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Blunt Inquiry asks... Chef Lora Kirk

KIRKWhat is your idea of a perfect restaurant?
One that opens on my days off (which are Sundays and Mondays) and opens late when I’m ready to eat because I don’t want to get up early or make plans. It has to have a combination of classics and comfort food, as well as interesting new dishes for to me to try. That’s doable right?

What is your greatest fear at work?
My walk-in fridge goes down when I’m not there and we lose all the great product grown by our farmers. All that wasted time and food, I’d feel horrible.

Which working Chef do you most admire?
My Ruby WatchCo kitchen team because we change our menu every day. There’s no comfort zone. We use local growers and there is always a curve ball in our day. It could be a lot easier, but that wouldn’t be as fun.

What part of work ‘you’ do you most deplore in yourself?
My mentality of doing it all myself; taking on more than I should instead of relying on others. I want everything to be done right.

What would instantly make you fire someone?
A lack of respect for the product in the kitchen, our environment and disrespecting others.

What was your most extravagant purchase for your restaurant?
My beehives. They didn’t cost me a fortune but they do cost me time. Instead of purchasing honey, I add more stress and worry to bring in my own honey – but it’s worth it.

What is your favourite food journey?
The Istanbul spice market. I spent two days wondering around it eating, exploring, photographing and still didn’t see everything.

What words or phrases do you most overuse at work?
I call everybody Kemosabe when I’m really busy and have to get their attention.

What do you regret most after all your years in the business?
I don’t have time to look back. I try to stay positive and move forward.

What do you love most in about this industry?
The ability to travel and discover new people, cultures, ingredients and be able to work anywhere. It’s so much easier for cooks to work anywhere. I also love the friendships you build.

What is your current state of mind?
I’m happy. I’m really happy.

If you could change anything about the restaurant industry where you are, what would it be?
Longer days and more holidays!

What do you consider your most essential ingredient?
Lemon.

The work/life balance struggle is real.  How good of a juggler are you?  Tips?
I’m not so great but my family, friends and my two furry kids encourage me to be a better juggler. My tip would be to make a plan and stick with it, work 10 hours, no excuses to go longer. Live in the now and make time for yourself and your family.

What is your most treasured kitchen tool?
My spoon. I was taught to cook with a spoon, taste with a spoon and serve with a spoon. I collect spoons. The spoon is like finding the perfect knife to others. It is an extension of arm when cooking.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Out of Bourbon on my day off.

When you finally retire, where will you live?
In my house. I hear it’s great.

What is your most marked characteristic?
Intense.

What is the quality you most like in a chef?
Attention to detail.

What is your greatest inspiration/motivation?
I’m inspired by to love of creating the perfect dish and I’m motivated by my pride and passion for the craft.

Superman or Spiderman?
Superwoman

What is the first thing you remember cooking?
Five years old, an apple pie for my Dad.

Beck or Clapton?
Nina Simone

You have to cook Escoffier’s death row meal.  Menu?
I’d throw him a pizza party with all the trimmings and a keg of a beer.

Favourite kitchen word or phrase?
“Home Stretch.”

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