Kitchen Careers is a regular feature that goes behind-the-scenes with chefs, bloggers, critics and others in the food industry to get the inside scoop on what its like to cook, or eat, for a living.
How many people follow through on their New Year’s resolutions? Clay Dunn and Zach Patton did when the decided to make good use of their cooking magazines by actually reading and making the recipes. They created their food blog The Bitten Word, to document their process where the two cook and test recipes from archives of monthly food magazines. Clay and Zach live and cook in Washington, DC and can be found on Facebook and Twitter.
Who is your culinary icon?
Without a doubt: Mark Bittman. We’re continually blown away by his creativity and his ever-growing body of work. He’s a visionary, a genius, a one-man idea factory.
Why do you love to cook?
We love cooking because it’s fun — and rewarding — to play around and be creative with food. It’s also almost always more healthful than eating out every night. Plus, we really enjoy being in the kitchen together.
For the blog, our focus is on trying out recipes from various food magazines every month. It’s an adventure! We’re often cooking dishes that challenge our skills or expand our horizons when it comes to ingredients or tastes. Every recipe is an opportunity to discover something new.
What is the best part about being a food blogger?
We absolutely love our readers. We hear from people from around the world every day about their own cooking experiences, recipes they love, and stories about their families. It has been the most exciting and surprising thing about blogging.
Who would you want to battle on Iron Chef?
The Swedish Chef from Sesame Street. We think we could take him.
What was your first published recipe?
The very first thing we ever made for the blog was a Pork Cheek and Black Eyed Pea Chili from Food & Wine magazine back in February 2008. It became a story not just about making chili, but about the adventure of trying to buy pork cheek in D.C., which is more difficult than you might expect!
What is your favorite food city?
We’ve had great experiences in San Francisco and Los Angeles, but we’ll have to pick New York City. We’ve had amazing meals there, and we have favorite spots we’ve returned to many times. I mean, how can we not be drawn to a city with so many Momofukus?
And while our home city of D.C. can’t yet compare, it’s become a phenomenally better food city just in the past 8 or 10 years. Washington has some really fantastic restaurants now.
What three PBS personalities would you invite to dinner (animated, muppet, or living)?
We’re going to go with Mark Bittman (because he appeared on Spain: On the Road Again), Julia Child (predictable, but we have to!), and Gwen Ifill.
What meal/snack is your guilty pleasure?
For Zach, it’s peanut butter. We really cannot keep it in the house. Clay has a weakness for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Don’t even get us started on the thought of oatmeal peanut butter chocolate chip cookies….
What is your favorite under appreciated kitchen tool?
We have this little silicone scraper that we picked up in a kitchen gadget store once that we’ve been using for years. It’s perfect for cleaning pans and scraping away burnt-on spots.
In one tweet (140 characters or less)- what is your culinary style?
Southern(ish), sometimes-locavores who enjoy a strong cocktail. We’re not afraid to try anything.
When outside the kitchen, how do you spend your time?
We both enjoy reading (generally we’re struggling to keep up with our New Yorker subscription). We’re both runners — one of us more seriously, since Zach has been training for the Marine Corps Marathon this summer and fall. We’re traveling to China later this year, so a lot of our free time is taken up right now by planning for the trip. We’re super excited!
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