Chef Todd Fisher Explores America One Bite at a Time
Chef Todd Fisher is a native San Franciscan and fifth-generation Californian whose first kitchen gig was at a neighborhood Chinese restaurant when he was 15.
These days, he's hosting Destination America's United States of Food (Sunday, 10pm) - a fun, light-hearted tour of America's best eats. In the years in between, he was chef at some of America's best restaurants, like Montrio on the Monterey peninsula and the Stillwater Bar & Grill in Pebble Beach.
Chef Todd spoke with TVFirstLook about his show, American food and being inducted into the Tomato Fest Hall of Fame.
TVFirstLook: Why the United States of Food?
Chef Todd Fisher: It's where we live and it's a beautiful country that so many people really don't get to see. The places that people know are the big tourist spots. We'll go to some of those but we'll also go to the other parts of the United States that people don't get to see.
TVFirstLook: OK, so you must have a pretty good idea of what American food. What is it?
Chef Todd: When you say American food, people think, "Hamburger." Period. But American food is everything. We're a huge melting pot of other cultures. We do it all.
My style of food I call "Bold American Cooking." That means everything from steaks, chops, burgers, pastas and fish. That's one of the beautiful things about America. We've got it all.
TVFirstLook: United States of Food is your first TV show. How'd you go from chef to TV star?
Chef Todd: This is my first foray into television, although I have wanted to do it for a long time. I sold my restaurants about four years ago. I didn't make a hard line to TV, but it was something I wanted to do. Living a dream is a nice place to be.
And I love being in front of the camera. My wife thinks I'm crazy. For me, sharing the things I experience is something I have done my whole life. As a chef, I'm all about the experience. I often go out into the dining room to talk to guests and share with them why I cooked something a certain way.
Now, I'm sharing experiences with food that don't just come out of my kitchen.
TVFirstLook: Your show debuts this weekend. What can viewers expect to see?
Chef Todd: People will experience a high-energy, fun show where they share interactions with chefs and customers. As a chef for 23 years, I demystify cooking. And people will see a cross section of America.
In the bacon episode, we'll show everything from a sandwich, a one-pound bacon BLT, to a guy who makes something he calls Millionaire Bacon, which he spends five hours cooking. It's incredible.
The first episode is about bacon because everyone has some vision of what bacon means to them, whether your mouth is watering over a campfire or the bacon burger you make at home. And it's my favorite thing to eat.
TVFirstLook: OK, last thing, you're one of the few people in the world who can say, "I've been inducted into the Carmel Tomato Fest Hall of Fame." How'd that happen?
Chef Todd: It's years of being at the event. I was one of the first chefs invited. You take an heirloom tomato and create a dish around it. You need to create something fantastic. And it didn't hurt that I never shied away from jumping on stage and singing a few songs.