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Chef David Stemmle

My Food Stance

"I love food and wine.  I consume them every day in varying qualities and quantities, and I kinda like it that way.  I believe there is a place for cheap wine and crappy food in our lives — but all things in moderation, the cheap and crappy should be tempered with the sophisticated and expensive when circumstances allow.  It is likewise nice to sometimes drink a lot and sometime drink a little.  I like to think about how my impressions of the wine change with my mental acuity."

"Though I will eat almost anything, I am scared of factory-farmed meats and do my best to pick up meat from like-minded producers at my local farmers market, then supplement with fresh produce throughout the week from the local stores.  (For the record, I have a Whole Foods around the corner and several big box grocery chains within 5 miles.)"

"There are some foods that I really try to buy organic: milk, peanut butter, and potatoes. This comes from an article in the New York Times about choosing your organic battles."

"I think that the processed food industry is killing us.  While I appreciate its conceptual efficiency, I mistrust its sick corporate oligarchical posture, its aggressive marketing to the easily influenced (children and uninformed people) and its "bottom line" approach for food and its science.  The true "bottom line" is life.  And hydrogenated oils (which are altogether unnecessary) and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS, again, unnecessary) are literally killing people.  That sucks."

"My cooking style is improv based.  My goal is to use what I have to make something interesting.  I rarely use recipes except for inspiration.  I think that once you have a set of fundamentals, it frees you up to express yourself in the kitchen.  I usually aim for this basic formula: protein+starch+veg+sauce=meal.  Certainly I go to the store sometimes to buy specific things for a meal I have in mind, but that is the exception rather than the rule."

"The importance of sauce cannot be overstated; it accentuates successes, it hides mistakes, and it provides color, body, and wow."

I believe that food and wine are intrinsically linked, and I hope to use this forum to discuss this in the future.  I confess this about my wine knowledge: I am the man who is wise enough to know how little he knows.  I work on my palette whenever I have the chance, and enjoy every opportunity to do so even more when I can share it with others.  I hope this can be an extension of that education.

My Kitchen Staples


  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Peanut Oil
  • Vinegars: Cider, Red Wine, White Wine, Balsamic, Rice
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sherry
  • Dry White and Red Wines in Box (for cooking)

Herbs and Spices:

Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Fennel Seeds (my current favorite), Mustard Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Cumin Seeds, Curry, Cayenne, Smoked Paprika, Five Spice, Herbs de Provence, Bouquet Garni (the last two are blends from Penzey's Spices), and many more...

In Cans & Jars:

  • Beans: Black, Great Northern White, Garbanzo, Refried
  • Vegetables: Corn (I like the "Summer Crisp"), Tomatoes, Roasted Red Peppers, Chipotles in Adobo

In Bottles (in the Refrigerator):

  • Any kind of hot sauce I can find, but my all time fave is Texas Pete.  It seems to me that there are three basic kinds of hot sauce: vinegar and pepper (like Tobasco), pepper and vinegar (like Texas Pete), habenero/carrot/onion (like Melinda's)
  • Hoisin Sauce (also a current favorite), Sriracha, Mayo, Ketchup, many mustards but especially Dijon, Worchestershire, Minced Garlic, Ground Ginger

In Tubes (in the Refrigerator):

  • Tomato Paste
  • Sun Dried Tomato paste (current favorite)
  • Hot Pepper Paste

In Cannisters:

White rice, brown rice, pearled barley, couscous (small and Israeli), red and green lentils, quinoa, grits, dried pastas, flour, sugar, brown sugar

In the Freezer:

  • Homemade stocks and broths from chicken, pork, beef, fish bones, etc.
  • Peas
  • Edemame
  • Filo dough
  • Puff pastry (hard to find without hydrogenated oils)
  • Frozen juices (great for sauces)