Chef Stuart O'Keeffe Dishes About Life In Food & Entertainment
“Be Present But Not Perfect!”
When I jumped on the phone with Chef Stuart O’Keeffe, I did so with the intention of shaking our interview up a bit. My reason was simple. The man has been forced to answer the same questions about a million times by now. I could only imagine how bored he was of it.
And so, when we began speaking, I led with that observation and he chuckled in response then continued on by thanking me for actually doing my homework and realizing that. Our conversation unfolded from there and I can tell you that it went more the direction a brother and sister would take than interviewer and interviewee.
Chef Stuart, no doubt, has a ton of wonderful recipes to share. What I find most delicious about him, however, is that - as talented, ambitious, and popular a chef he is - he remains grounded and grateful, two ingredients that just can’t be beat in a chef or a human being. No wonder he’s spiced the food entertainment and media world up with his emergence. And he can do the same for your summertime menu through his interview below as well as his appetizing site and recent cookbook
What is your personal mantra?
Be yourself and you can’t go wrong.
You have said that your mom inspired you to cook. What is the first dish your mom ever taught you to make?
My mother was always crazy busy so I would hound her while she was cooking. She would make a type of chicken that resembles a “creamed chicken stew”. I absolutely adore it to this day. We’d eat it when I came home from school for lunch.
If your life/career so far could be compared to a cut of beef, what would it be and why?
I would say a hanger steak because the hanger steak is a unique cut and rather unknown. There is only one on each cow. I’m still growing in my career as a chef in the United States - still unknown to many - and I definitely arrive the food and entertainment industry with my own style.
What’s the biggest difference between cooking for an American over any other consumer?
Americans love options. It’s great but can pose challenges at times.
Everyone has their unique habits and preferences when it comes to food. What is one habit or behavior that makes you absolutely cringe when you see it occur.
When those you cook for and serve, fail to show respect for your efforts or the dish overall.
What trademark dish would make me say “that’s absolutely a Stuart O’Keeffe dish”?
Red wine short ribs. It is not in the current cookbook as it takes quite a bit of time to make although I am working on a “pressure cooked” alternative, currently.
Out of all of the people in the world, who would make you the most nervous to cook for?
Gail Simmons of Top Chef. She’s extremely nice but I’d be nervous anyway.
Where is the focus of your concentration, currently, and what’s the ultimate vision?
I’m enjoying the journey. The big picture, however, is to have my own show, similar to that of Rachael Ray’s. I like the hustle of broadcast-food television life.
Share a social cause or cause-based organization close to your heart.
Project Angel Food. I believe strongly in their work and have become involved as a result.
When all is said and done, how would you like to be remembered?
As someone who did good things. I’d like people to say, “He was a fun, sweet guy, who believed in what he did and made the lives of others better.”
As Irish imports go, I think, Chef Stuart is one of Ireland’s finest. And I am most certain that our luck in having him educate and satisfy our palates has only just begun, just like him. He makes me even more proud that my maiden name is McCaffrey.
Many thanks to Chef Stuart O’Keefe and Pinyan Brand Management for making this interview possible