Growing up in an immigrant family, Navy had his first cooking experience with a box of Mac & Cheese.

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Navy is a Texan, baker and animator

Get to know Navy in this cook Q&A, and get his “Donburi (rice bowl)” this SATURDAY (3/3) and SUNDAY (3/4) on Shmeal! Follow Navy on Insta @mynameisnavy!

Q. How did you first learn to cook?

Navy: Born to an immigrant family, you’re often limited to what foods you can eat. My parents didn’t know how to cook American food, and that’s something I craved as a kid. I was maybe 9 or 10 when I convinced my mom to let me try. So we picked up a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese, and I followed the directions on the box, and that was the beginning of my love affair with the kitchen. I let my creativity and curiosity spawn from that experience.

Donburi (rice bowl)
Navy’s “Donburi (rice bowl) *vegetarian option available.” Sushi rice with a dashi gravy and caramelized onions, shio koji marinated chicken thigh, marinated soft-boiled egg, assorted veggies and pickles, furikake. *Vegetarian version with sautéed shiitake, omits dashi.*

Q. What’s your favorite food memory?

Navy: Moving to New York from Texas and having my first (of many a) lox bagel.

Shrimp and GritsNavy’s “Shrimp and Grits.”

Q. Do you have a specialty or a favorite style to cook?

Navy: I enjoy cooking Asian food; there’s so much variety. But growing up in Texas, I am well versed in Tex-Mex and southern comfort food. Sometimes I like to combine cuisines into something new.

Navy’s “Mok gai (steamed chicken in banana leaf)”

Q. Anything else we should know about you and your cooking?

Navy: I also really love to bake. People think it’s rigid, that you can’t deviate from the recipes, but I experiment all the time! You just have to do the research and make smart replacements or additions based on how each ingredient behaves during the baking process.

Navy’s “Plum clafoutis,” a delicious plum dessert.

Q. What’s your best cooking tip?

Navy: Umami is everywhere. Take advantage of replacing basic ingredients like water or milk or salt or vegetable oil in recipes with things like condensed soups, harissa/tomato paste, anchovies, bouillon paste, nut oils, fat drippings.

Navy’s cooking “Donburi (rice bowl)” SATURDAY (3/3) and SUNDAY (3/4) in Uptown! Get your request in and follow him to see what he makes next!

By Shmeal

The Shmeal Team. 🐖💻

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