Talking Food, Blogging and Culinary Travel (Ep. 16)

What makes a great travel experience? Seeing amazing places or having amazing food?

This week, I chat with a food blogging and social media influencing pioneer Chef Dennis. Our conversation will focus around food quality in the U.S. and around the world, how to find great restaurant experiences, attempting foods that fit the local culture, and we'll even chat about what happens to rocket scientists when they retire.

  • How Chef Dennis got started as a social media influencer
  • Where he gets his idea for recipes
  • Like a meal, ask for the recipe
  • Open kitchen concept: Lucienne, Switzerland
  • Where the idea of being a chef came from
  • Making school food something special
  • European quality of food
  • What are they spraying American food with? The deal with GMOs.
  • Do the Irish know how to eat? Farm-to-fork.
  • Where is beer city U.S.A.?
  • Talking Guinness, porters, stouts, and sour beer.
  • Understanding flavors and your palate. Listening to food.
  • Being clean when you cook
  • Picking travels by food
  • How to choose where to eat when you travel
  • Figuring out the rating of a restaurant
  • Beyond Italy
  • Haggis, blood sausage, and herring
  • Booking breakfast in Europe
  • Where to find amazing food in the United States
  • What rocket scientists do when they retire?
  • Ordering a well-done steak in France and blue duck
  • Why gluten intolerance, etc.
  • Creating simple recipes for people
  • What chefs eat at home
  • Go get food or the UNISCO site?
  • Where are the best hot dogs?
  • Street vendors
  • Eating in a foreign culture

Episode Resources

Sharable Images


Show Notes


Chef Dennis (00:00:00):
Hey, I'm Chef Dennis. Thank you so much for listening to my episode of Travel Fuels Life.

Drew (00:00:19):
Hello everybody, and welcome to Travel Fuels Life, the show we share stories, tips, and inspiration to help you live a travel lifestyle. I'm your host, drew Hanish, and who out there loves food? Well, travelers get treated to a whole bunch of amazing foods, and it's even better if we can bring those flavors home with us and make them in our own kitchen. And this week's guest is an expert at doing just that. Chef Dennis from Ask Chef dennis.com. And a couple weeks ago, I got a chance to stop by his house in Florida and not only meet him, but meet his lovely wife, Lisa as well. And the true joy of the experience was seeing him in his element, producing some amazing linguini and clams, and then getting to enjoy those over a bottle of wine and then having some fun conversation afterwards. And just minutes before that experience, I had a chance to sit down with Chef Dennis. We chatted about his experiences as a culinary instructor, some of the recipes he's featuring on his website and his current life of travel and culinary travel blogging. So let's head down to the home of Chef Dennis in Kissimmee, Florida and talk some food and travel. Alright, so I want to welcome in, chef Dennis. Chef, how you doing today?

Chef Dennis (00:01:43):
I am doing great. Thanks so much for inviting me to do the podcast with you.

Drew (00:01:46):
Sure, absolutely. Well, it's funny to welcome you in when we're in your home, actually.

Chef Dennis (00:01:52):
I know. I'm glad you could come by. This is a lot better than trying to set up out in somebody's somebody else's place too. So

Drew (00:01:59):
Yeah, this is, it's funny too, because I am now talking to somebody who interviews other people on your own video that you're doing. You, you've been doing Facebook Live, you've been doing YouTube videos. How long have you been doing those?

Chef Dennis (00:02:14):
I have been doing live videos. I was doing it before all the cool kids were doing it. So that's my kind of claim to fame. And that's really what got me started. Google was very good to me because I was using Google Hangouts. They intended it to, and this was back when they had their master plan and people were always thinking Google was going to be a social media, but they never wanted it to be a social media. It was a tool to help search. And I asked 'em about it one time, says, oh, we don't want to be a social media. We just want to integrate ourselves into every aspect of your life.

My reaction, I almost started to laugh and they were dead serious. And I went, can you just put the chip in now? I says, I'm ready for the Kool-Aid. Okay. Yeah. So that is what launched my career in Google Hangouts. I was very fortunate to have a friend who was the master of Hangouts, and I would go to work and I would go to work at four in the morning. I'd get to work at five, and he would still be on, he lived in Denver, so I would talk to him at five in the morning because he hadn't gone to sleep yet. What was new, what the problems were, what can we do? So I got really got into Hangouts and interviewing people and talking to other people, and it really helped me become a better speaker because I was painful at first. If you look at some of my first videos,

Drew (00:03:31):
Yeah, I mean, for me, it was really a tough transition to go from being the guy who was always just running the show and then all of a sudden getting into interviewing people. How was that transition for you?

Chef Dennis (00:03:45):
That wasn't bad because I kind of got tired of doing the interviewing at one point. I had three live shows on every week, and it just started wearing on me. And when I always tell people when things stop being fun, that's when I stopped doing them. I still love blogging because it's still fun. I still like to eat and I still like to cook, so I do all that. But live just wasn't as much fun for me anymore. So it wasn't a hard transition because I really didn't want to be the interviewer anymore. I can do it, but I don't really want to do it.

Drew (00:04:18):
So your blog is mostly focused on food, but it focuses on travel as well. So when you're coming up with recipes, are these recipes that are inspired by your travels? Or are they things that you've just, you like to just develop stuff?

Chef Dennis (00:04:35):
Occasionally they will be developed from something I've had out a lot of times because I am a chef, and it's not just because I'm a chef. I don't want people to think that they can't ask restaurants for recipes because the new age of chefs are very sharing. When I was coming up through the ranks, you want a recipe, you got a better chance of seeing God, it ain't going to happen. And then I came, when I started my blog, I came to understand now it's got to be perfect. It's got to have all the ingredients, all the steps. You can't screw it up because I want it to be good when you make it at home. So you can't leave anything out. And then you realize, well, what am I losing anyway? It'll never be quite the same as I make in the terms of other chefs, especially if we're in a foreign country, you're never going to source the same ingredient, or even on the West Coast, you're never going to source the same ingredient. So it's not going to taste exactly the same. So there's no fear in giving recipes. So when I was in Ireland or when I was in Switzerland, I, I'd like the recipes for that. We'll print 'em out for you and we'll have 'em at the, wow. Okay. So ask, yeah,

Drew (00:05:46):
This is surprising. But I had a roommate who was from Louisiana, and he, we'd go eat at this restaurant in Nashville, and they made this amazing chocolate amaretto cake. And I said, man, I would love to know how to make that because it's just the place to go. That's the thing to get. And he said, okay, well, I'll ask for the recipe. And I said, really? Because it never crossed my mind that would be okay to do. And yet he went back, asked the question, and they said, oh, yeah, here you go. So yeah, it's cool that you could do that. So are the recipes that you have, are some of them then inspired from the recipes that you're getting from these travels? Or do you again, make your own variation of them?

Chef Dennis (00:06:37):
I pretty much make my own variation. What I have done through most of my life is, well, the first thing that has helped me is I read a lot. I am not a classically trained chef from a culinary school. I'm classically trained in the manner of was I was just abused for three years in a kitchen and taught how to do what I do. I was an apprentice, so I learned the old fashioned way. But my inspirations come from what I have made in the past and what I see, we'll go out to eat. And at least it's cracks up because no matter almost, well, if it's good, it's always the best thing I've ever had because I just enjoy food and I enjoy the person that has crafted it for me. The chef will usually come out and talk to me and we'll sit and we'll just talk about shop and different things. So we've got a relationship now. So because the relationship when he feeds me, there's more love involved, even if we're just met. And so it's like, this is the best lamb I've ever had. And honestly, at the time I'm eating it. It is. Which makes it even better for me.

Drew (00:07:43):
I saw a picture of you in Switzerland and you took pictures of the kitchen, and I wasn't sure whether you were taking pictures of the kitchen because you had asked to go into the back to take pictures, or this was such an open restaurant that you actually were looking at the kitchen while you were eating.

Chef Dennis (00:08:01):
That was at the Montana Kitchen Club, and that was the Hotel Montana and Lucerne. And it's an open kitchen downstairs now that Open Kitchen feeds the rest of the hotel. But that open kitchen has a chef's table. So if you belong to the Montana Kitchen Club or if you want to book a seat at that table, you sit there and you're right in the middle of everything you get to watch. And there were a lot of open kitchens. This was a big open kitchen. I mean, they actually had an escalator going up for the servers to take the food up in. And they had cameras on where the server was so they could watch them and they could watch the food and back and forth. It was very high tech, but it was really fun to watch him go. And then we went to a place called Bergen Stock, and I was starting to tell you about that in outside of Lucerne, it's still part of Lucerne. And they had a we to a place called Spices Kitchen. In there, they have seven restaurants, and that was an entirely open kitchen too. The concept of open kitchens is becoming more popular because these new chefs want you to see part of what they're doing and create. I think it's actually probably more cost effective for them too. And it's a way to keep everyone working a little more careful about what they do. Cause they have to think about what they're doing, what they're touching, what they're doing, because they're in front of people. Yeah.

Drew (00:09:22):
It's like we live in a transparent age. I mean, even in houses, houses are built with open floor plants now. There's just a trend, I guess make it as open as possible. So

Chef Dennis (00:09:34):
You want the space livable. This was really open. We added a little wall here just to close it off a bit, because I needed more cabinet space. Other than that, it would've been more open. But yeah, it's the whole open kitchen design where you can watch the chef, the chef can interact. It's no longer the old days, very, no soap for you kind of a, which a lot of chefs did have at that, and now they're like a kinder, gentler breed that are locally sourcing, or they're very proud of what they do. The new chefs have brought back a whole new level of culinary tradition to us. We've gone back to how we used to be. There was an ugly time in the eighties and nineties, I think, where we were, we're not really sure of what we were doing. Thanks. Have come back.

Drew (00:10:21):
So where did the love of food and the idea of cooking for you as an occupation come from?

Chef Dennis (00:10:28):
Well, I love to eat. Okay. Yeah. That was the big thing. My mother was a nurse and she worked and she always worked, or she usually worked nights so she could be home for school and things. And I'd let her sleep. And because I liked to eat, I'd start cooking and I would cook for her then, or we'd, I had both parents, but I mean, my father was off during the day. My mother was home. So in the summer I would be cooking lunch or something for the both of us. So I just really enjoyed the process and enjoyed eating. And then when I was, I think, I can't remember what year it was. I think it was in eighth grade or seventh grade, there was a guy named Graham Kerr that came on. He was the Galloping Gourmet, and he would bring people down from the audience and he would feed them. And he was always, right now you're watching, my wife goes, I can't believe you liked him because he's so hammy. But back then he was cutting edge, and all we had was Julia Child, which nobody watched because she was a woman, god forbid. And Graham Kerr was this flamboyant Australian or New Zealander, whatever. He was with the accent. And I'll have some wine and we'll do this, and we'll have some more wine and we'll do this.

And he would bring people down from the audience and they would moan when they ate. And I'm going, damn, that's a nice way to make all that,

Drew (00:11:51):

Chef Dennis (00:11:52):
Yeah. Make people happy with food. So that's always been the greatest joy for me, is people really being happy with what I made 'em. The whole key is if you serve a table and you go out and they're not talking, you've done your job.

Drew (00:12:10):
Nice. Yeah. It's great to have that reinforcement from your audience, so to speak, firsthand audience. So you went on and you were telling me that you worked actually for a school up in Philadelphia. And tell me, because you were relating the food budget and the quality of the food that you were trying to produce.

Chef Dennis (00:12:34):
Oh, y yeah. It's not always about, you don't have the money, you don't have the skill. We could transform a lot of the school food in the United States, but unfortunately, all the people that are working at schools are used to opening up cans and boxes, and you don't have the money to actually teach them how to skills. Now, I worked for a company that used to hire only chefs, and they would teach you all the paperwork because you can teach anybody all the paperwork and everything else they need to learn, but you can't teach someone to cook. Some people just don't have it. So they would just hire nothing but chefs. And that way they were ensuring that their food level was better. But I got to the school and the food was really not good. It was typical. Yeah. School food. And in a Catholic school, it was maybe a little worse because they were allowed to fry everything.

As long as the girls were happy, they didn't care what youve them. So I started making chicken marsala sushi. I would do grain vegetables. It was a little bit of a joke at first as a company was very big on grains, and it was aero man and spelt, and I was like, airman spelt and something. It was like, I didn't know what the hell these things were, but you learn. I learned to use them, and I learned to provide, and the girls really started getting into food. And that's when I started my culinary program because I realized I could train my own staff for special events. So I was doing a good thing, and they were helping me, and I never charged the school anything for this. And I, we fed them and we did all these things. But it's working within budgets. It's not that difficult. If you know what you're doing, you're creative and you make a lot of things from scratch. It starts to get expensive when you're buying everything.

Drew (00:14:16):
So when I hear people say, well, I can't cook with vegetables and the rest because it just gets too pricey for me to do that. Not buying that.

Chef Dennis (00:14:27):
Well, you know, buy what's priced, you know, can't always buy the same thing every day, every week. So you have to see what's available. Some weeks, maybe you have to buy frozen vegetables because there was something going wrong with the local source. We're lucky in Florida, we have so much fresh vegetables here that all year round we have everything available. And we've gotten as a nation too, because we won our cherries year round. We won our peaches year round. So now South America's making 'em, or Mexico's making 'em for us, and they're coming close to what we have, but it's a different climate. It's a different soil. So they're not always quite the same as skins are thicker sometimes, because it's a different place you're growing them in. It's just like thinking of growing wines differently. The veritas for grapes. So it's the same thing with any fruit or vegetable, but no, you know, have to be smart. I buy a lot of organic products, but all right, if it's, I go and it's outrageous. All right. I'm not going to buy organic this week. Yeah.

Drew (00:15:29):
Are you now doing your traveling? Have you found the quality of food, for instance, when you go to Europe, that the fresh vegetables and fruits are of a different or higher quality?

Chef Dennis (00:15:42):
The overall quality of food in Europe is so much better than what we get here. There are not the additives. They're not all the preservatives. They're not all, I mean, I went to Europe, ate like a full pastries desserts, wines lost 15 pounds.

And I was talking to one of my doctors and he said the same thing. He goes, what's up with this? I said, it's not all that crap in it. You know, came back and you start eating white bread, you start eating all these things with preservatives in 'em. But it's all natural ingredients. They have to label everything, first of all, which is one of the big steps that our government can't get past making because they give so much money to government that no one wants to tell 'em. No, you have to label everything now, 20 million. We don't have to label everything. No, you don't. Okay, at GMOs. GMOs are good. Well, why are they banned in the rest of the world?

Drew (00:16:37):
Why is Monsanto going through a lawsuit over Roundup now? Right? Yeah.

Chef Dennis (00:16:41):
Well, that's because half a roundup. Well, the new things, the new one they made included half of Agent Orange in it at a healthy food conference. And I'm just not paying attention because, all right, healthy. Yeah. All right, I'll eat it when I can. But then they said that and I went,

Drew (00:16:55):
Yeah, I was going to say, I have a real true to life experience that shows me that there's something in American food that isn't quite right. Because for years I've not been able to eat fresh fruit. Really? It irritates my throat. It makes my throat itch. And so I was up in Montreal and we were doing a bike tour, and we stopped off at a farmer's market, and all they supplied us were fresh fruits. And I thought, this isn't going to be good because I can't eat fresh fruits. Well, they had these things called ground cherries, and they're just little grapes almost. So I looked at 'em, I said, I'll just eat one and see, because it just irritates my throat. I don't, my throat doesn't close off or anything, it's just an annoyance. But I went ahead and ate it. It was fine. So I ate another, it was fine.

The rest of that trip, everywhere I went, I ate as much fresh fruit as I possibly could. And I thought, well, my allergies are gone. I went back to the United States, first thing I had, that was fruit. Right back to the right back the problem. Yeah. I went, now this is telling too, I go to Europe and the only place that I'll try steak tartar or beef tartar is in France. I wouldn't do that here. I like you get into your mind. Now, all of a sudden, this nervousness about, oh yeah, what we're eating here in America,

Chef Dennis (00:18:23):
Some of our meats have gotten better. You can eat pork rare now, it's not going to kill you. A lot of the things that we have made improvements on are great, but a lot of the things we do to food is just not right. And how we approach it, we don't approach it with love and understanding. We approach it with dollar signs. And when we're trying, and they use this excuse for GMOs, oh, we're feeding the world. Well, it's a bunch of crap. So granted, some of the new hybrids, you know, can get a greater yield, but you don't have to be, don't ho. And I'm not against genetically modified. I mean, fine if you need to do it, but tell me. Right. And if you want to buy it, bless your heart, go ahead and buy it. That that's fine. But just let me know. Make the conscious decision. And that's all most people want to know. And unfortunately, things we grow up with eating our lives that we trusted. And then we find out just recently tees or have all these carcinogenic, they've been sprayed with herbicides, pesticides, and there's a whole list of black teas that you can't drink.

Drew (00:19:31):
See, it's going to get to a point where I go, I just can't eat anything. Well, because I go through high cholesterol. Okay, well, here's all the stuff I have to knock off of my list. Well, I tried the South Beach diet for a while, then I'm knocking other things off of my list. It's like, okay, maybe this is too much for my brain to handle all of this, and you just give up.

Chef Dennis (00:19:53):
Well, but then if you eat in Europe, you don't give up anything. Yeah. It's just like, we were going to talk about Ireland. I don't know. You had mentioned something about that. Yeah. Well, I went to Ireland for tea backs, and I was approached by the Irish Commission there, and they said, we want you to come to Ireland and help dispel the myth that the Irish don't know how to eat. And I'm like, oh, okay. Yeah, I can do

Drew (00:20:20):
That. Because you're thinking the Irish don't know how

Chef Dennis (00:20:23):
Eat, don't know how to eat. Absolutely. I'm going, oh hell. And I got over there and I quickly found out that what we call farm to fork, they call dinner. It's just that simple, locally sourced good quality products. I was never a lamb eater. And as a chef, that's like, really, people are gone. But in the days that I was really working in a kitchen that I would serve lamb, I was never really thrilled with it. It just didn't, flavor wise, they serve me lamb. And I go, I don't know what the hell this is, but this is some tasty meat, really? And it's lamb. And I'm like, oh, it doesn't taste like lamb. It tastes just really, really good meat.

Drew (00:21:04):
But you think it's, it's not coming from the way that they're spicing it up. It's coming from just a better quality of meat.

Chef Dennis (00:21:10):
The lamb has a better life, and it's getting real food. It's eating grass out in the field. It's not stressed out. They're probably, when they do butcher it, they're not butchering it poorly. So the adrenaline's not all, because that's some of the times when they kill animals, the adrenaline runs through 'em, and that's what makes everything tough and not good. So it's just a whole better philosophy. And they know we got the cheese from the farmer down down the road. We got this from this person. These vegetables come from this farmer and all these, and it's really where everything comes from. We have mussels that are grown organically on the line, all time, line muscle grow. So all the different things they do for food, that, and beer amazed me because I was never a beer drinker. And we went to Germany and Austria, and I'm going to go, I don't know what the heck this is, but this is one tasty beverage, because it wasn't be, I mean because don't like beer, but it was just really quenching and

Drew (00:22:11):
Good. I saw you drinking Guinness. Yeah. So are you a Guinness guy?

Chef Dennis (00:22:15):
I was for a while. And now I have become more of a beer aficionado. And not that I know anything about beer, but I know different things that I like. And traveling has done that. And we have some amazing breweries in the States now. We have some craft breweries that'll just blow. They, they're as good as Europe, I think, in a lot of ways. Some of the beers I've had, and again, and this is coming from someone who wouldn't touch beer because it was awful.

Drew (00:22:46):
Yeah. Well, I think back to when I was younger, I was always trying to find something other than Budweiser. Oh my God. Or Coors. And so I would drink Beck's or I would drink, say Paul Girl. Girl or

Chef Dennis (00:23:00):

Drew (00:23:01):
Head anything that was available that wasn't, in fact, a friend of mine joked one time we went to a restaurant and I was trying to order a beer, and I was going through all of these different names. And finally my friend said, do you have anything foreign?

Chef Dennis (00:23:16):
Yeah, that's pretty much it.

Drew (00:23:17):
Until Sam Adams came along, which really kind of brought the whole microbrewery Yes. Revolution. Yes. And now I live not far from Asheville, North Carolina, which is get gets labeled beer city s a many times. I think there's 130 plus breweries. Oh my God. Just in that area. Wow. Yeah. It's insane. And we talk about when is this going to end? Because it's just exploded so much that you go, there's some good, then there's people who are just getting into it. And there's a lot of experimentation going on. And it's funny, I've had, I like stouts and porters. I've had a huge variety of them. But I always go back to Guinness.

Chef Dennis (00:23:59):
I will drink Guinness and anything on tap is always better. And a lot of people will have Guinness on tap. If there's Guinness is on tap, and you have something Irish that's not necessarily a stout drink, A little bit of lighter beer. Guinness is always good to fall back on though. But then I found that I really like Porters better than I like stouts. And I like flavorful porters. We got a coffee, coconut chocolate.

Drew (00:24:32):
Wow. It's dessert.

Chef Dennis (00:24:35):
And it's actually made in Sarasota head, I think it was. Okay. And they poured it for me, and I got it in cans. And the cans are good, but the tap was really knocked my socks off. Cause I took a sip. And the first sip, the sip, you don't always taste anything. The second sip, then you start to get the nuances. And I'm going, oh my God, there's coconut and there's the chocolate. I says, it's like a mound bar. And then the coffee kicked in. So all these different flavors, so I'm drinking them. I only found one beer that, honestly, that I really couldn't drink. And unless it was paired, probably with food probably. And that's a sour beer. Have you ever had a sour beer? I have. Oh, I don't see any reason at all to drink

Drew (00:25:16):
That. Yeah, I started with Sam Adams in their holiday pack. We put in a cranberry lambic. Now I'm the one smart guy on the tour who pulled, I said, and they said, any questions about Sam Adams beer? I said, yeah, I really like your cranberry lambic. But in the lambics are made by ripping the roof off of a building, letting bacteria in, and then it's supposed to basically destroy the vat that it's being brewed in. You can only use it for lambic from that point on. And I said, so where are you guys do, how are you doing that? Because you don't produce that much of it. And he said, we'll answer your question offline. So they pulled me over to the side and they said, we actually just engineer a yeast to make it seem like it's a lambic, but it's not really. But the thing is, is that it is a sour beer, but it wasn't aggressively sour. When you get some of these Belgian beers that are lambic that are really sour. I have friends who like them. I don't have a palette for sour.

Chef Dennis (00:26:21):
No, I don't either. No. People

Drew (00:26:23):
Would give me sweethearts and I'd go, no,

Chef Dennis (00:26:25):
That's not my thing.

Drew (00:26:25):
No, it's a little

Chef Dennis (00:26:26):
Too much. Yeah. So that was the only one. But I mean s they and the cloudy beers and the unfiltered beers, it was like, oh my God. It was so much fun to taste and to try different ones. Now I'm a lightweight. Usually if I go out, I want to see whatever's local and I'll have one. And that's pretty much it. But Guinness, Guinness is great. And the people at Guinness are very nice. And they're actually in, they're start a program where if you want to develop a craft beer, they have a program where you can come in and develop it in their Oh,

Drew (00:26:55):
Really? Yeah.

Chef Dennis (00:26:56):
Huh. They have all the facilities they give you as long as you're picked, you know, go through a vetting process. But of course they own whatever you create.

But you can hone your craft and you can learn. So the first couple you make, maybe you belong to them, but after that, now you can go out on your own and make beers. But it's a great way for them to get craft beers to sell, to extend their line. And it's a great way for people to learn. So I think it's a win-win. And for what they're doing, I tip my hat to them. A lot of other breweries could do that. If Coors or Budweiser would start doing that. And I know they're trying to get into more craft beers, but they really have to broaden their scope, or they're going to go the way of, I think when this next generation goes down, they're going to start to see sales decline as more the millennials start drinking

Drew (00:27:46):
Beers. Well, you see how they sell beer now? The Budweiser sells it. We don't have corn syrup.

Chef Dennis (00:27:51):

Drew (00:27:52):
Oh yeah. I mean, to me, that's not really the first decis. Not that I want to drink a beer that has corn syrup in it, but that's not really my first consideration when choosing a beer. No. Or seeing the ingredients on the package to see that they make it with rice. Yeah. It's like, okay. Yeah, that's not the big selling point for me. Not to digress too much into a whiskey and a beer drinking, but I am going to Ireland. And what I found interesting was I did a, I'm going to do a scotch tour, and I have just, last year did a Kentucky bourbon tour. And what I found was that my palette was not well trained and my nose is not well trained. And that whiskey actually sort of helped me train that. And so it makes me wonder, when you're trying to learn how to cook and learn all of these different flavors, how do you come across that? Is that something that, because you said that you can't really teach somebody to cook, and so is that just like a God given thing that you

Chef Dennis (00:29:01):
Have? Well, you can teach someone to cook, but you can't teach some, I mean, unless they have the inner skill and the ability to create, to craft, to understand flavors. I worked at one place, and this one guy ran the whole restaurant. He says, I want you to teach him to cook. I says, no. He says he can't learn. He does not have a mind for that. Like me trying to teach my brother to cook, he's an engineer. He sees in and black and white, I always said he sees in shades of black and white, all I see are shades of gray all over the place. So you have to have that mind. And it, it's not that I'm artistic, but I mean, it's almost that same kind of mind that you're creating things. You're experimenting, you're experimenting with flavors. And then I was taught early on in a career by someone that had an impact with my life that you know, want to listen to food.

And it sounds crazy, like food doesn't talk right, but you want to listen to food. And it will pretty much tell you what it wants or what you should add to it, what seasoning it needs. And I always go basic with seasonings, it's salt, pepper, and that's maybe some onion or some garlic. But it's very basic because if you mask food by spices, what's wrong with it? It's like if the food, the flavors of the food, you need to enhance them. The natural flavors. Salt does that, pepper does that. So you want to some aromatics something, but if you're going to cover it in spices, or if the sauce is so spicy that you can't taste whatever you're eating, what was wrong with that food?

Drew (00:30:38):
That was always my trick. You've given my trick away. If the food wasn't good, I'd just blacken it.

Chef Dennis (00:30:43):
Well, that's

Not a bad thing. And again, I'm not saying that it doesn't have its place. I love buffalo wings, but I don't want 'em so hot that I can't feel my mouth for three days. I like black and stuff too, but again, I don't want it so strong. I like Mexican spices. I'm half Mexican, so I like them. My wife hates them, but she's been growing. She's spinning a little more accustomed to them. But you know, just have to look and see and taste. And everybody's tastes are different. So when I write a recipe, I always tell people, all right, as long as it's not something that's scientific baking where you can't, I just had someone say, can I replace all the gluten-free flour with corn flour, with coconut flour? I go, no, you can't. I don't really know why, but I know you can't. Right.

Because it's the weights, the protein weights to develop different things in it. But with regular cooking, if I'm making shrimp and broccoli and you don't like broccoli, don't put it in. It's not rocket science. People put spinach in it. Put if you want cauliflower, if you love cauliflower, put cauliflower in it. Whatever you like. And that's the one I tell people, well, I really like this recipe, but I don't like swordfish. Well, what fish do you like? Let's swap it out. And that's what cooking is all about. And cooking about as well, chef, I made your recipe, but I added some scallions, or I added a little bit of caramelized onion to it. I said, oh, that sounds really good. But again, make it your own. You look at a recipe, and that's what I do when I develop recipes. We'll be out and generally, unless I'm going to put the recipe on my blog, and when I do my travel posts, sometimes I try to include a recipe from wherever I've traveled with it.

But I won't per se make it. I'll take pictures of what I had. I'll ask, I'll trust the chef to give me the accurate recipe and then post it. But if I'm out eating and I taste something, I go, that was really good. I don't care what he put in, and I'm going to go home and figure it out. I have a picture so I know what it's supposed to look like, and I can craft it the way I want to. And a lot of times where I get into problem with ordering dishes is when the menu tells me one thing, and on my mind, I see how I would do it. And when it comes out and it's not that way, I go, huh, well, it's almost good. And most of the time, I just love what I eat because I love to eat. But every now and then, I get fooled with that. My expectations are up here. And it's not that I'm expecting it to be overly delicious or flavorful, but just crafted a certain way.

Drew (00:33:27):
So one thing that I noticed when looking at the photos on your website is that unlike me, you seem to be very clean when you cook. Oh,

Chef Dennis (00:33:37):
You have to be. Yeah. Yeah. And again, that's not something that I started out really being super clean. I worked in a very, very small kitchen, and I had to, first, I was taught when I learned my craft in a kitchen that was just completely different. A lot of cursing going on, throwing things. And I thought that was the norm till I got into another kitchen and realized, no, it's not. But it was such a small space, and I had to keep it clean myself all the time where it would just get, you know, don't want to cook in a dirty kitchen.

Drew (00:34:09):

Chef Dennis (00:34:10):
So I learned to do that. And my wife even says, I'll be making something, and she cleans up after I cook, but I leave her so very little, because as I go, yeah, I clean. And that's the whole secret to it. You know, always keep a towel to wipe down the tables. Even if I'm working on a cutting board, if I've done enough, I'm going to rinse it off, clean it off, if it needs to be sanitized or get another one. I have three cutting boards, so I'll pull another one and clean it later. But pots and pans, if I'm done with it, I'll clean it, put it on the side, and then put it away because it's less clutter. I remember cooking for some friends of hers, and I had made chicken marsala and something, and they're talking and having dinner or having, it was lunch and all this. And they looked over and everything was clean, put away and done. And they had just barely finished their lunch. They were like, oh my God, their husbands don't do anything. But my wife can't cook, so we're not even going there.

Drew (00:35:08):
She's hopefully not listening

Chef Dennis (00:35:09):
You. Oh, she knows. She knows.

Drew (00:35:11):
She know

Chef Dennis (00:35:11):
She can. But

Drew (00:35:11):
Her friends, I'll be happy to leave it to you.

Chef Dennis (00:35:13):
Her friends think she's an evil genius because she tried to cook once. It was Tuesdays with Lisa, and she went out and bought cookbooks and tried. And we had just redone the kitchen where when we lived in New Jersey, and she made three things and she had five pots. And I'm going, how does this happen? And they were burned and see, and I'm like, I said, you're done retiring

Drew (00:35:35):
Here out of my kitchen. Yeah.

Chef Dennis (00:35:36):
So she has her friends think, her friends think she did it on purpose.

Drew (00:35:40):

Chef Dennis (00:35:41):
I'm not buying it. But anyway, but she loves to eat and she enjoys. I've made her into a bit of a food snob though. So

Drew (00:35:50):
When you're picking your travels, are you picking it by food or are you picking it by Absolutely.

Chef Dennis (00:35:55):
Are you okay? Absolute. There's countries I don't want to go to because I know I'm not going to eat real well.

And then, and there's certain cuisines. For years I did not like Indian food, and I don't think it was, I didn't like Indian food. I never had good Indian food. And I was in Canada and I had some good Indian food, and I went, this is pretty damn tasty. It was a little spicy, but it was good. So then I tried a few more and I was like, oh, this isn't as bad as I thought. And there's still some cuisines I'm not real up on. I could probably learn to enjoy them given the time. But just based on the amount of time I have to travel, how long can I keep traveling? I'm 60. I'm going to be 66 this year. So do I have another 15, 20 year? I don't know. Whatever God gives me, I will take gratefully. But I want to go places where I know I can see something new and I'm going to eat well. So when all else fails, we go to Italy.

Drew (00:36:56):
Like me, when we were setting this up, and I'm coming over to your house and you said in an email, well, we're having spaghetti and clams. Would you like some? And I'm going, pasta. You don't have to ask. Yeah. So one of the places that I have only just brushed the surface of is Italy. Yeah. I've been to Lake Como and I've been to through the Dolomites, but not really spent enough time there to eat. So I'm flying to Amsterdam and I'm trying to figure out this fall where else I'm going to travel when I go and there's this thing tugging at me saying, you got to go to Italy. You got to go to Italy. And it's, it'll be fall, so it'll be pretty. But the food. So where do you go in Italy? Where's your best place that you've been so far?

Chef Dennis (00:37:51):
Oh, every place I've been is the best place. You know, find wherever you are. And the whole key to eating when you travel is not to eat where the tourist eat. Sometimes you, you're forced to do it, you just, you're too tired, you just can't walk anymore. But you want to look at a restaurant that isn't necessarily have the menu translated into five languages. A lot of 'em will have English menus for you, and they don't always give 'em to you. That's a good sign. If you walk in, they give you an Italian menu. You have to ask for an English menu. That's good. That means that it's, or find places off the beaten track. If it's right in the middle of the tourist area, don't eat there. Well, granted, now you might find some really good food there. I don't want to tell you you're not going to, but you wanted to be more authentic. Number one, it's going to probably be cheaper to eat. We were in Venice and we wandered into this little restaurant where all the ones from the canals, the boats,

Drew (00:38:47):
Yeah, yeah. What would they be? They wouldn't be captains.

Chef Dennis (00:38:51):
No, but the gondolas. The gondolas.

Drew (00:38:54):
Yeah, gondolas. There you go.

Chef Dennis (00:38:56):
Where they were in eating, and so this is because they had to get something quick. They wanted something tasty. Well, this was perfect. Yeah, this was a great place. And it wasn't real expensive. It was fairly quick, and the food was really good. So you want authentic food. It doesn't always have to be super fancy. It doesn't have to have all these sauces and all these decorations, but you want good wholesome ingredients. Food, you can trust food that's going to taste good. It's just anything that inspires you and find something on the menu.

Drew (00:39:26):
So you're not seeking out the Michelin three stars, two stars, one star.

Chef Dennis (00:39:30):
I have eaten in Michelin restaurants, but generally there was one, we were in Chiqua Terra, and there was one everybody wanted to go to. And I says, I do not have three hours to invest in lunch.

Drew (00:39:40):

Chef Dennis (00:39:40):
Okay. Yeah. I just want a four cheese pizza. And there's a picture of me holding up a piece of pizza with a dripping into my mouth. And it was a four cheese pizza that we got in this little stand where it was a little touristy area, but it turned out to be pretty good. So you know, do hit or miss. The worst thing in Italy that you'll do by eating in a touristy area is you'll overpay. And generally you're still going to get some really good food.

Drew (00:40:06):
So do you go by say a TripAdvisor, or do you ask the locals where they eat? How do you find these great off the beaten path restaurants? Well,

Chef Dennis (00:40:16):
One of the best things to do is to ask wherever you're staying. And if you're sharing an air Airbnb, a lot of times they will have lists of restaurants and that they recommend you because they want you to be happy. But in the hotel, you ask the front desk clerk, or maybe you ask the person that's serving you breakfast in the morning, where do you like to eat? They're the people that aren't going to be looking to spend a hundred dollars on dinner. They want something tasty and good and that they can trust and they know it's a good place. So they'll send you to places they like. Yeah, yeah. Or if we were on a tour and the tour guide knew I liked to eat, so she would tell me which restaurants to go to, and sometimes they were just off the beaten path and you would find them. But they were things that the locals had found. TripAdvisor, I haven't used much overseas. I use it a lot in the States, but it's a matter of who's leaving what review. It'll help you narrow down your search or give you an idea.

Drew (00:41:15):
I have found with hotels that you have to learn how the rating system works in terms of first determine what is the level of the hotel, then look at the rating and remember that the rating is probably somebody, if it's a two star hotel that's rating at a five because they stay in two star hotels and they think it's top notch for a two star hotel versus a five star hotel. Is it the same for food then? Basically

Chef Dennis (00:41:44):
It can be and it can be the size of the place. And it with hotels, like in France, they're a two star. If they become a three star, they have to pay more taxes. So they don't want to be a three star. So a lot of times you'll find a place that just doesn't want to get, the chef doesn't want the limelight, he doesn't want all this accolades. He wants them do his job, make good food, keep his customers happy, and live a nice life. When we were in the west coast, we would run into chefs. They worked in la, they worked in Palm Springs, they worked here, and they came back to this little island. We went to Whitby Island. So we left. We couldn't wait to leave, and then we couldn't wait to come back. So now they're doing what they want to do. They're happy. There's less stress in their lives, and they're kind of off the beaten path, and they're very good at what they do. So a lot of times you just find people, I would never be comfortable in a huge restaurant. I would be happier serving 70 dinners a night, 50 dinners a night than serving a thousand with a huge staff. It's just not worth it.

Drew (00:42:53):
So if you could travel, what is another place that you would go there that you've wanted to go, that you haven't been to yet?

Chef Dennis (00:43:01):
Oh, we want to go to Scotland. And we may be doing Scotland this year. We're going to dingle this year for the Dingle Food Fest.

Drew (00:43:08):
Now when are you going? Because I might be there,

Chef Dennis (00:43:09):
That's October.

Drew (00:43:10):
Oh, nope. I'll be there in April. So

Chef Dennis (00:43:12):
Yeah, now we're in May. We're heading off to Greece, which will be our first trip to Greece. I'm really excited about that. And now that I eat lamb, I'm even more excited. Yeah, I, I've become, I eat lamb everywhere now. Really? Okay. Oh yeah. Okay. And I've gone from it, and we were at one place lately, and I says, I'm sorry, but I had to pick the bones up and chew the meat off of them. So that's how good they were. But it's a matter of good fresh ingredients and local ingredients. So whatever and whatever their specialty is, wherever you travel, you need to try it, even if you decide you don't like

Drew (00:43:46):
It. So I got to try haggis. Yeah,

Chef Dennis (00:43:48):
You got to. Yeah. I mean, I remember we were in Amsterdam and we went to the bigger town, nearby the capital.

Drew (00:43:58):
I want to say that all that's come to mind is the Hague. The Hague.

Chef Dennis (00:44:01):
The Hague, yes. We went to The Hague. Yes. Okay. We went to the Hague, and the guy was a friend of a friend in medicine. He took me to where they had the herring and I had to eat a raw fish. And I was not happy. But first of all, I couldn't hold onto it because he kept slipping. But you know what, I had to do it. You're there, you do it.

Drew (00:44:18):
At least it wasn't a live

Chef Dennis (00:44:20):
Pairing. No, no, no. Yeah, no. That would've been a whole, been another fish

Drew (00:44:24):

Chef Dennis (00:44:25):
But you know, yeah, you try it. Maybe you're not going to rush home and start making your own haggis. But yeah, you've tried it like blood sausages or some of these sausages we get in Ireland, you look at 'em and go, I'm not sure, but let me

Drew (00:44:39):
Try it. So what did you think of blood sausage?

Chef Dennis (00:44:41):
They were okay. Yeah,

Drew (00:44:42):
I've heard that there's not a lot of flavor to 'em.

Chef Dennis (00:44:44):
No, most of the sausages there were, okay. When we're in Germany, we got the white

Drew (00:44:51):
Oh, bro. Or brass

Chef Dennis (00:44:52):
Wars. Yeah. Yeah, that

Drew (00:44:53):
Was pretty good. I love bro wash. Yeah,

Chef Dennis (00:44:55):
Yeah, yeah. That was veal. So that was good. So it just depends on how they season things. But again, some kind of those breakfast meats, like a lot countries don't eat breakfast the way Americans eat breakfast. So they'll have cold cuts set out. Right. You would think, well, this isn't lunchtime. Why is there prosci and salami and cheese and a pie Really? Is this breakfast?

Drew (00:45:19):
Yeah. Yeah. That's why I found Czech Republic, man, I love breakfast in the Czech Republic because they set out this grand buffet at even the smaller hotels. I'm going, this is no Hampton Inn. No,

Chef Dennis (00:45:30):

And the whole key, if you do travel overseas and your hotel offers breakfast, book it in advance. Because you, you'll always say, well, no, I'm going to go find a little cafe or a little pastry shop, and maybe you will. But chances are you just want to eat some breakfast. So you can get out and start touring and start seeing things and doing things. And if you buy it in the hotel, it's going to cost you like three or four times as much. But if you add it as part of your room, it's never that much money. It might be $10 a person or something. But if you go down in the morning, you're, you're going to say it's $40 a person. And you go, what?

Drew (00:46:10):
I've been happy. The check hotels I've stayed in. It's just been part intuitive of the, yeah. Yeah. I think I paid 75 US dollars for a wonderful night and a, it's called Hotel Romance. It's in Carlo Vve wonderful hotel. And just this great spread in the morning of breakfast. It's like, man, this is fantastic. Yeah. Well, if you're traveling in the United States, where is would you say the center of food is here?

Chef Dennis (00:46:39):
There are so many wonderful culinary destinations in the United States now. Every large city has definitely become, is coming into their own. Austin is a hotbed. And wherever you travel, the food scene has improved. Minneapolis places you would not think. We went to Huntsville, Alabama. And I'm going, why am I going to Huntsville? Oh my God. Huntsville was freaking awesome.

Drew (00:47:10):
It's all the NASA people there. Right.

Chef Dennis (00:47:12):
And you know what the best part is? They go there because they got to work, but when they retire, they stay because they love Huntsville. So you got all these brilliant rocket scientists doing other businesses and just hanging out and just making life. So they have craft breweries, they have great restaurants, they have the arts. Their campaign for tourism was come to Huntsville. It's about space, space for the arts, space for it was all these different things. And it was like, oh my God. And the people were so friendly and so happy. And it was like talking to one, he goes, I got the best job in the world. I blow shit up every day.

Speaker 4 (00:47:56):

Chef Dennis (00:47:56):
Worked for the military side. Wow. Of the government and their tests and stuff. He goes, yeah, I blow shit up every

Speaker 4 (00:48:02):

Drew (00:48:04):
That's great. That's the best part about traveling for me is this the conversations you would have with people and understanding that we talk about going overseas, but even across the United States, there's so much to experience for

Chef Dennis (00:48:17):
People. Oh, the States is just wonderful. I could travel just here and see, I mean, I've never seen the Grand Canyon. I've never seen the Redwoods. My first real trip to the west coast was last year when we went to Whitby Island. And I could live there except in the winter,

Speaker 4 (00:48:38):

Chef Dennis (00:48:38):
It was so, and the people, everything is just so nice. If you embrace where you are, if you look for the worst where you are, you're going to be happy. But if you have a good time, you talk to people, you're friendly, you try food, you know you get a bad meal. All right, well fine. You're going to get that in your own town where you live, things are going to happen. You just can't dwell on it. So you look for something else, you get a recommendation. And I always give the server two choices. If I go into a restaurant, I say, I was going to order this or this, which should I get? Yeah. And they'll say, no, get that. And he goes, how should I have it prepared? And they'll tell you,

Drew (00:49:16):
Ah, okay.

Chef Dennis (00:49:16):
Okay. So I remember going in one restaurant and the waitress was so pregnant. And I says, what do I want? She said, the fish. I says, how do I want to prepare? She goes, fraud.

Speaker 4 (00:49:26):
I went, oh,

Chef Dennis (00:49:27):
Thank you. That's what I was hoping for. Usually it's blackened or real. Right, right. And she just went, fraud.

Speaker 4 (00:49:36):
I love you.

Drew (00:49:37):
I had a discussion with a guy in a hotel in Frankfurt, and he had ordered his steak rare. Oh yeah. Now, and I'm going, I would order a steak rare. I mean, I like it to be as rare as it can get, but I get nervous about how places are preparing it or the quality of the meat. So he said, well, I always order it rare. Well, when he cut into it and started to eat it, I said, is it rare? He says, no, it's not rare. It's probably medium rare. And I said, I'm guessing that it's medium rare, because even the chef is going, I don't think I want to cook it that rare.

Chef Dennis (00:50:17):
That's possible. We're in France, Lisa eats her meat. Well done. And we were in Paris and she ordered a steak, and I'm going, I don't order a steak. And she sent it back twice. And I said, the chef went back through it. He looked at it and looked at it and said, okay, take it back out. He says he never once cooked it anymore. And I remember that was my first time eating duck breasts. And it was blue. I mean, it was so rare, but it ate so well. Yeah. I mean, it just chewed Well, it tasted good. It was just, and over there you eat raw, like you just said, almost raw meats. And you don't worry right

Drew (00:50:58):
About because they do all the time and nobody's getting sick. No. And they're taking care of their animals. But

Chef Dennis (00:51:03):
Here, we don't know what perversions we have done to the food. And you look at things that just shouldn't get you sick. You can get food poisoning from rice. You can get food poisoning from iced tea. I'm like, well, when the hell did this happen? What have we done? The allergies that we have, well, we put soy in everything. So people are soy allergic. Now, gluten, we've taken the gluten, the wheat grain, and we have perverted it so badly that it doesn't barely resemble the original wheat grain. So everybody's gluten, gluten intolerances. So all these things we have caused because of how we process food, what we do to food in the name of feeding the world and all this, where you go to Europe and you know, can still get eye corn, wheat, which is the original wheat grain. And they don't have any of these issues that we have. And if you want gluten-free there, it's not like it's a big deal. It's like, yeah, everybody's got gluten free. So you find things that they don't even really have the problems for that they're solving and it's not a big deal for them.

Drew (00:52:09):
So in terms of your website and your recipes, how would you describe them? Are they easy for the average person who come in and try to cook? Or do I need to No.

Chef Dennis (00:52:22):
Mean, my philosophy has always been, I do not have all day to spend in the kitchen. Why would I expect someone else to, and I'm trained, I can do things a lot faster than most people, but why would I create something that is going to take me so much time? I mean, I don't want to waste all day. I mean, I'm not a French chef. I do not need, and all these movies you see where the chefs go home and they're preparing all these elaborate dishes with, it's a bunch of crap.

Drew (00:52:50):
Not to life for you.

Chef Dennis (00:52:51):
No, you don't do that. If you're eating, you should see some of the things I eat. If Lisa's not here, because I basically need someone to cook for, I'll make an occasional thing. If I'm crafting a recipe for a blog post, then I'll, and she's not here, I will eat it and I'll make something really good. But generally I need an audience to cook for.

Drew (00:53:11):
So what do you make if you don't have an audience?

Chef Dennis (00:53:13):
Oh, I'll eat cheese sandwiches. Okay. Yeah. I mean, American cheese too. Yeah. It's not even really cheese anymore, they say. But on potato rolls, that has been my go-to for most of my life.

Drew (00:53:27):
So you'll understand my obsession with spaghetti and ragu. Oh yeah. It's just easy.

Chef Dennis (00:53:34):
I make my sauce, but I always have a couple jars because you never know when you're going to need something quick or you know, can make chili with it, you know, can use it for so many different things. So I don't look down on anybody that uses a food. I'm not a food snob. I like good food. I like it to taste good, but I want people to be happy with what they're eating and if that's what you like. When I first met Lisa, I think she had three jars of RA goon and a refrigerator all open, and different stages of mold and her ice cream in her freezer. They had those vitta and they were all covered with ice crystals

Says, how long have they been in here? Because we can't keep ice cream in the house unless it's something I won't eat because I have a three day roll. You want ice cream and it's in there. You have three days to eat something if you want it on the fourth day. I'm telling you, it's probably gone the second day. But people have to eat the way they want to eat to be happy. And whether you're traveling or not, all I tell people is, alright, if that's what you like and that's what you want to eat and you feel safer eating that type of food and you're not adventurous, fine. Enjoy the sites. That's not what you came for then. You didn't come for the culinary. Yeah. The big push on culinary travel now is because everybody knows why you travel to a certain area, because of the attractions, because of the mountains, the lakes or whatever is there that's drawing people.

So now they've drawn people for that. They want to tell people now what they're going to eat, what they're going to experience. Are there craft breweries? Are there distilleries? Yeah. What kind of restaurants is, are there markets that they can go to, the different things that build the city out more besides just, I wrote one post, I remember the first trip with Viking and I had the funniest offhanded comment and I had wrote, and I was ranked as, I'm ranked as I think number 84 of social media influencers in the world. I don't know how that happened, but I am. But at that time, I was actually for some reason ranked number nine for a while, and which blew me away because I didn't belong there first of all. But this guy says, oh my God, I read his post and he was a travel blogger, and he goes, was on the Danube and there was 29 UNESCO sites or whatever, and he didn't mention one of them. All he talked about was the food. And I'm going, well, Sparky, that's why they brought me. Okay. They know all those 29 UNESCO sites are there. Yeah, there's people writing about them all day, but they're not saying, well, this is what I ate here. This is what I got in Vienna.

Drew (00:56:22):
This is you're number nine. Right, because people want food.

Chef Dennis (00:56:26):
Well, and then he said, and then I saw a post he wrote about hot dogs and it was crafted so well, you couldn't even tell it was a sponsored post at first, and he made me want hotdog. So it was kind of an offhanded comment. Right,

Drew (00:56:40):
Right. Yeah. We're the best hot dogs.

Chef Dennis (00:56:43):
Where are the best hot dogs? There was a place in Margate next to Lucy, the elephant that used to have, and I don't think it was the hot dogs so much, it was the pepper hash that they put on them, but you didn't want to go in the beginning of the season because they would just, I don't know how often they change the water, and sometimes you might get a hot dog that'd been in there for a while. So they were the really tasty ones. So here's a chef eating really crap, really bad crap. But the pepper hash would counteract anything bad that might have been going on in the hot dog.

Drew (00:57:14):
I have to tell you, when I lived in Philadelphia, my favorite thing to do in the morning was to go downtown and just go to one of the little street vendors and buy a sausage ho. I mean, just load it up, throw some egg on there. I'm good.

Chef Dennis (00:57:29):
Yeah, as long as there's no visible sores on his body to Right,

Drew (00:57:33):

Chef Dennis (00:57:33):
Yeah, no. And I used to buying pretzels from the guys after concerts until I saw the expose on how they were going into the bathroom and cups. Oh, no. And washing their hands. So then I stopped buying the pretzels after concerts.

Drew (00:57:45):

Chef Dennis (00:57:46):
But no, yeah, street vendors can be really cool sometimes. I remember being in Salt Lake and at a conference and going out and I saw this little teeny little stand, and they were selling tacos for a dollar a piece, and they were small tacos, but still they were all different chorizo, beef, chicken, all these different kinds of tacos. So I'm like, well, I'll have one of those, one of those one those. I'd take five tacos for five bucks. And I'm like, okay, these were really good. So street vendors can give you some really good

Drew (00:58:17):

Chef Dennis (00:58:18):
And I think one of the big problems with eating in a foreign country is just possibly getting something. A lot of times the water's the problem. So what they washed it with in Mexico, it's always the water, was it washed with water or bottled water? But your body's not used to the different water. So that's probably what's going to get you sick more than the food. Not that the food is prepared. And you go into foreign markets sometimes and you just see chickens out on a table. It's like, really? There's not even any refrigeration here. It's like, oh my God, where am I? And you have to remember, well, I'm in someone else's country. Be respectful. Don't be rude, don't be

Drew (00:58:58):
Well. And then the question is, do you still go ahead and eat something once you find out that that's how things are getting treated?

Chef Dennis (00:59:04):
Well, I'm going to hope that whatever a restaurant I go into, the chef is skilled enough to know what is going to make me sick and what isn't right. And I'm going to trust and knock on wood, I don't think I've ever gotten food poisoning in another country. I've never had distress. I've probably had it more here in the States from places that should

Drew (00:59:27):
Be. Right. Better. Yeah. Well, this has been fantastic. We could probably keep chatting and chatting and chatting on this, but it let everybody know how they can follow you and your website and also any social media where they can keep up with

Chef Dennis (00:59:43):
You. Okay, well, I am Ask Chef Dennis. So you can find me@wwwchefdennis.com and on Twitter, on Pinterest, on Instagram, on Facebook, on LinkedIn. I'm Ask Chef Dennis, and then you can also find a new channel. I've started Chef Dennis travels on Instagram and on Facebook. So it's pretty easy. I am my brand. I really got lucky with that part of it.

Drew (01:00:10):
Yeah. Well it's been fantastic talking with you and food is one of those things that I need to pay more attention to. I do pay attention to it. Oh,

Chef Dennis (01:00:19):
We all do.

Drew (01:00:20):
But I, I need to go that extra step and really when I go to a country, I need to pay much more attention to what they're known for and what the locals eat.

Chef Dennis (01:00:33):
Yeah. Don't be afraid to try something. Granted again, you may never eat it again, but at least you can say you tried it. Haggis, haggis. But you know, never know you might really like something or it might give you an idea for something else. Right.

Drew (01:00:49):
Scrape is my thing. Oh, see, when I go to Philly. Yeah. I have to have scrape. Yeah, there you go. Yep. So it happens. It happens.

Chef Dennis (01:00:56):

Drew (01:00:56):
Right. Well thank you very much and thanks for inviting me into your home. I appreciate

Chef Dennis (01:01:00):
This. My pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Drew (01:01:03):
And there closes another week of Travel Fuels Life, and on over to the show notes page, travel fuels life.com/podcasts. Look for episode number 16 and find all the links we have to Chef Dennis's social media, and also you'll find@askchefdennis.com. All those fantastic recipes, things you can do for yourself. And make sure you follow my social media pages for tons of travel content and now Whiskey Stories, and you'll find the links to those and more@travelfuelslife.com and whiskey lore.com. Just look in the upper right hand corner and you'll see all the social media channels that I am on and I would love to have you follow. And until next time, have a great week. Safe travels and thanks for listening to Travel Fuels Life.

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