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Cooking at Home with Chad

My heart is so full right now being able to introduce my hubby to you all! Every Tuesday Chad will be releasing new recipes, cooking tips, and more! He creates BY FAR, the most incredible food I have ever tasted. (He’s annoyed by me talking him up, but he deserves it!) I am spoiled every night because 1- I don’t have to cook and 2- because I get to devour one of his creations.

But what makes me the proudest, is he is 100% a self-taught cook. He is so inspiring because I have watched his skills grow so much over the last four years. Chad is also a huge advocate for the home cook. He doesn’t believe you need a $100,000 education to be a fantastic cook.

Check out our interview below where he introduces himself, shares advice for new cooks, and talks about some of his biggest influences.

Getting to know Chad

(PD) How long have you been cooking for?
(CZ) I really started getting into cooking when I was about 18 years old. Funny story, but after watching Goodfellas that’s when my desire took off.

(PD) Haha, wait- Goodfellas about the Italian Mob?
(CZ) Yes! Funny enough, there is this scene where they are in prison cooking an amazing meal. They get the freshest ingredients delivered to them and are preparing a rustic Italian dinner. Something about the dedication they put in the meal and the joy the food brought inspired me to really start cooking.

(PD) That’s so awesome. So what would you say your style of cooking is?
(CZ) I don’t have one style because I don’t want my knowledge to be limited. But my favorite meals to cook are rustic Italian dishes.

(PD) What inspires you to continue to cook and create new dishes?
(CZ) Honestly, my passion for food. I love old rustic styles of cooking as well as progressive, modern techniques. So being able to add my twist to meals and try new things keeps me cooking. My family also loves to eat good food. They make me feel confident in my cooking and seem to enjoy what I make . Having so much support and the look on their faces after a good meal is all the inspiration I need.

(PD) Sound like the perfect motivation to me. (Plus I love being your taste tester) What is the first meal you remember making and being proud of?
(CZ) When I was 18/19, I made a beef stew for my parents. It sounds simple, but it was the first dish I put so much love into. I found the best ingredients and spent the time to make a hearty, delicious meal. They loved it so much and still talk about it ten years later. That dish really stuck with me because it was the first time I felt confident in my cooking.

(PD) That is the perfect meal for a rainy day! So, what would you say is the worst dish you have ever made?
(CZ) Haha hmmm. That is a tough one because I have had my fair share of uneatable dishes. I would have to say this teriyaki chicken I made in a slow cooker for my parents. I was still learning to cook and got a little adventurous with what I added in the mix. That dish would probably have to be the number one worst meal I’ve made.

(PD) But I bet that made you a better cook. What would you say is your signature dish?
(CZ) Oh absolutely. You can’t grow as a chef unless you mess up. Those bad meals are the best learning tools.
Hmm, I guess I am forced to say my meat sauce. The only reason I say that is because that’s what your mom request for every holiday or get to together. But I do cook a mean rustic, Italian meat sauce.

(PD) Yes, you do!! I swear we are going to find a way to have it jarred so we can share it with others. Do you have a favorite ingredient you like to add to your dishes?
(CZ) You know this one babe. Garlic, garlic, and more garlic. I don’t think you, and I would have worked out if you hated garlic. Not only is it SO good for you but it intensifies every dish. I don’t want to even hear otherwise, garlic is the best thing ever.

(PD) Mmm, I do love garlic. So how have you learned to grow your cooking skills?
(CZ) Honestly by watching a lot of chefs and home cooks on YouTube. I swear by YouTube; you can basically get a free education. There is a video on anything you could ever want to know. I also watch a lot of cooking shows and shows about food in general. I’ve grown as a cook by never staying stagnant. Trying different styles of cooking, different ethnic dishes, and just by playing around in the kitchen.

(PD) There really are so many resources out there. What advice do you offer new cooks?
(CZ) The Master Chef online classes taught by Gordon Ramsay and Wolfgang Puck are totally worth the money. The Master Classes go over techniques, recipes, what pairs with what, and so on. If you are serious about enhancing your skills, I highly recommend. With that being said, don’t feel like you need an expensive culinary degree to be a “worthy” cook. There are so many resources out there, like YouTube and Master Chef, that will help you grow. Also, spend the time to learn what spices go with what meat and what vegetables pair well with dishes. Lastly, If you have a desire to cook then that’s really all you need.

(PD) Wow, that’s excellent advice! Who would you say in the cooking/food world are your idols?
(CZ) Easy; Gordon Ramsay, Anthony Bourdain, Action Bronson, David Chang, and a few others. Anthony Bourdain taught me a lot to not to be afraid to try new, unfamiliar foods and to embrace different cultures. I try to bring that into my cooking, and it has opened up my palate.

(PD) Thanks, babe for sharing all of this with us. I can’t wait to see what you make next!
(CZ) Thanks for continually supporting me. I can’t wait to see how everyone likes my recipes. And I really can’t wait to see the readers take on my dishes!

And that’s a wrap! Check back next Tuesday for the perfect Summer Sausage Dog Recipe that will blow your next BBQ out of the water!

Thanks for reading and happy cooking!
Mariah & Chad

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