Chef Q and A
Executive Chef Derrick Derrick Hamilton
Flight Bistro and Social Lounge
8082 Adams Ave.
Huntington Beach, CA 92646
Question: Who or what inspired you to become a chef?
Answer: There are many influences for me wanting to become a chef. First and foremost I would have to say in this industry you can never stop learning. This was the type of thing that always intrigued me as I was becoming a chef. Also you cannot forget about family; my dad, mom, mother-in-law, grandmother, and great grandmother. Talk about amazing food.
Question: Where did you learn your craft?
Answer: I went to Art Institute California Los Angeles. Great place to learn and experiment with flavors as well as building a foundation of skills.
Question: Did you cook growing up?
Answer: I was always in the kitchen wanting to help and watch my family cook. Plus I got to taste things along the way. I remember cooking meatloaf with my grandma when I was 6.
Question: When did you realize you wanted to be a chef?
Answer: It was always in the back of my mind. Then here I was in Los Angeles, 20 years old, on my own. I saw a commercial and it spoke to me like a sign. This is what you really want to do. I saw it as a calling of sorts. One of those moments that you realize your not 6’7 and your not the next Michael Jordan. But hey what about Mario Batali or Rick Bayless.
Question: What was your first restaurant job?
Answer: I was a 15 year old Busboy for a French bistro in Mountain View, CA. From busboy to prep cook. They gave me a knife and showed me a few techniques and away I went.
Question: Do food trends affect your cooking style?
Answer: Like I said before in this industry you can never stop learning. You have to always look at the trends. 10 years ago it was Asian Fusion, maybe Molecular Gastronomy tomorrow. Plus you have to give people what they want but still be true to your own type of cuisine.
Question: What is your most popular dish?
Answer: Well my favorite dish is my Slow Braised Short Rib with Sweet Potato Mash and Mole Poblano. But most popular here would have to be my Truffled Mac and Cheese.
Question: What is your secret ingredient? Why?
Answer: Mascarpone Cheese for the Truffled Mac and Cheese. I love the creaminess that mascarpone cheese brings as an ingredient to a dish.
Question: Do you have a favorite kitchen gadget?
Answer: Micro plane.
Question: What annoys you most in the kitchen?
Answer: Retraining cooks to do things in a way to ensure that things come out consistent.
Question: What do you enjoy most about your profession?
Answer: Being able to be Creative. Pushing yourself to be better, to make better food.
Question: Is there a food you can’t bring yourself to like?
Answer: Curry, I just don’t like the combination of spices.
Question: What are some of your favorite restaurants?
Answer: I am a simpleton when it comes to food. My favorite restaurants are Clarke’s Burger in the Bay Area, El Gallo Giro in Huntington Park, Sam Woo in Cerritos and the Buffet at Treasure Island in Las Vegas.
Question: What is one great cooking tip you can share with home cooks and foodies?
Answer: Taste, Taste, Taste everything as you are cooking.
Question: When you’re not in the kitchen what are you doing?
Answer: Watching movies with my wife
Question: Last meal on Earth would be??
Answer: My grandma’s Meatloaf, My Nana’s Spanish Rice, My Mom’s Beef Ribs, My Dad’s Ribeye, My Mother-in-Laws Beans, My father-in-laws Menudo and My wife’s Bionico. If I am going out I want a little of all my favorites.