Our elusive chanteuse is known for many things — DIYs, make up tips, floral arrangements, the voice, but to his closest friends and family it’s one thing: the best brussels sprouts you’ve ever tasted.
His love for cooking and eating (not the other way around) has been the foundation for TTF and has been integral in shaping our ideals. Simple, wholesome, and delicious. “People were always asking me to send them recipes or how-to’s for my DIYs so I figured why not make a website? I’d been searching for an online resource that would cater to my interests that would be both informative but still inclusive with no luck. So I ended up creating one of my own.”
We sat down with him to chat about his inspirations, his cooking POV and his greatest kitchen fears. At the end we also include the recipe for his famous brussels sprouts. G.O.A.T.
How long ago did you start cooking?
“My mother was really focused on getting my sister and I involved in the cooking process from a very young age (3-4 years old) because she didn’t want us to be picky eaters. So I think by the age of 6, I was already making my own scrambled eggs and by 7 I learned how to boil pasta. Two essentials in my current repertoire.”
Why has it peaked your interest to this level? What led you to become such a foodie?
“I think my mother’s plan backfired because I believe that all foodies are just picky eaters,” laughs, “don’t get me wrong, I learned to eat whatever was put in front of me and I expect the same from my dinner guests as well, but I think just always wanting my dishes to be prepared a particular way was a driving force in wanting to be so involved in the kitchen.”
Having a discernible palate helps, how is your taste different from other people?
“It’s just a culmination of a bunch of little things: I like bacon to be extra crispy, I like everything double toasted, I look at anchovies and garlic as a main ingredient, and sometimes I enjoy the accruements even more than the actual dish. I have a constant fear of being a burden, so instead of asking people to prepare my food a certain way, it was just a lot easier to make everything for myself. Soon enough, I just got used to eating every meal that way.”
Let’s talk about fears, besides being a burden, what other kitchen fears keep you up at night?
“Trying out a new recipe for a new crowd. All the time when I would have people over for dinner I would think ‘that dish would be perfect for tonight’ but I’d be scared to attempt making it. That’s why I swear by the recipes that are under the Tri-ed & True category. Like I wouldn’t be telling the TTF readers to make anything that’s not under constant rotation at my house. I think that’s why I don’t bake often, the act of putting something in the oven and waiting is something I can’t stand. At least with cooking you can constantly adjust but with baking, you make one mistake and BOOM you’re done.”
But you bake, you’ve posted your signature Strawberry Bounce Cupcakes before.
“Trust me, the only baked desserts that I post are the ones that are totally idiot proof. I’ve adjusted ingredients, opened the oven a hundred times, forgotten about them, they’re super easy. That’s the only type of baking that I enjoy. I actually hate following recipes exactly, even if the instructions specifically say ‘follow this exactly,’ in my head I’m still like ‘eh, what’s the worst that can happen?’ Which pretty much makes me the worst type of baker. Haha”
Tell us more about your POV “Lazy Bougie.”
“Basically, the whole thing started off as a joke. My goal for everything in life is to seem like a million bucks by putting in as little effort as possible. So when it comes to cooking, it’s actually super easy to let the ingredients do all the work. That’s why I’m constantly scouring farmer’s markets and specialty shops for quality produce and meats. I honestly thought it was like pseudoscience but organic really does make everything taste better. When you buy things that are in season, you really don’t have to do anything to it to make it taste amazing. Plus I came up with extra tricks to make it seems like I put in all this extra effort in when a lot of times my recipes are insanely easy.”
What kind of tricks could TTFs employ to be more Lazy Bougie for dinner tonight?
“Freshly chopped scallions/chives/parsley on top of stuff really makes food pop and adds savoriness to everything. I honestly just throw on freshly chopped parsley on top of stuff and guests get impressed. Plus sauces, I feel like a lot of American cooking totally forgoes any type of seasoning and sauce, you’ll be shocked how much a simple pan sauce can really make a difference. For desserts, I just put berries on top of everything. They’re not very expensive when you get them in season, and everyone’s eyes pop when you put berries on stuff. They’re my brunch secret too. Everything is in the details.”