“…Or I will cut you.”
She’d say, then burst out in laughter, not far from a cackle. It’s Chef Gaby’s way of comically relieving tension in the kitchen, yet she always says it with a, “I am oh-so serious,” twinkle in her eye. Chef Gaby’s signature expression- a bittersweet, finishing touch that she adds to just about every given instruction. Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Chef Gaby in the kitchen whenever she needed an extra hand. Her brown eyes would laser-in on what I was about to execute. Then she’d kindly say, “Make sure those shallots are thinly sliced,” muster up a solemn look, “or I will cut you!” Her menu always reflections the high standards she sets for herself and those of us working with her. A master of taste and presentation Chef Gaby never fails to deliver a culinary experience that keeps people talking long after the meal is over.
Many of you perhaps experienced Chef Gaby for the first time on the 2012 Culinary Ride. Who could forget the meal after a grueling push, hydrated on Millstream brews, pedaling back gravel roads of Johnson County. In the middle of the woods, Chef Gaby’s Clandestine Campsite, offered rest and replenishment with blankets to stretch out on, a cozy bonfire, and a banquet of delightful local affair, which included the ever-famous zucchini flourless chocolate torte.
It is with much esteem that I’ve been able, and continue, to work alongside Chef Gaby (I haven’t been cut… yet!). I interviewed Chef Gaby to catch up with Iowa City’s former Queen of Local Cuisine.
A few quick bits…
Beer, Wine or Martini?
BEER – Toppling Goliath, PseudoSue
Green Smoothie: Kale, banana, apple, lemon, parsley
Chicken or beef?
Cake or pie?
Top three ingredients?
Garlic. Smoked Paprika. Salt.
Favorite celebrity chef?
Jamie Oliver – he’s a concerned, activist bad-ass.
Everybody should eat more…
Home-cooked meals (made from scratch!) with their loved ones, at the dinner table, at least once a day.
Favorite music to listen to in the kitchen?
Luciano Pavarotti, Opera
Why are you involved in the Culinary Ride?
I believe we are all responsible for practicing sustainability and maintain a green lifestyle. Most importunely, we are responsible for spreading this knowledge to our community. The Culinary Ride utilizes two of the most important aspects of a true, sustainable lifestyle: food and transportation. I am involved because I am passionate about sharing my methods in sustainable cuisine with people.
What advice can you give people wanting to use locally sourced ingredients?
Once you’ve chosen “quality” as your ingredient, work toward building a strong relationship with your farmers. You’re in it together. Go out of your way, visit their farm. If time allows, volunteer to help during peak season.
Do you have any special projects in the works that you’re excited about?
Recently officiated as RadTour’s Chef Ambassador, I am super excited to collaborate in an all-women production putting events together, such as the Culinary Ride and Clandestine Farm Dinners, that combines a series of odd elements transforming them into rich (almost magical) experiences.