Every night, the world’s cooks subject themselves to the heat and pressure of the professional kitchen. We wanted to turn up the pressure on them in a different way, subjecting them to our rapid-fire interview about travel, food, and pop culture. In this episode, we talk with Craig Strong, who was previously the chef for Studio at Montage Laguna Beach, earned a Michelin star for two years running at Langham in Pasadena, and is currently working on a new restaurant in downtown Laguna.
What is your drink of choice?
I married a Latina, so it’s margaritas at the house.
Who did you idolize as a kid?
My dad. I look up to him a lot; he’s really a Renaissance man. He was a great professor for many, many years, and I think what he’s instilled in me is a passion to grow the next generation and be a teacher.
Most underrated food city in America?
I think Atlanta. It has a great melting pot of a bunch of different cultures. There’s some underrated chefs there that are doing some really cool stuff.
What’s one place you haven’t traveled where you’d really like to go?
Japan. I think that the meticulous nature and the diversity of food would be eye-opening.
Waffles or pancakes?
Die Hard or Lethal Weapon?
I like Lethal Weapon.
Ferrari or Lamborghini?
I would go with the Ferrari.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing?
I would be a farmer. It’s still touching food in a way, but the hours are different. You’re still working within the seasons, you’re touching things with your hands, you’re watching things grow, which is a little slower-paced than trying to get set up for service every day.
Chunky or smooth peanut butter?
NBA or NFL?
NFL, for sure.
Biggie or Tupac?
Sweet or savory breakfast?
That’s a tough one. Probably savory.
If you could cook a meal for anyone living or dead, who would it be?
My grandfather. He was a chef, and he passed away before I could show him what I could do.
And what would you cook?
I would probably do a simple chicken dinner for him. Something in my backyard where I’m picking vegetables out of my garden and grilling and just sitting with him in the backyard and catching up.