Chocolatier Stephen Smith On Cooking With Mom and the Guilty Pleasure of Twinkies
I was raised in...a military family. My friends say I'm...too laid back. Too relaxed. My momma told me...to get married and get a family. I'm the only one left of six. (I have two brothers and three sisters.)
One of the most interesting things about my family is...I have two sisters who are adopted. They're my cousins from the Philippines. My parents adopted them when they were 6 and 7. The Philippines are very poor. My mother's sister asked my mother to take them so they'd have a better life. They haven't seen their family since 1991, but we're going to have a reunion next year. Today, one of my sisters is an adoption specialist and the other one is a bio-chemist.
If I had 24 hours to live I'd...throw a big dinner party with my friends and family and enjoy the last day with them. My guilty pleasure is...Chicken McNuggets from McDonalds. Or Twinkies. And whirlyball.
If I could go anywhere, I'd go...to the beach and veg out. That or go go-karting or something.
Never again will I...Who reads this? [He laughs.] Never again will I drink wine out of a baby bottle in a fondue restaurant in Paris. This restaurant's thing was to put wine in baby bottles. So everyone in the restaurant was drinking wine out of baby bottles.
Cat or dog...dog. I used to have a pug. But my girlfriend took her with her when we broke up. Her name was Clownie. My Little Clownerina Gal. Pugs apparently have long names. That's what my girlfriend told me anyway.
The CD I couldn't do without...of all time probably Jeff Buckley, Grace. My favorite, favorite, favorite CD of all times.
I relax by...reading. My favorite author is Samuel Beckett. I don't own a TV. I haven't owned one in 13 years. But I bought an electric guitar and amp and I'm learning how to play.
If it weren't for cooking, I would be...an underwater archeologist or geologist. My dad is a meteorologist. I love the water. I grew up in the Philippines and Guam. I love scuba diving.
I get my cooking inspiration from...my mom. She doesn't cook as much any more. But we were always cooking together and cooking different things when I was growing up, and I was the only one who wanted to cook and learn. But your mom, your home, is where you get your base. I cook for my family when I'm home. I teach them how to cook a little lighter and healthier. They're still in Corpus.
My favorite movie is...Apocalypse Now. Or Lost in Translation, depending on my mood. But there are so many. And my favorite film style is documentary. [Smith recently saw Mao's Last Dancer, La Danse and Russian Ark, all of which he said he loved.]
One thing I'd like for my kitchen is...a chocolate enrober. I already know the one I want and how much it costs. The Maya Enrober. That's the one Christopher Elbow has. The base price is $40,000, but, with extras, it goes up to $50,000. Specialized chocolate equipment is very expensive, but they are workhorses and will make thousands of pieces a day and the pieces are still considered handmade and artisan.
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