one.
EOW: You seem to be a one-man army, even going back to the Rainbow Lodge days. Can you do it alone?
RR: No. Someone has to be there to eat. Cooking is a two-part situation.
EOW: You've been labeled the "crudo king" for your execution of raw fish. Do you have any advice to the guys following your lead?
RR: I have worked with some of the greatest chefs in the world. With exposure comes experience. Stop. Go back to law school or something.
EOW: You don't seem to need a brick-and-mortar establishment. How do people book your limited-seating, private-dinner "Tenacity"?
RR: With a great deal of luck and timing.
EOW: What's the best trend in cooking today?
RR: It's the best, and the worst. I hate the modern food trend. It is the future of cuisine, but cooks in general are misusing it. Everything should have a purpose.
EOW: What do you eat when you're not the chef?
RR: Anything between two slices of bread.
EOW: Who influences your style?
RR: My peers. Anyone who cares about quality in their respective fields. Twelve minds are better than one.
EOW: If a restaurateur offered you the reins right now, would you accept?
RR: If someone approached me and said, "Randy, here is the cash, do your thing," I would say, "If the match is right, let's run with it."
EOW: Any recipes for the home cook?
RR: Fuck recipes, learn techniques.
Overheard while watching Randy interact with his patrons.
"I'm a craftsman, not an artist."
"Craftsman first, artist later."
"Yeah, it's a natural hydro-colloid."