When we say Chef Brad Miller has chops in the kitchen, we mean it. The former Inn of the Seventh Ray chef and Food Network regular is already making waves in Santa Monica with his latest restaurant, Ox & Son. Named after his dad, Gary “Ox” Miller, a Chicago-based butcher who taught Miller the ropes in the butcher shop from age 15, Chef Miller knows how to make Los Angeles kale lovers whimper with dishes like Sticky Pig Cheeks and Black Rice and Chicken Fried Duck Confit. We asked him some of our favorite food questions, below, because we’re starving.
1. What’s an underrated food city and why?
I think L.A is pretty underrated still. NYC, CHI, D.C, S.F and Portland are all huge in the food scene right now. But L.A is now a force to be reckoned with in the food scene. We have such great cultural influences out here: Thai, Mexican, Japanese, etc. Pair that with local seafood, farmer’s market produce and some amazing classically trained chefs and you can’t help but take notice. We are the next brigade of chefs that take risks and believe that if it tastes good, serve it.
2. What food/food trend are you tired of?
I want to start out by saying I LOVE BACON. Bacon was a gift given to us from the pig god’s. And we must treat it as a most holy relic. But yes, I’m going to have to say bacon. It’s become a gimmick now. Bacon tastes great and is very versatile but come on with all the bacon stuffed bacon, bacon, bacon. Actually all this talk about bacon makes me want some bacon…can I change my answer to Kale? Yes, let’s go with Kale.
3. How do you feel about Yelp?
I could give you a nice long diatribe about Yelp, or I could tell you that it actually helps us with the restaurant and it makes us better. But we’ve all heard both sides. I just wish there was a way to rate users on Yelp like Uber does. I’m a firm believer in constructive criticism but some people get pretty raw on there. It’s actually kind of great sometimes. I never knew people could get so upset over the littlest things…then again we are in L.A. I’m not too worried. I don’t think this Internet thing is going to take off.
4. If your kitchen is burning down, what’s the one gadget you save?
Not so much a gadget but something that can’t be replaced. I would grab my recipe book that I’ve had for about 13 years. It has recipes, drawings and ideas in it that can’t be replaced. I should transfer them to my computer…but who has the time.
5. Your guilty pleasure food?
Pizza all the way, but not just any pizza my friends. I have tried them all: Fancy Pizza, New York City and Chicago styles…all of them pale in comparison to a Frozen Supreme Tombstone Pizza. There is nothing better than popping one in the oven after a 16-hour shift or a rough night out on the town. WARNING: Both the 16-hour shift and the rough night out will lead to you waking up smelling smoke, and your delicious Tombstone has perished. But you will stand over it and contemplate for a minute about eating it.
6. If you could cook for one person—who would it be?
Hands down, my Grandfather. My Grandfather passed away while I was in Culinary School. He reminds me of what it’s like to be a real man. He fought in a war, built his own house, was incredibly spiritual, was a philanthropist, could fix his own car, loved his family and was a genuinely great human. He would love my style of cooking!
7. Name five ingredients that are always in your pantry?
Smoked paprika, fish sauce, soy sauce, miso and something fermented. We always have a batch of kimchi, brusselkraut or another concoction a brewin’.
8. What’s the one mistake most amateur chefs make?
Not learning the basics first. A lot of young chefs want to make plates look pretty and use their brand new tweezers. But when you ask them to cook a perfect steak or classic sauce they can’t. I try to preach technique and flavor first, then we’ll figure out what its going to look like.
9. What’s the best advice you ever received?
“Don’t burn bridges.” Basic but profound. If you follow this advice from 16 to 96 life will open up. This applies to work and everyday relationships. Just be a good person no matter how bad you want to kick or scream. A lot of this industry is eating shit and saying it’s delicious. In the end it makes you stronger and happier!