Nick Chipman, creator of DudeFoods.com fame recently answered some questions from yours truly. Home to recipes for foods often unorthodox, often seeming to be the work of someone unhinged (in the best of ways), and always delicious-sounding, the site is one I’ve admired at length. Accompanied by enticing photos of each of his creations, Nick’s recipes are joined on the site by pictures and reviews of countless restaurant dishes he’s sampled, giveaway contests, and even food product reviews composed in haiku form. I could go on, but reading it would delay your coming on in to see what he had to say on a variety of topics. Come read about the dude and his food.
Flavorful World: April is National Soft Pretzel Month. If pressed to create a soft pretzel that embodies DudeFoods.com’s guiding food philosophy, what would your creation be?
Nick Chipman: It’s funny that you mention pretzels because a couple of weeks ago I just made some bratwurst bites that were covered in sauerkraut and then surrounded in a soft pretzel breading — similar to Pigs in a Blanket, but I called mine Brats in a Blanket — and they were delicious. Ever since then I’ve been meaning to try a version that had bacon and cheese in the middle so I might have to give that a shot before National Soft Pretzel Month is over!
FW: DudeFoods.com has given us instant favorites like the 100% Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Oreo Cookie Glazed Bacon, and the Deep-Fried Doritos Breaded Burger. What is the most recent kitchen creation you attempted that, for better or worse, didn’t turn out the way you hoped? How did the end result differ from what you’d intended, and what, if anything, would you do differently next time around?
NC: The most recent thing I’ve attempted that just didn’t turn out at all was a cone made out of ramen noodles. I came up with the idea after seeing that burger with a ramen bun that tons of people have been making and then the ramen taco shell that a food blogger who goes by the name The Vulgar Chef made a couple of months back, but yeah, the ramen cone was a total disaster and just completely fell apart as soon as I thought I was finished with it.I’m still going to give it another try though!
FW: What is your favorite cuisine and/or food style to cook at home for yourself, and why? What is your favorite cuisine and/or food style to eat when dining out, and why?
NC: My favorite thing to cook for myself is anything I can make in my back yard on my grill. There really aren’t many things better than hanging outside, listening to music, drinking a couple of beers and grilling.
My favorite food to eat when dining out is probably sushi, just because any time I’ve tried to make my own at home it’s been a disaster.
FW: James Boswell is credited with the quote, “My definition of man is, a ‘Cooking Animal’…Man alone can dress a good dish; and every man whatever is more or less a cook, in seasoning what he himself eats.’” Do you agree or disagree, and why? Tell us what defines you as a ‘Cooking Animal.’
NC: I guess I’d agree with his statement. I mean, I’ve never worked in a restaurant – not even in fast food – and I’m coming up with some pretty creative stuff so if I can cook and make it work than I’m sure anyone can.
FW: What new recipe developments are you working on right now?
NC: Oh man, I’ve probably got about 50 or 60 ideas written down right now that I plan to try out, but I can’t just be giving them away!
FW: Of the ten most recent items under DudeFoods.com’s “Food I Paid For” section, which dish left the greatest positive impression on you, and what made it memorable? Which was the most forgettable, and what did it lack?
NC: I don’t even need to go through the last ten because my favorite is by far the most recent one I wrote about, which is a sandwich called the Prince Sandwich from a place called Ashley’s Que here in Milwaukee. In fact, it’s easily one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had in my entire life. It consists of steak, lamb, cucumber sauce, mayo, fried onions and shredded cheese, and it only took me a few days between the time I first tried it and the time I was back at Ashley’s to order another one.
FW: Tell us about a restaurant at which you have not yet eaten, but plan to in the near future. In what city is it located? What menu item(s) first attracted you to that establishment?
NC: The one place that I probably want to eat at the most is Alinea in Chicago, not only because I know the food would be amazing, but because they basically turn your entire dinner into an experience. Seriously, just head to YouTube and search for “Alinea Chicago” and watch some of the videos. It’s insane what they’re doing with food.
FW: Excluding the name of any of your pre-existing blogs, websites, or print/online personas, tell us what name you would give to your memoir about your culinary exploits?
NC: You pretty much stumped me with this one. I’ll have to give it some more thought. On the plus side, there are probably about 10,000 other people who would have a culinary memoir written about them before me so if it ever actually did happen I’m sure I’d have plenty of time to come up with a name.
FW: When you aren’t cooking and/or eating delicious foods, how do you most enjoy spending your time?
NC: Usually just hanging out with friends, going out for drinks or going on vacation (I usually head to Vegas at least twice a year).