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The Pressure Cooker: Craig Strong Talks Margaritas, Pancakes, and America’s Most Underrated Food City [Video]

Can the chef withstand the pressure of our lightning round of questions?


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?

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.

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