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Dec. 10, 2022

Part II Chopped Champion Caribbean Chef ED Harris


Having served in just about every role from executive chef, tournant, expediter, and saucier to consulting chef, and many in between, he draws from his collective experience to build upon his newest role as a food product developer. Now with Atlanta as his home base, Chef Ed has launched a line of products that include specialty spices, vegan recipes, breakfast foods, and cookbooks, in addition to a line of designer aprons. If he isn't crafting a new flavor fusion in the kitchen, at times he can be found behind the camera, as Ed has appeared on several food shows. He was the winner of Food Network's CHOPPED "Turbot Powered" competition and has been on "Beat Bobby Flay", "Chef Wanted" with Anne Burrell, and a few others.

Though his passion for cooking runs deep in his veins, community service is something he holds dear to his heart. He has participated in several events to help raise funds for different charities. Some of the organizations he has volunteered for include Autism Speaks, Taste of New York, and the James Beard Foundation. 

website: https://knifenspoon.com/  
https://www.instagram.com/chefedharris
Email:ed@knifenspoon.com

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Transcript

Michael Dugan:

When we actually get to film the show. It's really intense. You get there like at six in the morning. And if you last all the way to the end, you're leaving till about 11 12 o'clock at night. Oh my gosh. So it's like a whole day process just for that one hour of TV that you see what there's so many pauses and waits in between, you know, they have to reset the stage. They have to reset the cameras and all that stuff. And then the deliberation between the judges that could take an hour two hours depending on you know, the dishes that were put out. Oh, wow. Yeah. Chop was definitely an amazing experience of it was so hot in the kitchen like really over floodlights. I never even thought about that. Holy shit that's intense.

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

You totally have those in front of you and they are like really close to you. You have the oven cranking at 550 degrees. You have a pot of water boiling on each stove because there are four contestants. So there's a lot going on. And then on top of all of that something that the viewers don't see is the floor where you're running back and forth. Oh my gosh. buyerzone. There are tables. Yes. There are hubs that are covering certain wires that they don't get unplugged. So you have to run and jump over all of these things. Wow. And then to make stories even worse, and to make it more intense is that they'll they'll put like maybe two sticks of butter in the oven in the refrigerator. So whoever gets it above the first one gets the winner. So if you need butter and everyone remember

Michael Dugan:

that, I think I remember that on chopped. It's like you're put you're not angry with people but you're just in competition. So like you got to get it quick. You got to think fast. think on your feet.

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

You're frustrated. Yeah. So it was definitely intense. You know, I won, and that's all that matters.

Michael Dugan:

Wow. All right. So tell me or tell us a little bit more about that. So do you remember who you competed with?

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

I remember it was two gentlemen and a young lady and the lady. She was amazing. She had her own restaurant at the time and she was doing really well. She was out in Long Island actually. And then the two gentlemen one of them worked at a great place. And the other gentleman worked at a private club. So they were all like in their prime. Right? They were all executive chefs or owners. And I was a sous chef at the time. Buddha con. So you know, I was up there. But not quite up there yet. You know, and you were up there. My Drive, you know, we were expecting our first child, my wife and I I was like you know what home Wow, I'm gonna win for Emma, you know, Emma's her name and all. I'm winning. That's it like I'm not taking any prisoners. I'm not entertaining anything else. That was the driving force for me, you know, just being able to say that this is what I'm going to do, you know, and I'm dedicating it to my daughters. It was it was emotional, you know, but it was it was amazing. It was really intense and that whole experience my judges were Arron Sanchez, it was Scott Conant. And Geoffrey Zakarian. Three amazing guys.

Michael Dugan:

Have to tell you this so you'll get a kick out of this. I started watching it a few years ago. Right and all of them are on it. I may have even seen your show and I need to go back and find it because I'm obviously going to watch it and I think all our viewers to check it out.

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

Season4 Episode 9. Yes.

Michael Dugan:

Okay, so episode nine so check it out. Make sure to check it out. But when I was watching chops I really got into it. I was like this is so creative because it's the way I cook like I look at the fridge and I go exactly him like these that are gonna use that and even in cooking school, my understanding while maybe not cooking school when chefs become chefs, that's a competition that they throw out there to a lot of chefs is here's your basket gotta prove yourself. Right? Oh, yeah. But we took a different spin on it with my wife. So my wife doesn't really like to cook that much. Our first episode was called stay hungry and it's a really short one that tells you or explains why she hates to cook. So I do a lot of cooking when I'm not podcasting, and we got to eat and stuff but my point is that when I was watching chopped, she was fascinated by this idea. So she started playing this game with me where we would play verbal chopped, and she would go okay, you have these ingredients and and I'd whip something up in my head right and then say this is how I would cook it. This is the dish nice, but she had a spin on it. And this is what speaks to my wife's character because she's very funny. And I would say you know, you have sea urchin, you have string beans, you have jello and you have something else and she goes okay, I would throw away the sea urchin right off the bat and then cook with these ingredients. So we we sort of played this modified version of it, you know, but I just wanted to throw that in there. I was thinking about as you're saying it but But getting back to chopped What did that feel like when you won Did did you feel like you won? Or were you like Oh, I'm not sure you know getting anxious. You never seem nervous to me. I have to say it because every time I talk to you, you're always calm and cool and very mellow. So,

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

I mean, shout was you know, my stomach was definitely knots. I'll tell you that. Like I didn't even I maybe took one bite that whole day. Okay, you know because I just couldn't eat like my stomach was in kno . The last round it was the young lady and myself. We did we actually did identical dishes, but just with different things like so they gave us English muffins, frozen cranberry Brie cheese, and rutabaga. You know, and we both did French toasts. You know, she did a relish with the rutabaga and so that I and then I made a cranberry sauce and so that she it was neck and neck like her French toast was better than mine The chef said because it was a little bit more crispy on the outside. I liked my soft but you know teachers, right? But then what I think really took me to the winning level was the fact that when I saw I took the breeches and I made whipped cream with it. And what I did was, thank God for me bouncing around in different restaurants that I got to understand cheese a little bit more. Right, especially working at Boudicca because we have different types of cheese plates, so I scooped out the creamy inside of the breeches and left the rind and left the outside part and I didn't use it. So that allowed me to stabilize my whipped cream and give it this really nice taste but still really creamy and smooth. But with the young lady she used the rind as well. So hoarse cheese sauce was kind of grainy and they mentioned that don't pardon little Okay, wow. Yes, my cranberry sauce I I love cooking with spices. So I added a bunch of cinnamon I added started nice, I added some what else did I add? All Spice I think to a Can I really just made the cranberry sauce really deep in terms of the levels of flavor and that just kind of seeing and the judges really appreciated that so I think they even called my sauce multi-dimensional or something so oh my eyes. Yeah, it was pretty fun. But until you know they call this back out. I was like man, this could go either way because, you know I was thinking that her dish just look better because when they tasted her rutabaga it definitely tasted better than mine. You know rutabagas so stringent right but like I mean I that was it. I did bourbon I reduced it I added brown sugar cinnamon to it but it's still you know to the judges was not good enough. You know, something like that. Oh my gosh, thank God the whipped cream and the cranberry sauce was excellent. So that was how that went down.

Michael Dugan:

That's awesome. One thing I don't know if we touched on this, but I want to make sure we do Yes. How much time did you have to prepare that dish?

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

Oh, so the time that you see on TV is the actual time he gets so the first appetizer around is actually 20 minutes like not a second word not a second less. And then for entree and dessert is 30 minutes. So you have to think on your feet quickly like otherwise you will go down so that was one of the other reasons why I think I did so well in shop was because of all the experiences that I acquired over the years of bouncing between different restaurants adapting exactly, you know, and just a wide knowledge of ingredients. You know, because think about it if you weren't in just one restaurant for 20 years, 10 years, whatever it is, you're only seeing a specific certain amount of ingredients and style of food. So you're not going to be able to go against someone that has worked in an Asian restaurant and Italian restaurant or French restaurant like there's no way. Yes, you might be great. But in terms of technique, and cuisine, you're limited to that one place that you work being able to acquire knowledge from different places, different cuisines, different nationalities, you know just different types and styles of food as a chef, I think it's a must unless you want to just be a master at one particular cuisine then I you know, then you stay one place. You know what I mean? Or one style of food anyway,

Michael Dugan:

I think being well rounded and aware is is probably the best approach for soft but that's that's personally how I think so how I feel and what what I learned because I did bounce around too and the experiences were were amazing. You know what happened after chop two? Did Food Network reach back out? Or what what happens after something like that.

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

So once you do chop or any other show for Food Network, you're in their database, so you'll get emails of different shows that they're doing. And you can always just simply send in an email or reply to it and say, hey, you know, I would like to do this and they'll reach back out to you and if things work and they're aligned, then you can get on the show. So after chub fast forward, like I'm out in New York, and we're in Atlanta, Georgia now and you know, I got an email about beat Bobby Flay.

Michael Dugan:

Oh my gosh, yeah, so they contacted me. So I flew back to New York to do that. And that was crazy. You can do shows if you want or not. It's totally up to you, sir. And then of course, you won the Iron Chef international competition. Yes. And that was in Canada, right? Yes, it was. What was that? Like?

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

That was fun. You though it was crazy. I went up against someone from Mexico. So I'm Chef International. You were going up against countries right. So I was representing St. Lucia. And I went up against the French part of Canada and then I went up against Mexico. I can't remember the other country. You know, two people went against each other and then I want to get someone else. I won that first round and then I went up against the person from Canada, French, the French part of Canada, and that was intensive was two days, two and a half days. Oh my gosh, the challenge was spicy. So we had to do dishes that incorporate chilies. It was just really intense. It was fun. Like I love being challenged. I would do it again if I could. It was a learning experience. Nevertheless, it was really intense. You know, those last those three days of doing Iron Chef, it just allowed me to see what I could do because we had like a really crazy situation and one of my guys because you could bring one person with you to help like, you know, your sous chef, you know, I had to make a decision right there and then am I gonna go solo? Are my gonna, you know, work with my chef at the time and actually finish the competition mentally. I was ready to do it by myself. This whole competition just showed me regardless of what happens you know, when you're dedicated and your mindset is there, you can accomplish anything we want. Wow. Right. It was definitely a landslide. We dominated the other competitors. Within doing that. It was just something that I was just really passionate about. I'm always trying to be positive in terms of what I do and how I think but things happen. You know, during the course of the day or your life, he can throw you off right but you can let it throw you off. And stay there. You have to kind of just get back on the horse and you know, just keep going right? And it's

Michael Dugan:

Funny, as an outsider looking in. I've done a lot of research about your career and lots of amazing things that you've done and I really feel like part of the reason you won is because this is in your roots this is in your family. This comes all the way back to when you were a young kid. Yes. In St. Lucia and all over the Caribbean. I mean, it's so obvious to me as as I take part in your journey that that's where it really comes from. And that's really special.

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

I think so you know, and I thank you for saying that. You know, I never got to meet my grandmother on my mother's side at all. And I feel like she works through me because she was definitely an artisan like she made our own wines. She made her own breads. You know, she was just really amazing when it came to, you know, cooking and just creating things that people can consume, you know, people can eat and I feel that I get a lot of my talent from her. So you know, like you said, it's definitely deep oriented. And if I breathe food, like I mean it doesn't matter what it is like I will see ingredients like I was just saying because I'm about to do this dish on this life. And when I traveled to India, we had this amazing salad at one of the hotels we were staying and immediately I was like I need to redo the salad when I get home. I do that. Yeah, I just remembered what I have and chefs we do this right that I pride myself on recreating things or just coming up with dishes that I really zing with. Right You know, things that speak to me I just love it. I breathe food and I feel like that's what just makes me who I am. I speak food. You

Michael Dugan:

I do know that's that's why I've been following you. It's addictive and our listeners you've got to follow us if they're going to talk about that part of it, how to reach out to him and everything because he's got some incredible ideas about how to keep you connected as we move along. I want to take it one step back because I know that you left Buddhacon for a reason and you left New York for yes. And can you share that with us?

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

Yes, most definitely. All things come to an end at some point in time my last year at Buddha con i was like Okay, so what am I going to do with myself? You know, with my life we had one child already things were getting kind of crazy. I had started a business with my wife a hair business Oh, it was taking off kind of opened up my eyes to just working for myself and I was like huh I've been kind of consulting for off and on and I was like I would really like to just consult and not be in the kitchen day to day because birthdays were happening and almost miss birthdays or after request time off. And you know that kind of bothers me because like I'm I'm all about you know hanging out with my family and just being there for my kids birthdays and things like that and just just doing that being a dad, you know, being the best that I can be. So with our business taking off me being able to consult when I want to just creating that schedule for myself. I kind of got spoiled leaving BookCon was so bittersweet like I mean they were tears I believe it from a lot of people you know, including myself, you know because like we were a family you know we became a family and still are to this day. I loved working there with every being every part of my body because I learned so much and it was such a great place for me to just evolve and become the chef that I am today. You know I can never say anything bad about Buddha con he was just all such a great experience. So I really truly appreciate being there. We decided that with the way things were going with school and how expensive it was with school in New York In New York, oh yeah. And just living in in general. You know, we're like, I don't really want to spend all my money trying to live. Jane was actually she grew up in Atlanta and James my wife, so we visited Atlanta a few times and every time I came here I was just like, Oh, my God, this place is amazing. Like why am I not living here? Like I love it.

Michael Dugan:

I love it. Okay, what do you love about Atlanta? Let's get into it really quick.

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

I love the seasons like you get actual spring summer winter and fall like you get all four seasons you know in New York is like summer and winter like that's it like you get like a week of spring or fall. You know what I mean? Yes, I do being from the Caribbean. Like I love the warm weather. So being able to have fall spring and summer is awesome for me. So, you know those were one of the deciding factors and I just looked at her one day and as i Hey, let's move to Atlanta like I just love when I'm there how I feel I just love being beat outside. He's just like a different vibe. And don't get me wrong like I am a New Yorker to the core like I love going to New York. I love eating in the restaurants in New York like the vibe there. You can replace it.

Michael Dugan:

I think touring New York through your eyes would be absolutely amazing.

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

Thank you Thank you. I mean, like I've eaten and work at some amazing places. Yeah, that was just part of my experience with New York that I can never forget. So we decided we were going to move to Atlanta because it's just cheaper cost of living. It's just beneficial, you know, in so many different ways and two of Jesus's were already here. So it just kind of made sense. That's why we moved to Atlanta. And you know, we haven't looked back since it's been an amazing journey.

Michael Dugan:

That's really amazing. So it's really family that you made that decision when you moved to Atlanta. I know that you had the hair business but also you became a consultant, right? Yes. What do you do? What do you consult on and and tell us a little bit about that?

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

Most definitely. So consulting for me, varies depending on the client, right? I worked on a few different projects where I'll create menus for people or I'll help them retrain the staff. I came here and I worked with Ford fry, which is amazing restaurants are in Atlanta, and I helped him revamp training for one of his restaurants King and Duke in Buckhead there for about six months. So consulting for me can go anywhere from a week to a month to six months depending on the client and depending on the needs write. I've also consulted with new restaurant concepts. So it really just depends on what the client is looking for. But consulting for me is just fun because it's the best of the restaurant world. You know, you get to create your schedule. You get to go and you get to create food and you get to leave. You know, you're not there with on time during all the grueling hours. Exactly. Yes, you got to leave early. So it was always fun for me to consult and I will do it until I can't do it anymore because I love being able to pop into a restaurant. You get a bird's eye view when you're not in there everyday. Doing the day to day you get to see things differently. That's a bonus. So being able to consult, you're able to just kind of extract things and see what's not working and really hone in and make them work even better. That you dialed in figured out how to navigate the restaurant business without having to work holidays and weekends. Yes. You could just consult on that alone. Exactly. There's so many people right. Oh my gosh, that is just truly amazing because that's how I burned out. I literally was like Valentine's day working New Year's Eve Christmas working and they're celebrating and I'm in the kitchen. Been there been there. So if you're a chef and you're listening, you know you really want to reach out to Chef Ed because he's got amazing strategies and I would hire him in a heartbeat if I was wanting to move into consulting.

Michael Dugan:

Thank you sir doing some more research and I love this Veganish concept. I mean, how did your veganism cookbook evolve?

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

Wow, when we decided that we were going to go vegan. I was like how do I approach this where I can do with my family and anyone that's watching or want to do this journey as well? How can they approach it and do it in a way that they can still be successful? So I ran into a few speed bumps you know of people saying oh, well you're not really vegan or you know, we can do this with you because you know, you're still doing certain things and I'm like, Yeah, you know, it's a new journey for me. So I was like, I am not eating any meat. I'm not eating any seafood have I eaten any dairy or anything like that? If I'm doing dairy it's right you know, once in a while here and there so I wasn't completely vegan. You know, I was vegan ish, right? Because there was no meat involved at all. Like we stopped cooking me we stopped eating it when we went out there was no dairy. I'm not dairy there was no poultry, or any kind of seafood involved. So it was just literally at this point, milk and cheese that we were consuming. Okay. And this was like when we went out we weren't even cooking it at home or using it at home. So I was like how do I do this and be honest with myself and be honest with the people that are following me because they want to be a part of this journey too. So it's like, I'm gonna go vegan ish until I can honestly say that I'm completely vegan. So that took couple years because to go cold turkey and go vegan cold turkey. I don't know if it's going to be something that you can do successfully for long term because your body goes into shock. You know, because you're so used to consuming these things that have all these additives that you get addicted to Yes, weaning yourself off of it slowly, to me is the best route so that's what vegan ish came about. And you know, it's like you know, I'm gonna write a cookbook, right to cookbooks, you know, and just create this whole movement about being vegan ish, because this way I know people can approach it and be okay and know that it's a safe space, right, because I remember going on clubhouse when a club was first started, and I went into a few different vegan rooms, and they asked me so are you vegan? And I'm like, Well, I can't really say that vegan, you know, but oh, yeah, I'm in the cusp of being there. And, you know, they made me feel so bad now, you know, I was like, wow, you know, it was tough. And I was like, you know, you can't really do that to people because they're you know, these are people that are trying and it's new to them

Michael Dugan:

chef even me man, I am so inspired by this concept because I'm like, How do I switch? How do I start exactly move in that direction? Because, like you okay, I went to cooking school and cooked European food and it was cream sauces, and I had to wean myself away from that was so difficult, but I've done it yet and I'm slowly making more strides. And when I look at your recipes and I listen to you describe the foods that you cook, it just it lights me up and your spices. We're going to talk about those we're getting to those soon. To me, that is a great concept.

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

Thank you. I really appreciate it because, you know, it came from my heart like how do I approach veganism in a way that I'm true to myself and being honest with the people around me knocking out meat, you know, knocking out dairy one day at a time when we were comfortable with eating breakfast, lunch and dinner, no meat, no dairy, then it became two days but it was a process because we took this route. We were successful at it like we didn't ever go back kept going forward. You know, it would take five steps forward and maybe one step back never to the point where we were like, oh man we messed up like no, it was always about giving yourself Grace until you were comfortable enough to be able to say Oh, well I'm not going to order that. Do you have any dairy this Can I get it without cheese and that was what vegan is how it started and then you know today we can completely say that we are you know 100% vegan and that's just because of the route that we took that's

Michael Dugan:

Incredible Veganish cookbook. Now I also want to get to this because we're gonna wrap up soon but I really want to know the backstory behind your spice line and especially phase flavor enhancers.

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

Yes, Fay is my Mom...Ah, love it. Yeah, she's my mom. And you know, my mom is my rock man. She She has supported me you know from day one never doubted me. You know, she's like, this is what you want to do you want to go to culinary school. Okay, no problem. You know, she always had my back. You know, from day one. I love her. Or like, I love food. I always cooked with spices. And I was like, hey, you know, so my wife goes, you know, it'd be nice if we did some spices and you know, kind of maybe put your mom's name on it or something. And that's a great idea. I'm here because of her. So we our first line of spices that we created was called phase flavor enhancers. And you know, the label is actually her favorite flower to put surely flowers so I created the label prizes her I had the whole line created and I had them in my home. Oh, and we invited her over and then I started recording and actually had a video of it that I posted. Oh my God, that's awesome. Yeah. And I was like, Hey mom, check out these spices and she's reading and she's like, phase flavor enhancers was the oh my god, Mom, we made this because of you and she's like what you know, and she was just totally shocked and in awe. It was amazing, you know, and that led to the evolution of the next set of spices you know because I was like, right, you know, everyone can buy garlic powder, onion powder, like there's no need for them to come on buy from me. So it's like how do we up the ante so I decided to really play around with the spice mixes that I create at home that I use when I cook and that's like my curry mixes or my you know, Middle Eastern mixes my Mexican mixes. I did that. And we created this whole line of tacos in there on the Mexican Yeah, exactly. Taco Tuesday, you know, yeah, I love that. Yeah, thank you. So we created that line of spices and that has been selling like crazy. And the reviews are just phenomenal. So that's kind of how the whole spice line came about.

Michael Dugan:

Wow. You know, the names that you come up with. To me, it's all about in the Yes. Voice for chefs. I struggled for a month to come up with voice for chefs.

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

I love that name.

Michael Dugan:

Thank you, man because it's really what the podcast is about. It's giving chefs a voice at a space that well I feel mutual, very, very mutual for with you because what you don't know is when I created this podcast, I literally had this vision of connecting to chefs that had not just celebrity chefs, but just that had compelling stories. And you have such a compelling story and, and you are truly a voice for chefs because chefs that are going to listen to this. They're working so hard and they may hear your story and just feel really inspired. That's the whole purpose behind this podcast. There's no other reason they I work a regular job I do this part time I owe my wife so much because I'm always working on this, but it's where real passion comes from. And I've been so fortunate to have guests on that have compelling stories and really give back and you are definitely one of those people and I'm so honored to have you on the show.

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

Well, thank you. Thank you. Thank you and say thank you to your wife for me as well.

Michael Dugan:

I will Yeah. And I'm definitely going to get her some spices but she doesn't know it yet. So we'll we'll do that in secret. So we talked about your spices. We've talked about your cookbooks. Talked a little bit about your consulting and I want to know, I read somewhere that you've traveled around the world to really get inspired. Yes. Where have you traveled to where would you go back to other than the Caribbean? I

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

love that question.

Michael Dugan:

And what restaurant would you go to food? Alright, it's a loaded question. I know it is a loaded question. You know, I told you we're gonna have fun and let's do it. Let's do it. You're staying up late, man. I'm honored. So you know,

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

definitely, definitely. I've been to India. I've been to Thailand. Wow. I've been to London. I've been to Africa. I've been to China, Japan, Korea. I've been to Guyana. I've been to Amsterdam. I've been to who? Whereas I've I've been all over Yeah, pretty much all over almost every continent except for Australia. Oh my gosh, you know, in terms of food. Man, Thailand is Thailand and India. I have to say, uh, you know, honestly, I can't I mean, Japan, the noodles and the soba noodles were epic. Right. And then Thailand, the Thai curries was just phenomenal. Like I have never tasted Thai curry. Like the Thai curry I've had in India. I mean, not in India in Thailand anywhere. So definitely Thai curry in Thailand is a must. India of course for curry because it's in the you know, and that's the place that you go to have the best curry favorite. I can't really say my absolute favorite place you know there are just so many right always

Michael Dugan:

Asked me your favorite episode, but honestly, it's it's so hard because everyone has a different voice. Everyone has a different story to share, but the food and the travel. It's like how do you have a favorite place? Exactly. I've traveled around. I always told people that I had to hang on when they married my wife because she loved to travel. So it's like we got married. I hung on We Got Married in southern Italy. Five hours by bus also to corvina employer First Americans ever to be married. Wow. And the whole town wanted to be in the wedding man. No way. It is it is so special. And this she created this vision that's also why I'm married or mean she's such a creative, amazing designer and these are researchers. Brilliant, but she doesn't cook. trade off right, but I cook and we go out to eat. But anyway, thanks. Thanks for sharing that. Yeah, because I just love it when you just I could just hear in your voice that you were lit up. Exactly, you know and I can just feel it. As we wrap up. Is there any dish that made you that like really made you that said, this is my signature? Is there any dish that you create that people should know about? Wow, was that tough one

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

that is a tough one. That's a tough one of who I don't even know where to start with that one. Jeez, yeah. Okay.

Michael Dugan:

Well, it wasn't. It wasn't the dish on

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

definitely wasn't visually sharp. But you know what, I'll say this. When I met my wife, girlfriend at the time, I made her delicious sandwich it was toasted English muffins, right cheese, avocados, tomatoes, sauteed onions and peppers. And back then we were eating meat. So there was an egg involved and turkey bacon. Now that we're vegan, I totally had to redo that. Sandwich because I love making that sandwich. So we leave out the bacon, we leave out the egg and it's just mushrooms instead. You know, anytime I make it, the kids go crazy. Everyone goes crazy. Like I've done it at different pop up events that I've done. And it's always the same reaction. So it's one of those things where I feel like this particular sandwich was like because it was mind blowing to my wife at the time she had heard that she was like, what, what is this? That's kind of where I would say my one of my signature dishes are besides like my dumplings. I do really amazing mushroom dumplings. I've had people telling me I don't eat mushrooms but your potstickers I will order them every day. So between the sandwich and the dumplings, that would be where I would say my my signature dish would be definitely

Michael Dugan:

what's in the dumplings. So you got mushrooms what kind of mushrooms wild talkies?

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

I do a mix. Yes, I do a mixture of mushrooms so you get different textures when you're biting into it. So I do shoot turkeys. I do lion's mane and I do oyster mushroom. Yes, definitely it plays on the texture component. And then of course the umami is there. You know I had ginger scallion soya you know garlic, onions you know are carmelize these I mix it in really nicely some sesame oil in there. What I like to do my dump is I like to boil them and then sear them so you get two textures as well. On the outside right you get the wet part because you're searing part of it and then you're boiling it so it's just a really nice play on flavor and texture, a nice chili sauce, you know some sesame oils and soy sauce, some sample fresh scallions in there, a little bit of sesame seeds and you know you just go ham.

Michael Dugan:

Wow, you've been a chef for a long time. How long would you

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

say I started cooking professionally at 20 I am 42 So 22 years professionally? Yeah. Okay.

Michael Dugan:

You must have had a kitchen disaster in your life. Is there one kitchen disaster that you can share with all of us

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

Oh yeah, easily. So when I was consulting here in Atlanta, I was doing a soup I was showing the guys how to do this soup for the lunch menu. You know with Vitamix is right when you put the lid on if you don't put it on properly and the liquid is hot. What happens the air when you turn on the blender it immediately pops the lid. Yeah, I totally forgot because I'm like trying to explain to the light cooks as I'm talking to him and I didn't think and I turned it on and of course the blender shoots the lid off the top of the sauce that hits the ceiling splashes down all over the blender and the content of like, Oh guys, this is what you do not do on your first week of working at a restaurant. That was a disaster for sure.

Michael Dugan:

Oh my god. Wow. As you're giving them advice. Do you have any advice that you can offer to our listeners about becoming a chef and I'll tell you why I asked this question because I interviewed somebody who's a friend of mine. His daughter was turning 16 Or was 16 at the time. Her name is Olivia. And Olivia loves to cook she cook with Disney and you know started out really, really young. And then she got into lots of cooking and she got fascinated by helping people with around food deserts and she was studying and she wants to get involved in that as a volunteer through her school and just all these amazing things around food right? So for Olivia at 16 I released her episode we interviewed and I really strapped pisode at 17 when she turned 70 Why advice would you give her about becoming a chef?

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

I love that question. So to Olivia and to anyone listening definitely being humble is key and being patient right being able to take a step back and listen, you know and learn and be a sponge, you know, be a sponge every single day 24/7 That will allow you to really learn the right way you know, be open as a young chef, you definitely want to acquire skill and the only way you can do that is by doing the things that nobody wants to do throwing up early, leaving late Yes, you know, don't don't call out don't ask to leave early, you know unless it's an emergency and things like that. But you have to show that you're dedicated and the way to show that you're dedicated is by showing up like for me for instance, I was always at work the latest half an hour early. I would get to work between 30 minutes to an hour early every single day, no matter what. And I was always one of the last people to leave. You know that was that's definitely one thing I would say because that shows integrity and that shows the chef that you're actually in it, you know, for the long haul, right? Not being too cocky. You know, I'll give a quick story when I was much younger and I was working in New York City. One of the restaurants I worked in Michaels. I was like fresh out of culinary school, you know, and I was like I was really rocking that I was doing my thing. At that point in time. The chef they had let go of one of the sous chefs me being able to work all of the stations I kind of stepped into that role but without the official title right because of that, you know, I felt this bravado and I was like, Well, I'm untouchable. You can do whatever that was the wrong way to think but you know, it was a learning experience for me because that job showed me that regardless of how good you are, how great you are, you are expendable, right. So long story short, I got fired because I was getting heads with the chef. And it wasn't that I was being disrespectful. It was more of me just being too cocky. Right and just too young. Yeah, I was too young. I knew I didn't know the how to do things the right way. Right and how to express myself in a way that didn't come off disrespectfully Long story short, I say this to say I was so good at that job that even though I got fired, they called me back to work a year later because they needed a sous chef. Okay, so I say this to say, you know, be humble and just absorb as much as you can and get that information and even when you think you're really good still be humble because there is always gonna be somebody that's better than you like that's just life. That is absolutely excellent advice. I am going to share that with Olivia. The last thing I want to ask you about and I see this question and it makes me think I know not only being a chef, being a celebrity chef, being a consultant, and being a real advocate for vegan ish cooking, you also give back to the community. Can you just give us a real quick about some of the things you've been involved with in community work. I also know that you worked with the James Beard Foundation which is one of my organizations I absolutely believe and love. Yeah, so thank you for saying that all about donating and volunteering because I feel as any person anywhere in the world who no matter who you are, like you know everyone has a gift and when you can hone in on that and use it to help someone else you should definitely take that opportunity. So I did Autism Speaks in New York several times, you know James Beard a few times as well. Oh

Michael Dugan:

my gosh,

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

I did a bunch of different charities. I even volunteered my time at a public school in New York where we were there for about six months. And once a week, we would just teach the kids how to cook healthy and how just to do things at home. Oh

Michael Dugan:

my gosh, that's amazing.

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

Yeah, thank you. And you know, those were just some of the things I did even here in Atlanta. We would donate and I would just volunteer my time and just show the people that cook for the women that are in shelters just how to make food at home with using the bare basics, you know minimum that you can just still create delicious food, you know, no matter what you're using as long as you're cooking at home, so I love to give back when I can and do it different ways and I'm always open to just doing different things where I can offer my knowledge and my skill to help someone else. So thank you for asking that.

Michael Dugan:

You're welcome and thank you for contributing and really volunteering and giving back to the community. It's it's so important, I think so the work that you're doing is amazing. Thank you. So the very last question I have for you is now it's it's interesting because I think as our listeners have been following along, they're probably googling you immediately. How do I get ahold of them? How do I connect with them? How do we connect with you? What's what's the best way?

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

All right, so all social media is at chef Ed Harris. So very easy. It's easy to find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. LinkedIn is all chef Ed Harris and you know my website if you want to check out that it's knife and spoon it's knife with the letter N and then spoon so I didn't want it to make that you know, sort of different, right? But um, yeah, that's the best way to find me.

Michael Dugan:

And we'll also put all that information in the show notes. Cool. You didn't mention this. So I am going to and I believe this is still out there. They can text you. Yes, a number, your number and you will share recipes with them. And not only that audio coaching. Yes, I think it's just phenomenal. Can you tell us a little bit?

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

Yes. Thank you so much. So I do a podcast where I literally just share tips and tricks that I've acquired over the years and just delicious vegan recipes. And I also have a tech community where I you can text hashtag eat more veggies 24043834405 And you get locked into my community. And with that I just share awesome tips. I share ideas when we're launching new products, you get firsthand experience or you get access to it. You know, sometimes we do giveaways. So just really building a community where people can get help, especially if you're trying to be more vegan than this is definitely a community to be a part of. So thank you for bringing that up.

Michael Dugan:

Absolutely. And in chef ed i have been so excited about this interview ever since the day I met you and I can't say enough. Thank you for sharing your journey with us on voice for chefs.

Celebrity Chef Ed Harris:

Thank you so much for allowing me to share my journey. I really truly appreciate it. And what you're doing here is just amazing. The fact that you're allowing chefs to just share their journeys and their life of their experiences. It's definitely needed because a lot of chefs don't have a platform to just share. We're always in the back. Unless you're the owner, you know, and you're the chef, right, right. But a lot of times people don't know who the chefs are and, you know, that's different nowadays, depending on the restaurant you're in, but for the most part, you don't know and you know I just thank you for doing this. It's definitely needed.

Chef Maria Campbell:

I'm Maria Campbell, Chef by trade and founder of cooks who care a community advocate to cover mental health costs for food and beverage workers. We've launched our first Community cookbook project to include 28 Philadelphia, New Jersey, Delaware County, and they include chefs, mixologist and wellness experts who contributed recipes to inspire home entertaining ideas. You can get to know the people behind the recipes as you watch videos as they share how to steps as well as get great ideas. For gathering people in your home or places you love. You can donate to the fund to help us kickstart this project is our initial in the 2022 year and it'll be ready to help serve others who are serving you. Thanks so much.

Michael Dugan:

Take care. Thanks for joining us today. Follow us on Facebook find our website in the show notes, subscribe on Spotify, iHeart Radio or wherever you listen. Leave a comment with five stars and stay tuned for the next episode. of voice for chefs.