Alex Stupak, a 2013 Food & Wine Best New Chef, is the chef/owner of Empellon Cocina and Empellon Taqueria in New York City.
1. One thing you don’t know about me is that I’m a crazy cat person. I love my cats and talk to them as if they are humans. I also have a painted portrait of each in my restaurants.
2. I would not trade places with any chef, but there are many chefs I look up to including Albert Adria, Rick Bayless, Grant Achatz and Wylie Dufresne. I hold all those people as personal models for different reasons.
3. One of my most memorable meals was at La Teca in Oaxaca, Mexico. I ordered a degustation menu that changed my life. If I ever serve a tasting menu, that meal will be a huge influence.
4. If there was no shellfish, I’d have no reason to live. I’m from New England and I was weaned on mollusks and crustaceans.
5. My go-to drink is mezcal, neat.
6. If I were on death row my last meal would be al pastor tacos.
7. My worst culinary creation was the first stir fry I ever made. I was 9 or 10 years old. It had no garlic or ginger. Not good at all.
8. If I could change one thing about me it would be how I sleep. Annoyingly, I am a very heavy sleeper. If I don’t set an alarm I can go for 12 hours just fine.
9. My favorite junk food is Sour Patch Kids.
10. If I wasn’t a restaurant operator, I’d love to be an architect and designer.