Title: Founder and Food Maker Wally's Food Company
Hometown: Vancouver, Canada
1. What made you decide to start a gourmet food/delivery company?
My inspiration was my love for food and for business. My previous life was as an investment banker on Wall Street, Hong Kong and San Francisco. After doing that for a while, I spent a year trying to figure out what made me happy and it was both of those things.
I've always had a positive experience of food in the home and living in New York I got to take clients out to dinner in nice places and it informed my palate about what's good and what's not. I've always been around food, my mom is a great chef and so is my brother. He went to the California Culinary Academy here in San Francisco and I went to Le Cordon Bleu in London.
2. What was your favorite meal as a child?
My mother makes the most unbelievably good egg drop soup. It has peas, egg, ground beef, chicken stock, parsley, cilantro. It's very simple, but to this day it's what I want when I go home.
3. What's your philosophy towards cooking?
It's very simple I believe in using fresh ingredients, treating them with respect, not trying to mask them with a bunch of seasoning or foams, just using fresh seasonal ingredients and letting the ingredients come through.
4. What's your favorite item on the menu?
The Molten Chocolate Cake. It took us months to get it right. It was a complicated challenge because you have to cook it to the right degree, have it look good, keep well in the fridge and reheat properly with the center remaining "molten". But now everyone loves it.
5. What are your favorite cookbooks?
I love looking at The French Laundry Cookbook and reading about what Thomas Keller does. I wouldn't necessarily cook from it but the thought behind it and the science of what he does is very interesting to me. I also enjoy the Aquavit cookbook. I appreciate what Marcus Samuelsson does artistically, especially with Winter vegetables. He does interesting plating techniques too. I have Chez Panisse Fruit and Vegetables and I like getting the history and seasonality in addition to the recipes.
It's not a cookbook, but Harold McGee's reference book On Food and Cooking. I was an engineer so I always like science in addition to the artistry of cooking.