ChefQ6: Chef Kristopher McGowan from The Local Taco in Greenville
Greenville has been abuzz over the fare at The Local Taco since the joint opened mid-December just off August Street. I popped in to check out the fish tacos (of course) and to see what the hype was all about a few days after they opened. The Mexi Tater Tots, margarita, and two tacos I ordered knocked my socks off. Wanna read more about my tasty adventure? Go here. Chef Kris was busy in the kitchen when I stopped by, but was nice enough to agree to play ChefQ6 with us. I’m ready for another taco trip. Anyone up for lunch?
ChefQ6: Chef Kris McGowan from The Local Taco
How did you come to be a chef? I became a chef like most people of my generation, and those that preceded me, quite by accident. I was in school at The University of South Carolina, and working my way through college. I took random jobs at local restaurants, doing prep work, washing dishes, and just trying to be a positive presence in the kitchen. I was young, I was green, and I had no clue what I was doing, but then I hit a lucky break when a line cook called out and I got my first shot at cooking. As it turned out, even though I was a newbie, and in way over my head, I had an ability to keep up, and not get frazzled. The Kitchen Manager, liked that about me and gave me a promotion. From there my wife and I spent a few years relocating with her job, I started to build up a lot of experience running kitchens and developing my craft.
The kitchen tool or ingredient you can’t live without (besides the basics and your knives). Fresh, undisturbed food. I grew up in Southern Greenville County, and my granddad was a farmer. The one thing I love most about the area where we live is the abundance of fresh local produce. I buy local, I shop local, and I live local. I have lived in other areas of the country where this just is not possible, but here in Greenville, SC. the market is flooded with local farmers who want nothing more than to sell you there products at a great rate.
What is the first thing you learned to make well? Well, in high school, both of my parents worked a lot, and I played soccer 24/7. So I learned to make omelettes when I was about 14. The eggs were great for protein, and the ease of clean up meant my parents didn’t have to do any fussing about my messes.
What is your go-to cookbook? Easy one. The Joy of Cooking, 75th Anniversary Edition. Simply the greatest cookbook ever printed.
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever served? Grilled Swordfish with Strawberry and Jalapeno Salsa. Honestly, I don’t like going out of my comfort zone (all be it a rather large comfort zone), but I tried something different one day, and got a very positive response.
What is the strangest thing in your home fridge? Well my family is kinda adventurous when it comes to food, but all in all we stock the staples. However, the kids love charcuterie plates, so you will always find an assortment of cured meats, and really good cheeses. We make pizza at home 2 or 3 times a week, so you will always find great pizza toppings as well, i.e. sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and lots of fresh basil for pesto.