Q&A With Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish

Q: Eating as a family and cooking as a family can really be its own tradition. How have the traditions of your upbringing influenced your craft?

Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish: I grew up in a family with two working parents. We didn’t spend too much time in the kitchen cooking. Our common bond was how much we all loved to go out to eat; it was a chance to get away (And not do dishes). Cooking for us was about the microwave.

Q: Sunday dinner can be defined by the marrying of food and the marrying of family. What dishes tie things together for you? What are the staples that bring everyone to your table?

AG: Any dish that we all eat from collectively ties us together. Even a simple pizza from which everyone fights for that last piece or the crockpot everyone tried to scoop the best items from.

Q: Twenty years ago, the Food Network looked very different. Do you think that the rise in food-culture and food-social media brought more families to the table on Sunday or apart?

AG: I think it’s actually the opposite. Sundays are a chance to get out and try all the places you have been drooling over for a week on IG or FB.

Q: How do your choices for Sunday dinner differ from the dishes on special occasions and holidays?

AG: They need to be quick meals. It’s one night to get ahead of the week. For the holidays, it’s all about spending the day in the kitchen eating, picking and making cocktails.

Q: How does Sunday dinner differ from season to season? And what are your favorite seasons when it comes to the produce available?

AG: Sunday dinners are always the best in the winter when the sun goes down early, everyone is more inclined to stay inside, and you can cook a one-pot meal that requires mashed potatoes.

Q: If you had a time machine and got to witness how family and friends made Sunday dinner 50 years ago, what do you think we’d see? How has it changed?

AG: I think they would actually sit at the table as opposed to in front of a TV or screen. In addition, there would be a lot more lard. But seriously, less frenetic, fast-paced and rushed.


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