Mark Fuller is the chef/owner of West Seattle's Spring Hill, a restaurant which has been highly praised by both local and national media. This week, Fuller submits to a line of interrogation rivaled only by that experienced by captured homicide suspects in The Wire.
Chef Mark Fuller
SW: What are your culinary inspirations?
Fuller: Delicious ingredients, the change of seasons, other inspired cooks, technique, equipment and technology.Is there an ingredient or dish that you're particularly into these days? If so, what? Mollusks. Northwest grown oysters, clams--king, manilla, razor--and mussels.
Pacific Northwest cuisine is about the local foods that are plentiful and represent the Pacific Northwest. Oysters grown in the Northwest, excluding the Olympia, are east coast, Japanese and European transplants, but that doesn't matter to me. The oysters are here, they are plentiful, and they taste like waters and environment they come from.
What do you think this says about your cooking style and interests?
I think it says that I am becoming a better cook. What I mean is I am not getting in the way of the food itself, as much. I am trying to prepare cleaner plates of food as well, trying to maximize the true flavor of the ingredients using solid technique.
What was your favorite food when you were a kid?
Thinking back, I cannot remember having a hands-down favorite food. So there are a few.
If my favorite is defined by what I ate the most of and enjoyed, it would be eggs. I remember eating a lot of eggs. The best was hot hard-boiled eggs mashed up with butter, salt and black pepper.
Other favorites I didn't get that often, but when I did, I was excited: My grandmother's fried chicken wings and, on special occasions, my parents would take us to the Black Angus steak house. I would eat beef and king crab legs. King crab with warm melted butter is delicious and beef is the best meat on earth. I know, what about pork? For me, no pork preparation is better than a medium-rare, dry-aged rib steak or strip-loin that has been grilled over wood.
Check back tomorrow for more conversation with Fuller, including where he'd spend $100 on dinner. His answer might surprise you.