People might be surprised to learn that I actually prefer to cook something that I never have before. I get excited by the challenge and the ability to get creative. That’s a big reason why I like to travel and cook on the road—it puts me in new situations, with new people and new ingredients, and it forces me to keep learning.
So when the opportunity came up to go on an RV trip through Southern California, I immediately jumped at it. I had never fished in California before and I wanted the challenge. I started the trip in San Diego, where I went out fishing with a few local fishermen and we caught a bunch of beautiful, bright orange rockfish. They taught me about the different water temperatures and currents, and showed me the best way to fillet a rockfish straight from the boat. After San Diego, I drove up the coast to Orange County and did a lobster dive with some local divers. Together we caught spiny black lobster and sea urchin. After the dive, the divers were gracious enough to offer me some deer and duck meat from a recent hunt they had with their local hunting club. Only in California can you have lobster, sea urchin and deer all in the same day.
The trip to California really validated why I love to cook from the road. Putting myself in new situations with new people creates these incredible stories that change the conversation around the dinner table. It changes the way I approach a vegetable or a piece of meat or something that I pull out of the ocean because of the new respect I have for it. And I love getting to share that with others. Everyone has something to contribute—the fishermen who helped me catch the rockfish, the divers who helped me find the lobsters, and their friends who shared the deer and duck meat. The people I meet along the way give me the knowledge of a new ingredient, and my gift back to them is how I prepare it and turn it into a meal that we can enjoy together.