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Andy Ricker

Interview

What is your ideal office?

 

A shophouse facing a beach, with a kitchen studio in the back and a couple of cats lurking around.

 

Is New York your city?

 

Nah, it ain’t anybody’s city. It’s more the other way around, but I am beginning to understand it a bit better.

 

What idea has made a remarkable impression on you?

 

That one can figure out how to do most things by actually doing them.

 

What is your most treasured belonging?

 

I don’t own anything that I would consider to be treasure. Years of traveling and living out of a backpack taught me the value of going light. I do own the property where Pok Pok in Portland is located, that is probably my most valuable possession, if not treasured.

 

What is a career highlight that stands out to you?

 

Not going out of business my first year of owning Pok Pok!

 

If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?

 

Tugboat captain.

 

When have you made the wrong decision?

 

Too many times to count. Luckily I’ve made enough right decisions to get as far as I have.

 

What grosses you out?

 

Racist, sexist, homophobic right wing freaks. And natto, never liked that stuff. Crunchy and slimy. 

 

Who would you come back as in your next life?

 

My cat Jamuk. He is a badass mofo and will have more fun in his short life than most humans will in their long tenure. And he doesn’t even have balls. He also apparently feels no pain, and fluffs up like he stuck his tail in an electrical socket whenever he eats fish, he loves it so much.

 

You’re hosting a dinner party for Office—what’s on the menu?

 

Ju pa bao—Macanese pork chop buns—and beer. Lots of beer.

 

Who in your industry has had the biggest impact on you?

 

David Thompson of Nahm, if you want to talk recognizable names. Incredible friend, mentor and fantastic example of a chef’s chef. But really it’s all the cooks and shop owners in Thailand and Southeast Asia that I have met, cooked with and whose establishments I’ve eaten at.

 

Would you ever try your hand at another style of cuisine?

 

As a restaurant owner? Probably not—tried it before and it made my brain hurt. But I love Yucatán food.

 

How does the coast-to-coast lifestyle work for you?

 

I get on a plane with a computer bag—I have underwear in every city I do business in—and fly back and forth, and around and around. My life is pretty much the same wherever I am. I’m mostly in LA right now. Things should even out a bit next year, and I’d eventually like to spend more time in Thailand.

 

How would you like to be remembered?

 

With more hair than I currently have. 

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