Crazy Foodie Stunts is a food blog that appeals as much to the eye as to the stomach. Created and operated by DB, it expresses an obvious love for food and cooking that cannot be taught, and places significant emphasis on techniques that many people cooking day-to-day in their own kitchens would consider unusual. These two things are what drew me there initially, but after DB recently took the time out of his busy schedule (a schedule that included working as a Brand Ambassador in the 2014 Food and Wine Conference) to answer nine queries from yours truly, I found much more to appreciate about what he’s doing right now at Crazy Foodie Stunts. Check out his interview after the jump, and I’m betting you will too.
Flavorful World: On your site, you talk about how Crazy Foodie Stunts evolved from earlier food blogging projects. Tell us the most significant thing you learned from this progression, and how you applied that lesson to creating and maintaining Crazy Foodie Stunts.
DB: Probably the most important thing I learned over the course of the last four years of maintaining a food website has been finding my style of food. In fact, it’s still an ongoing process. I started out in my first website with no clear direction and cooking dishes that just sounded good to me. My second website was supposed to be a collaboration between myself and my wife. I was to prepare entrée dishes while she prepared desserts, however my wife found that a full-time job left little time to prepare food worthy of presentation on a website.
Over the course of those two sites, I found myself gravitating to dishes that are uncommon for the home cook to prepare due to the length of time or complexity to prepare, making food that’s often taken for granted from scratch, or unusual cooking methods. I founded Crazy Foodie Stunts on this premise, which is reflected in the earlier dishes on the site. For example, I made ricotta from scratch which I then used to make a gnocchi dish, boiled spaghetti in red wine to create a dramatic presentation and attempted a gelato without an ice cream maker.
If you examine more recent dishes, it’s more about interesting flavor profiles and execution of a dish properly. Earlier this year, I prepared a scallop dish with pancetta, apples and fennel. The Flavor Bible noted its flavor affinity and I wanted to test it to see for myself.
FW: What has been the most daunting dish you’ve prepared for the site thus far, and how did you overcome its challenges?
DB: Coming into 2013, I prepared a ravioli dish where I encountered problems with my pasta dough. The pressure was on because I was preparing it to serve to some friends of mine for lunch the next day. I endured through the process and was able to feed my guests. Later, I repeated the process and was able to eventually fix the issues I was having with the dough. The problem? The dough kept tearing when I ran it through my ravioli press. I eventually fixed it by adding a larger quantity of wet ingredients to the dough.
FW: You were selected to be a Brand Ambassador for the 2014 Food and Wine Conference that happened July18th-20th in Orlando, Florida. What conference events/activities are you most looking forward to, and why?
DB: I started a food blog because I love to prepare foods at home but when I did so, I quickly realized my deficiencies: photography, how to utilize social media for greater exposure, and how to generate revenue from the blog. I’ve gotten better with more experience with some, but there’s always more to learn.
FW: You include a To-Do List on your blog. Tell us what item from that list you will most likely attempt next. Tell us about a dish that you want to attempt that hasn’t yet been added to your list.
DB: The dish I will most likely attempt next is pizza. On the surface it seems rather pedestrian but I found one that is quite unusual. The timing needs to be right which I will explain further when it is published.
It’s not a dish, but a style of cooking I want to attempt that I haven’t placed on that list is Southern style barbecue. I haven’t put it there yet because I don’t have the proper equipment (i.e. smoker) yet.
FW: What has been the craziest foodie stunt you’ve successfully accomplished since you began blogging about food and cooking?
DB: I would have to say that it was the watermelon gazpacho I prepared for Chef Fabio Viviani last year. It was featured in his online magazine and on his blog.
Many of the dishes I publish on my blog are last-minute decisions, adapting the dish from other sources. This one was different because I had to develop the recipe from scratch and, knowing my limitations, called in a favor from a professional photographer friend which required weeks of planning.
FW: What is your favorite summertime small plate food served cold, and what is your favorite beverage (excluding water) to pair it with? What is your favorite summertime small plate food served hot, and what is your favorite beverage (excluding water) to pair it with?
DB: For a cold dish on a hot summer day, I really like a good ceviche. It’s easy to prepare and it doesn’t require a heat source. Probably my favorite hot dish is the garlic fries that are served at AT&T Park which is a popular dish served at Giants games. In both cases, I’m pretty easily satisfied eating each with a cold soft drink.
FW: Which of your recipes has proven to be most popular with your family and friends, and to what do you attribute the dish’s popularity?
DB: I get the most inquiries about the pork rib dish that won a rib competition two years ago. I believe it’s popular because the barbecue sauce is very well-balanced, hitting sweet, sour and salty notes.
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?
DB: “I’m Not a Professional Chef But I Only Play One on the Internet.”
FW: When you aren’t cooking and/or eating delicious foods, how do you most enjoy spending your time?
DB: Away from the kitchen, my favorite way to spend time is doing fun things with my wife and daughter.
*Note to Readers: Want to stay up on the crazy, and be the first to know about DB’s latest foodie stunts? Of course you do. Who wouldn’t? Especially when doing so is as easy as following him on Twitter, Pinterest, and/or heading over to his Facebook page to “Like” him; to really, really like him. Away, then. Off you go.