Chicago-based Chef Brandon Baltzley is a hard-living, recipe-pushing scullery savant who started cooking in the kitchen of a gay bar with his mother when he was only 8 years old. The now 26-year-old founder of Crux, a culinary collective that hosts monthly pop-ups across the Windy City, is opening a restaurant while completing a memoir to be published by Gotham Books. Here, Baltzley put together a list of edible superlatives that includes such pantry staples as Tang and unicorn balls.
1. The perfect music to listen to while chopping onions: That would be Sunny Day Real Estate since the band alone already makes you cry. The onions just add to the effect.
2. The perfect onions to chop while listening to classical music: Shallots. They’re part of the allium family, so that counts, right? Yeah, I say shallots because they take more precision to cut.
3. The non-food equivalent of a tomato: Good weather in Chicago.
4. The non-food equivalent of Tang: Adderall. It’s the same color when you crush it up.
5. A recipe that successfully incorporates Tang: My own personal Tang sorbet: 1000 grams of Tang drink, 500 grams of glucose, 325 grams of simple syrup, 1 gram of xanthan gum, and a pinch of salt. Blend and churn.
6. The most unexpected cupcake ingredient: LSD…?
7. Ingredient with the most cultish following: Sorghum.
8. The most successful combination of sweet and savory in one ingredient: Celery.
9. The least satisfying meal: For me, breakfast. I eat so much right before I go to bed that I’m not hungry in the morning.
10. The most dominant meat: Venison.
11. Heavy metal tastes like: Unicorn testicles.