If we were forced to live on a desert island and could only take one chef with us (because why not), Jeremy Fox of Los Angeles’s Rustic Canyon would be pretty high on our list of victims, I mean chefs. The Southern-bred chef (who learned to cook at 19, and whom Food & Wine named “Best New Chef” in 2008) is at the forefront of Los Angeles’ culinary makeover, and he is making it look mighty tasty. His market-driven cuisine at Rustic Canyon has made a neighborhood restaurant a citywide destination, which means people might be pretty sad when we take him with us. So you might as well enjoy his friendly banter with us, below, while you can.

1. What’s an underrated food city and why?
Los Angeles, still. But it’s getting really good.

2. What food/food trend are you tired of?
Smoked everything.

3. How do you feel about Yelp?
It’s great for a business’ address and hours of operation.

4. If your kitchen is burning down, what’s the one gadget you save?
My phone charger.

5. Your guilty pleasure food?
All fast food, but I really try to be good now.

6. If you could cook for one person—who would it be? Sandy Koufax. Oh wait, I already did. Guess I’m done.

7. What are five ingredients that are always in your pantry?
Olive oil, butter, salt, lemon, black pepper…it’s not sexy, but it works.

8. What’s the one mistake most amateur chefs make?
Not using salt properly—either not enough or all at the end of the process.

9. What’s the best advice you ever received?
It doesn’t matter what your message is, or whether or not you’re right, but if you don’t deliver it properly, nobody will give a shit.