When we learned that the title of a Chopped episode was “Oodles of Noodles”, we knew we were in for a treat. Both of us enjoy noodles, especially the hungrier half of FP (Allen). As with each episode, delicious plates were created and talented chefs displayed their talents in the kitchen. We caught up with one of the chefs, Zack Mills, Executive Chef of Wit & Wisdom in Baltimore, to learn more about him.
FP: Tell us about your experience on Chopped from opening the first basket to the end.
ZM: I found it to be a great experience and slightly surreal. Throughout the competition my goal was simply to stay focused on cooking and keeping my brain and my body on the same page.
FP: You showed great focus and determination in the kitchen for sure! Share with us a day in the life as the Executive Chef at Wit & Wisdom.
ZM: Wit & Wisdom’s kitchen is a 24 hour a day operation between the restaurant and in room dining so there’s a lot of organizational work to do. I spend the first few hours of the day planning the following week out and checking in with our team. After that I try and play with new ideas and I expedite as many services per week that I can.
FP: Next time we visit Baltimore, we’ll have to stop by! Where are some of your favorite places to eat in the area?
FP: Sounds like a delicious list of places! What are some of your guilty pleasures? We call them foodie pleasures, hence the name of our blog!
ZM: I would say Chipotle would top my list.
FP: A lot of people would agree with you! If you could get on a plane tomorrow and visit any place just for its food, where would it be?
ZM: Probably San Francisco. That’s where my restaurant group is based out of and we have 4 amazing restaurants there.
FP: If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing? What are some of your non-cooking interests and hobbies?
ZM: I spent most of my life playing and coaching lacrosse prior to cooking for a living so I’d probably be doing that. Outside of that most of my time out of the restaurant still revolves around food.
FP: What is the one item in the kitchen you can’t live without?
ZM: This is a tough question. I’ve had the same knives for 8 years now and certainly can’t live without them.
FP: Describe the first memorable dish you made.
ZM: I’m not sure I can answer that. My favorite dishes change almost weekly. If I had to pick one though, it’d like be the Maryland Blue Crab Trio that we roll out every summer here at Wit & Wisdom. It is the first dish I ever put on this menu.
FP: What is the best cooking advice you’ve received?
ZM: Always continue with the learning process. Cook with passion.
FP: Great advice. Passion is key. Thank you for your time. We wish you continued success!