My Interview with Chef Pete Barich
Chef Pete Barich comes to us from Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe in the heart of Washington, D.C .
Did you cook growing up?
I was always fooling around in the kitchen, I thought my mom was a great cook.
Before you turned pro, did you think that’s what you would be doing?
Geez, I spent six years in the USAF in intelligence as Spanish/Romanian linguist, working for a government agency on Ft. Meade, MD. Spent several years in flight in central America as well. After leaving I went to school at U of MD for marine biological science. (Jacques Cousteau wannabe). There I started cooking again, being the proverbial starving student. I worked for several talented people before going on to culinary school in Baltimore.
And if not, what did you think you would be doing?
Always wanted to be the next Tom Clancy.
What was it that got you into cooking?
Just like one of my favorite authors Harold Macgee, I found in myself a real respect for the craft and the union of science, cooking, people & food.
Where were you trained?
East coast Baltimore – DC
How difficult was your training?
How does one grade that? I’ve always been a hard headed type A. I guess I enjoyed the challenge and strenuous work conditions.
Would you do it again?
Yes, though I may have started earlier.
Best piece of advice you would give a home enthusiast?
The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask. Recipes are guides, not strict laws. Play. Enjoy the cooking, and always eat before you clean up, I think one enjoys it more, better yet, have someone else clean up.
The computer. This has by far proven to be the most useful tool I’ve ever used. Although I seem to have a fetish for good knives.
Funniest kitchen incident?
Too many to list here. I enjoy the language intricacies of working in a multi-national kitchen. “hey where is the case of cornichons I asked you to order?…oh, cornichons, you didn’t say Cornish hens?
Do you measure your ingredients or add them by sight?
With baking by measure, with cooking using general guidelines in front of others, (you have to lead by example), by myself only by site.
Favorite food to cook with?
Again too numerous to list, lately I like playing with all the exotic new food stuffs I find in the oriental & Latino markets.
Thanks for the interview – RG