Tastemaker Gene Kato - Executive Chef at Momotaro

"Being a professional cook, you are always looking for the best quality, consistency and brands that you can trust. So, when I shop to cook, I go to Mariano's."

Q: Where is your hometown?

A: Charlotte, North Carolina

Q: What neighborhood do you live in and which Mariano's do you frequent?

A: I live in the South Loop and frequent the South Loop Mariano's

Q: What food is your guilty pleasure?

A: Oreos

Q: What is the last meal you ate?

A: Please don't judge me, this was because of my son's late soccer camp... Jet's Pizza with buffalo wings and Caesar salad.

Q: What is your favorite ingredient to use while cooking?

A: Salt

Q: Whose cooking are you most inspired by?

A: I feel that taking inspiration from another chef is, somewhat, a form of copying another chef's cooking. That's personal to each chef, but I do get inspired by other chefs' philosophies, and for me that is Joël Robuchon. The most important philosophies that he goes by, which is very important to me and my cooking, is that, "The greatness of a chef measured by one's ability to work magic with the simplest of ingredients."

Q: What would your last meal on Earth be?

A: A bowl of Japanese steamed rice.

Q: What's your go-to condiment?

A: As of right now, for anything spicy, Gringo Bandito Hot Sauce.

Q: What's your favorite beverage (non-alcoholic or alcoholic)?

A: My favorite beverage, as everyone at Momotaro would know, is our Ginger Beer.

Q: What is the only thing you can't leave a Mariano's without buying?

A: Slices of sharp cheddar cheese, which my dog loves. It's his treat.

Q: What's your favorite dessert?

A: Apple Pie à la Mode

Q: What's your favorite fresh ingredient?

A: Heirloom tomatoes

Q: what product are you obsessed with?

A: Happy Egg Co. Eggs