Clear your schedule on Wednesday. Cancel that hot date, move your hair appointment and call out of work if you have to, because the best food party of the year is back. Dine-N-Dash kicks off on June 6 at 6 p.m. and to get you ready for a night of eating, drinking and running around like a mad man, we hit up the man of the evening himself, Chef José Andrés to talk about what he cooks at home, his go to neighborhood restaurants and more.
Think of it as your own VIP tour of Andrés’ personal kitchen. Lucky you.
(Want to kick it with the BYT team at Dine-N-Dash? Get your tickets here)
What do you always have in your fridge, no matter what?
We always will have cheese in the fridge – Spanish cheeses like Rey Silo Blanco and Rojo, Cabrales from Asturias, and some Maryland cheeses from the farmers’ market too, like the goat cheeses from FireFly Farms. There are always Spanish olives for snacking, or to put out for guests, and at least a few bottles of cold Cava. For cooking I always like to have a few different kinds of miso paste, which are amazing for adding some deep umami richness to anything. In the freezer I like to have boxes of puff pastry – Dufour is the best brand since it’s an all-butter recipe – for making easy snacks and pastries.
And because we never know who will be coming over for dinner, we keep a second refrigerator in the garage filled with the season’s best produce. It is easily accessible from my grills and that way we can be buying full crates when we go to the farmer’s market – we don’t have to worry about where to put it because we know there will be space and it will never go to waste!
Where do you grocery shop? What do you usually pick up?
I do most of my shopping at the farmers’ markets – like the one in Bethesda, or the year-round market in Dupont Circle close to where I used to live, or the Thursday afternoon FreshFarm market in Penn Quarter. I have favorite vendors at all of these markets, where we get our produce and eggs and cheese and everything else for the week. I go to get apples and other beautiful fruit from my friend Emily at Black Rock Orchards, vegetables from Garner’s Produce, eggs at Evensong Farms, and maybe a slice of pizza from Red Zebra… It is some of the best pizza in the world.
What are your go-to meals? Who cooks the most in the house?
At home we eat very simply – mostly Spanish dishes that Tichi or I make. Long-cooked stews, rice dishes, soups, things we each grew up with and like to make for our daughters. And then sometimes they come home and they are inspired to make dinner for us – one of my daughters learned a new way to cook pasta in the microwave on Youtube, so she tried it and we made cacio e pepe in the microwave!
Where do you like to eat out in your neighborhood? Where do you order food from?
When it’s the season, there’s nothing better than ordering from the Bethesda Crab House – we will get bags of freshly-steamed crabs that are swimming in Old Bay, and lay out some newspaper on our patio table, bring out the hammers and a bunch of paper towels, pour some crisp Albariño, and just start eating! Nothing is more fun than everybody standing around a pile of crabs and really getting your hands dirty.
What are some items you think everyone should have on-hand?
Eggs – they are the easiest, quickest way to dinner. I have given whole presentations about cooking eggs ten, twelve ways… I could probably do a demonstration of a hundred different ways to prepare eggs. They are so delicious and so adaptable – with potatoes, with onions, fried, soft boiled, hard boiled, like a crêpe, I could keep going and going. Then there are a few really really important spices and condiments to keep around the house at all times – miso adds umami richness to everything; sumac gives this really beautiful bright pop to salads; smoked pimentón, Spanish paprika, adds a deep, smokey richness like nothing else; fish sauce adds a complexity that no one will know where it comes from; kombu (dried seaweed) gives dishes a flavor of the sea. With just a few ingredients like these, you can be using simple ingredients to make something amazing every day!
And I can’t forget the most important thing – a never-ending supply of extra virgin olive oil… From Spain of course! I use it for everything – cooking, frying, making pancakes – I’m sure my wife wouldn’t be surprised if she came home and I was showering with it!
For a late night snack, what do you reach for?
Late at night I will snack on very simple things – I might slice off a bit of jamón from the leg on my counter, open some soft cheese, have some bread and olives … this is the perfect treat, especially when it’s washed down with a splash of Cava!
What’s your guilty pleasure?
To me, nothing is a guilty pleasure if you don’t feel guilty about it!