An Exclusive Interview with Unilever Food Solutions Corporate Chef, Rudy Smith
Up next in our FSD Chef Series, Unilever Food Solutions Corporate Chef, Rudy Smith, lets us in on where and how he gets inspiration, some of his favorite "go-to's" and more!
Read his answers and try out his Top Recipe Pick!
Q1: What is your "go-to" ingredient?
May sound simple but it’s salt and pepper. Too often you get a beautiful plate of food… and it has no flavor – it was not seasoned. When used properly, salt and pepper bring out the natural flavors of the foods without making the dish taste salty or too spicy.
Q2: Where do you get your inspiration?
From the food. When I see an ingredient or a dish it immediately inspires me to something. I almost always start with an ingredient or two and build a dish because of those, rather than start with a dish and then decide what to put in it.
Q3: Sweet or savory?
Q4: Comfort foodie or innovator?
Innovating the classics, whether they be comfort food or not. Example: Lobster Wellington.
Q5: Weirdest non-food thing about you?
Not weird but different. I lived outdoors in a small, homemade TeePee in the mountains around Aspen, Colorado for 3 years while working as the Chef of a very fine dining restaurant.
Q6: Favorite way to unwind?
In the summer, get on my motorcycle and ride. In the winter – just go for a hike.
Chef Rudy's Recipe Pick
Asparagus and Morel Mushroom with Chicken Soup
6 oz. Yellow onions – small dice
½ oz. Dried morel mushrooms (or 4 oz. fresh - sliced)
4 oz. Red bell pepper – small dice
1 lb. Pulled rotisserie chicken meat
10 oz. Fresh asparagus – cut ½"
1 oz. Fresh chives – cut fine
If using dried morels, soak in warm water until soft – drain and slice.
Sweat onions in a small amount of oil until translucent.
Add red pepper and mushrooms and sauté for 3 minutes
Bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Add asparagus and simmer until tender.
Add chives and serve!
About Chef Rudy
Rudy Smith is corporate chef for Unilever Food Solutions, Lisle, Ill. Previously he was general manager for The Getaway (now the Plaza Grille), Pagosa Springs, Colo., and executive chef at Krabloonik Restaurant, Snowmass Village, Colorado.
He graduated with high honors and first in his class with an associate degree in culinary arts from The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), Hyde Park, N.Y., in 1986.
He has also taught at the CIA, as well as in Brazil and Mexico. In 2000, Smith earned three gold medals and a silver medal at Hotelympia in London, and a silver medal at the IKA. He is a member of American Culinary Federation (ACF) National Chapter.