Occupation: Chef/owner of D-Spot (705 N. Century Ave., Maplewood; 651-730-7768; eatatdspot.com)
What did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be in music. I used to be in the Phantom Drum Corps in high school.
What was your first job in food? Peeling shrimp at the Riviera Restaurant, which was across from the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. I was 14 but had facial hair; that's why they hired me.
How did you wind up opening D-Spot? No one was doing what I wanted to do - creative wings and burgers. Just because you love food doesn't mean you have to open a fancy restaurant.
Among your 60 wings, what's the one you are most proud of? The black widow - it was my first baby. I created it when I was at Butcher Block in Minneapolis. It's made with a soy simple syrup and house-made jerk rub with nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice. I added a little cracked fennel, a hint of sambal and honey for a beautiful sheen. It has everything - salty, savory and sweet.
What's your favorite spice these days? Scorpion Trinidad, a hot chile pepper that registers 1.4 million on the heat scale. If you're a hot-wing enthusiast, this is it.
What's something few people know about you? That I truly love bees. I want to buy a house and colonize bees and rent them out. I don't want to make a profit off them. Our bee population is dying, and we need bees. That's the whole goal of having my own business.
What culinary trend do you wish would die? Cordon Bleu. Anyone can cook. We should go back to the old school and let people specialize in certain things and get to know where products come from.
What's something in your career that you wish you had done differently? I wish I had started earlier and been more informed about what is truly out there.
What's your favorite restaurant? 112 Eatery in Minneapolis. I love chef/owner Isaac Becker. I could eat his food all day long. Plus, his place stays open later, and he's really cool.
If someone were to play you in a movie, who should it be? It would have to be Johnny Depp - not for the looks but for his twisted demeanor. I'm a little twisted individual.
What's the weirdest food you've ever eaten? Braised pig snout.
What's next? Opening this pizza and wings joint (on Burns Avenue near Ruth Street in St. Paul), and then I'm trucking to Dinkytown. When that happens, I want beer to be involved with the wings. They just go great together.