Photo by Adriana GrantThis is the second installment of our interview with

Photo by Adriana GrantThis is the second installment of our interview with Cormac Mahoney. You can read part one here. Check back tomorrow for Mahoney’s recipe for coco piggy, his fantastic coconut-infused pork tacos. SW: What do you want people to know about you? Mahoney: As a chef I want to promote ingredients, and keep them accessible. We didn’t make any money [at Tako Truk] but we paid rent. It was more of a social experiment.Tell me about your plans for Tako Truck.Right now we’re trying to figure it out. This event we’re doing this weekend is going to be the initial template for Tako Truk. I’d like to turn it into my philanthropy arm. I love throwing parties. There were a couple times this summer where I actually achieved my ideal. Where I had friends spinning records, and then a song I loved came on, and there were mad people outside. We had a line, but people were hanging out. That was the biggest thing. There was a time that people were in line for forty-five minutes. I don’t wait in lines, personally. Nothing brings out my latent agoraphobia like waiting in a line.We’re all chasing the American Dream so we don’t have to cook for ourselves, and we can just travel. I don’t mind challenging people. At Sitka, there was this incident where this couple wanted just butter noodles for their kids. And I was in one of my lesser-natured moods, and I was like, “What’s wrong with this?” We were basically serving noodles with Ragu. And I was like, “Is he vegetarian?” And he [the father], said no. And I said, “Oh, cool, okay.”My Moms made me eat what I ate. This idea that you can walk in anywhere and get catered to. No. There is a restaurant that serves you and there is a catering company that you hire that caters to you. To me, there is a big difference there. It’s a fine line, but it’s a line nonetheless.I want to challenge people to grow up. I did all the little kid things when I didn’t want to eat: hide it in my napkin, go to the bathroom, wait til Mom’s not looking, slide it to the dog. But I was seven, I was six. When I see 23-year-olds doing that I wanna slap them. When I see 45-year-olds doing it, I just walk the other way. So what are you going to serve that will challenge people?Octopus. One of the things we did at Tako Truk, we didn’t give people sauces. You ordered food and we gave it to you. What you did with it after you bought it was your choice. I know I turned people on to the fact that they could eat a lot hotter food than they anticipated. [The hot sauce was on the taco.] People would be like “Oh my god, my mouth is on fire, but it so good.” If I just put a thing of sauce on the side, “Oh no, I can’t eat that.” Putting tongue in our soup and not telling people, just calling it Drunk Boy Soup. It was a style of menudo. Putting tripe and tongue in the soup, and not giving you a choice. Yep, it’s beef soup, there’s beef in there.What was your favorite food as a kid? Spare ribs. Barbecued spare ribs. I’m pretty sure it was Kraft barbecue sauce, and Mom just baked them. There was no brining. In the summer we would grill them. That was when I remember getting the happiest.You’re making a pizza. What’s on it?Just mozzarella and– this is where I get all fancy boy–the Spanish brown anchovies. There are two kinds, boquerones, which are cured in vinegar, but the other kind, straight, brown in oil. Beaufort, I think? Just mozzarella, those things, and chili flakes, and probably a parsley sauce. A green base, no red sauce or anything. But they have to be those anchovies, because they are the best things ever. Where do you eat if you have just $5? Cedar’s on The Ave. and the Gyrocery is awesome, too. I’d do the lamb gyro at the Gyrocery and the falafel at Cedar’s. Not the big one on 50th, but the little one on 43rd, next to the camera shop. Although the Falafel King down at Pike Place Market is the best falafel. I like how he makes it flatter. Where would you eat if you had $100? I would probably have to go to Mistral Kitchen. William Belikis is the most underrated chef in Seattle. Which is hard to say, because he has such a reputation for being, or had a reputation, I guess. His palette is… and I haven’t been to Mistral Kitchen yet, but pretty much the best thing I ever put in my mouth in Seattle was at Mistral. The old one. With a hundred bucks I’d have to go to Mistral Kitchen and get a drink and an appetizer. What’s your after-work hangout?

My couch. [With] Cheap beer and Tim’s Cascade sea salt and vinegar potato chips. Really. When I didn’t have a girlfriend, when we just opened Sitka, we’d to go to Licorous, and I love the Zoo. I like the bar and the Fireside Room at the Sorrento as a cool place to hang out.What does Seattle need more of from a culinary standpoint? Sunshine. I think that more sun would get more people out. We’re such a closed community here. We’re in our cars, we’re in our buildings, we’re in our homes, we’re inside. Street food. But I don’t even know what I mean by street food. We say we need street food, but do you understand that people who do street are often poor as fuck and don’t make any money? I would like to see what Nickels did with music and film, with James Keblas, I would like to see an Office of Food and Culture. An office at the city level that recognized the impact of restaurants and the entertainment dollar. Tom Douglas really redefined Seattle cuisine. He changed it. What we eat and how we eat, it defines us. We got oysters, we got salmon. We got crabs, we got halibut, geoduck. We live in this bigger Cascadia region, the whole Puget Sound, and then when you get east of the mountains, you get all the legumes and the grapes, and the beef; small herd beef are starting to come. We have a responsibility as the leader. If you are going to be the number one tax consumer as well as the number one tax provider, you should be representing the interests of the state. We have a huge bounty. We are climate zone nine. We can grow arbequina grapes here. There are pinot grigio grapes growing over on Whidbey. The sea beans out on the coast. Elk meat is great. One of the things that made my dad feel like I was actually doing something good was when I was working at the Dahlia and he came in and had an elk chop. He said, “Holy Shit, people are serving elk?” and I said, “Yeah, unfortunately it’s farmed.” But we need to figure out these problems. We’re resting on our laurels too much. I don’t want a nanny state, but I view government as a tool that can be used to better people. If I can take point zero zero zero one percent cash revenue, use it to promote culture though food. I mean, you have to eat. I think it would be really important, especially if we’re saying that the amount of revenue the music industry makes warrants some special office. Food, not hoteliers, not the Restaurant Association of Washington, but a real focusing on the Matt Dillons that are single-handedly providing a market for Jerry Stokesberry’s chicken. Matt Dillon is important. He has good ideas and he puts his money where his mouth is. Tom Douglas, who now has a soapbox that needs to be… He’s not going to do it on his own, because he doesn’t have to. He’s putting his money where his mouth is, his ingredients are good, he’s supporting local farmers when he can. But I really think that we need a voice. Maria Hines. I mean Tilth got named one of the ten most important restaurants in the country, why the fuck isn’t she helping to guide policy? Why aren’t they partnering with the health department and saying, “You can do raw milk, and it’s okay if you do it this way”? We can do these things. But we want to box living organisms up, box a living art up, make it nice and neat and tidy, but you can’t do it.


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