Chef Talk: Mother Rucker

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Cutting-edge chef Randy Rucker doesn't even have a kitchen. Eating Our Words crashed a private event he booked to get a look at what keeps him the most sought-after renegade around.

Eating Our Words: What made you interested in molecular gastronomy?

Randy Rucker: I'm not a boxer, so don't put me in that "molecular" gastronomy box.

EOW: Well, what culinary box would you put yourself in then?

RR: A box without a lid. The more you think outside the box, you inadvertently put yourself in a smaller one.

EOW: You seem to be a one-man army, even going back to the Rainbow Lodge days. Can you do it alone?

RR: No. Someone has to be there to eat. Cooking is a two-part situation.

EOW: You've been labeled the "crudo king" for your execution of raw fish. Do you have any advice to the guys following your lead?

RR: I have worked with some of the greatest chefs in the world. With exposure comes experience. Stop. Go back to law school or something.

EOW: You don't seem to need a brick-and-mortar establishment. How do people book your limited-seating, private-dinner "Tenacity"?

RR: With a great deal of luck and timing.

EOW: What's the best trend in cooking today?

RR: It's the best, and the worst. I hate the modern food trend. It is the future of cuisine, but cooks in general are misusing it. Everything should have a purpose.

EOW: What do you eat when you're not the chef?

RR: Anything between two slices of bread.

EOW: Who influences your style?

RR: My peers. Anyone who cares about quality in their respective fields. Twelve minds are better than one.

EOW: If a restaurateur offered you the reins right now, would you accept?

RR: If someone approached me and said, "Randy, here is the cash, do your thing," I would say, "If the match is right, let's run with it."

EOW: Any recipes for the home cook?

RR: Fuck recipes, learn techniques.

Overheard while watching Randy interact with his patrons.

"I'm a craftsman, not an artist." "Craftsman first, artist later." "Yeah, it's a natural hydro-colloid."

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