Chef-owner of Maude restaurant in Beverly Hills and author of Good Food, Good Life. Father of Hudson, 3, and Emerson, 11 months.
What's your go-to weekday dinner for your family?
A super quick but seriously tasty and comforting penne dish with sausage and broccoli rabe or kale—it just depends on what’s in the garden or the fridge. I can’t help but go back for more (and more) of this dish as I’m a sucker for all the delicious ingredients…the silky tomato sauce, sweet Italian sausages and sprinkling of pecorino cheese. It’s a true à la minute meal; it takes just minutes to make and should be enjoyed as soon as it comes together. My little guy, Hudson, loves it!
What was your worst kitchen nightmare?
Touch wood…I haven’t had any serious kitchen disasters at home with the family. However, Hudson has no qualms about spitting out my food when he isn’t a fan of a certain ingredient, flavor or texture. My biggest kitchen nightmare actually took place in London in my late 20s at a restaurant I was running called Bluebird. They had this big, old wood-fired oven, and it hadn't been used for a couple of years. The old chef had just left it there, and no one had used it, so I just assumed that it hadn't been used because he couldn't be bothered or whatever. So I said to my sister, "Come in. Bring all your girlfriends, and I'll cook all the food I'm going to put on this new dinner menu."
I wanted to see how hot this oven could get, so I'm burning loads of wood in there. I had it cranked, and she arrived, and they sat down and got their glass of champagne and some bits. Then all this smoke was coming out of the flue of the oven, and I kind of thought, "It must be because it hasn't been used for so long," and it progressively got worse. What had happened was there wasn't an appropriate fire void above the oven, so it started a fire in the ceiling. I almost burned down this incredible, AAA-rated heritage building, all in the name of cooking this massive meal for my sister. How’s that for a nightmare?