On what he would put on a menu if he didn’t have to worry about it selling: Scott says he puts anything he thinks of on the menu anyway. “Sometimes it sells, sometimes it doesn’t.”
When Deanna, his equally hot pastry chef wife was pregnant with their first child, Scott used her cravings as inspiration for menu items. During her pregnancy he added the crackerjack shrimp with caramel and popcorn dust that Table 6 regulars came to love.
On what inspires him: “What is in season and what I’m hungry for.” Apparently he was craving artichoke dip recently as he has added a knife and fork artichoke dish – a play on the ghetto cheesy artichoke dip (his words) you still find at American chain restaurants.
Favorite Dish on the Table 6 menu: the pork rinds. “I had them at Publican restaurant in Chicago and I just had to put them on the menu. “
Another item that he is currently experimenting with: Housemade cheetos. “Cheetos are basically heat and pressure applied to grain. “ Scott comments.
On the Best dish he has eaten recently: the burger at Stuebens.
On spending time with other local chefs: When asked if he spends time with local chefs talking about food, he says, “No, I just want to talk about my kids.” Four weeks ago Charlie Wayne Parker joined the household. Juggling time with Olivia age 2 ½, newborn Charlie, and his wife Scott says that he likes time at home these days better than being in the kitchen. He and Alex Seidel from Fruition will often have a beer and talk diapers. (Alex has a newborn of his own).
On Molecular Gastronomy: “It has its place. It’s another way to look at something. When the oven was invented people freaked out too. It exploded all at once.” Scott likes the less chemical approaches to molecular gastronomy – like popcorn powder. “There is no need to go all Willy Wonka”.
On ingredients: Scott likes using Asian ingredients singularly. He uses yuzu, or sesame or soy separately. He likes the flavor combination of miso and apples or using sesame oil to finish a vinaigrette. “Focus on each individual ingredient.”
On becoming a chef: Scott remembers the moment “he knew”. This one time at Boy Scout camp…Scott was asked to cook steaks for the Scouts on his boat. (His Boy Scout camp was boating in the Florida Keys). He made steaks seasoned with salt and pepper. They were good, so good that other boats turned up asking for the Boy Scout who cooked the steaks. Scott the Scout was hooked.
“The science of cooking intrigues me. I like to figure out why things work. Getting attention was never a part of why I became a chef.” Well said, Scott Parker, please stay on the line and make me those housemade cheetos!