10 Things We Learned From the Rebel Chefs Chat at Aspen Food & Wine

By Kelly Dobkin  |  June 20, 2014

One of the first events at this year's 2014 Aspen Food & Wine Classic was this morning's "Rebel Chefs" panel moderated by Food & Wine EIC Dana Cowin and featuring chefs Sang Yoon (LA's Father's Office), Richard Blais (Juniper & Ivy in San Diego) and Johnny Iuzzini (formerly of Top Chef Just Desserts). Here's a few things we learned during this hour-long chat at Theatre Aspen.

  • Both Richard Blais and Johnny Iuzzini grew up eating TV dinners and food out of cans, which piqued their interest in learning more about cooking.
  • Johnny Iuzzini thinks pastry chefs make the best chefs because they're very precise in the kitchen.
  • Sang Yoon talked about eating out with his surrogate Jewish grandmother while growing up, who loved to go to Chinese restaurants (the only place she would eat pork) with the rationale: "God doesn't see us in here." 
  • Johnny Iuzzini was once confused for Freddy Prinze, Jr.
  • Johnny Iuzzini on a dish that defines him: "I'm like chocolate pudding — smooth and rich." 
  • Blais and Iuzzini joked that Sang Yoon was the "Asian Julia Child."
  • On non-chef inspirations, Richard Blais is inspired by Willy Wonka and Darth Vader. Sang Yoon by Steve Jobs and Thom Yorke.
  • Dana Cowin talked about how this is the year of the woman chef, which created some awkwardness on stage. Sang Yoon said; "I think a woman being a chef is a rebellious act in itself." Since the industry is so male dominated. 
  • Blais has always wanted to open a Mexican-Jewish food truck called: "Oy, Dios Mio!"
  • Richard Blais may or may not have signed a few Bobby Flay cookbooks (as Bobby Flay).