Ian Hutchings is the mastermind behind the sumptuous menu at Luc – an up-and-coming fine dining restaurant located in Corvallis, OR. His blog, “Trust me, I’m a chef”, demystifies the secrets of the modern kitchen with amusing anecdotes, culinary advice and down-home wisdom.
Ian took some time off from his busy schedule to discuss his blog and life at Luc.
Q: Why did you start your blog, “Trust me, I’m a chef”?
To raise Luc awareness, and to have a voice. Most people want to hear the chef’s thoughts, and it is a great way to inform people on your cooking philosophy. People like to eat at places that the feel comfortable, and a blog helps customers get to know me, be more comfortable, and ultimately want to eat at my establishment.
Q: What is your cooking philosophy?
I like to let the ingredients speak for them selves. I like to cook in an old-world manner, and get back to being involved in every step of the cooking process. Alongside that, I prefer to use local farms for quality and financial reasons. Buying our goods from local farms supports the economy in our own backyard, more people have money to eat in restaurants.
Q: What is your most memorable meal?
I had sushi the night I met Kristina. I lived in a duplex, and went downstairs to ask the guys if they want to get sushi and beer. Kristina was hanging out with them, and she came with. We ate a ton of delicious sushi, and I fell in love. Pretty sweet meal.
Q: What is your best dish?
Well, I’m “known” for my halibut and my scallops.
Q: Haha… ok, ok, I mean what is your favorite dish to cook?
Good, because after serving 2000 scallops and 4000 halibuts, I’m done with those guys.
My favourite thing to make is Thanksgiving dinner: turkey, stuffing, I like to make the whole traditional feast very old world, all from scratch.
I kind of live for that day.
Q: I know you studied math in college, but why did you decide to become a chef?
I have a BS in math and got most of the way through a MS in pure math. In the beginning, all I knew was school, and I was really good at it. I always worked in restaurants to pay for school. I reached a point in my life where the jobs I could do with my degree didn’t make me happy, so I was lucky I had this other set of skills. Turns out, an education is still valuable, as I can carry a conversation and such. I still get lots of questions for math help. This may sound conceited, but school was always very easy for me: math, history, english, science…I’m sure I would have reached a point where I felt very challenged, but it stopped making me happy. I kept thinking about how isolated school makes you. Check this… the farther I got in mathematics, the fewer people I had to talk about it with. I mean, most people I talk to hate math. and they hate EASY math, like trig and calculus. Try explaining to some one why you love topology, and see if they don’t look at you like you’re from another planet.
Cooking is universal, and I like talking to people. I make a lot of people happy on a daily basis, and that’s more rewarding for me than school or teaching. As a chef, you always have friends I guess.