What is your earliest memory of cooking?
My parents are Danish, so when we moved to Southern California, they entertained frequently as a way of becoming part of the community there. They threw a lot of casual barbeques and backyard parties — I grew up in a house where it wasn't unusual to have 50 for dinner. My parents just loved to have their friends over and make good food and share good times.
Is Danish food still a part of your cooking repertoire?
I actually don't like Danish food! My mom is a great cook, and back in the 70s and 80s when she was throwing all these big events and parties, the food was kind of all in that genre. My mom would also cook comfort food for the family — spaghetti, ribs, things like that. I wish I had this great Italian mother story to tell, but, no, it's Danish. But she is a major part of the reason why I became a caterer — I just like the idea of a party, a gathering of people who are happy to be there. But my food is completely the opposite of Danish food — Danish food is a bunch of cabbage and boiled potatoes, very bland. I am more a fan of Asian and Mediterranean influences, and of Northwest food.
What is your idea of comfort food?
I just like food that is non-fussy and not too over-played-with. I like fresh flavors to come out — good fresh food like a piece of fish with a fresh salsa or sauce, grilled and roasted vegetables. Ravish works with food product that is in season, so it is always fun to see the "new players" show up.
In terms of cooking comfort food for my 8-year-old son, he likes pasta and pizza and grilled-cheese sandwiches like all little boys do. I didn't do a great job of exposing him to "adult" food when he was young — like some friends of mine who fed their kid salmon at three months old. I fed him a pretty generic kid diet, but he's getting more adventurous as he's started to cook with me.
Food or meal you would happily die eating, or, what is your last meal and testament?
I'd have a beef tenderloin with calamari and oysters. Kind of decadent, but if I'm going to die, might as well be fat, right? Maybe a green salad with blue cheese and candied nuts. And I'd also have a brownie sundae. I actually have my whole funeral worked out — I'm half-joking, but not really. And that's pretty much the menu. With some pizza on the side, for my husband.
How does your family honor food traditions in your household?
I love to cook, and I don't get to do it as much in my day job as I used to, because I have a team and two chefs who do most of the food preparation. So I am always looking for an excuse to have people over to cook on Sundays, which are my days off. When we're hanging out Sunday morning, the question always comes up: "Who are you going to call for dinner tonight?" I like to do shish kebabs on the grill — I'll prepare different kinds of marinated meats and vegetables, and let guests assemble them themselves. No one wants to see the host sweating and being in the kitchen the whole time.
Who first taught you how to cook?
My mom cooked all of the meals at home, and when I went to college I mostly ate dorm food. After college I went to the Seattle Culinary Academy to gain confidence working in a commercial kitchen, because it's different — everything is bigger, and there's equipment you don't usually use in your house.
When I started cooking after college, I really didn't know what I was doing. I learned by making mistakes and by watching other caterers or by serving in restaurants. I don't like to follow recipes very much, so I guess you'd say I have a knack for improvisation.
What is your favorite dish or meal to cook?
I am really into curry right now, and have been making stir-fry of tofu and vegetables and coconut milk. I am trying to eat healthier, too, so am eating more chicken, less red meat. Even though I could live off pig... Love bacon, love a good pork shoulder... Pig is my downfall, I think.
If you could invite anyone to your holiday dinner — living, dead, or imaginary — who would it be?
My grandmother, Harriet. She was an amazing gal who loved life, food, art, and fun. I strive to be like her every day.
Lisbet Mielke's Pulled Pork Sliders with Apple Cabbage Slaw
Yield: 16-20 sliders
2 yellow onions
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 tsp. sugar or honey
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
In sauce pan, heat oil and add onions on low heat until
softened. Add sugar and balsamic vinegar and cook down
for another 3-5 minutes
1 cup ketchup
1 cup water
1 cup apple cider vinegar
Combine ingredients in a bowl.
Brioche buns or any miniature sandwich roll/dinner roll.
1/2 head cabbage (red or green) chopped
1 apple (chopped)
2/3 cup vinegar
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
3-4 lbs. Pork Shoulder
Place pork in slow cooker with salt and pepper for 6-8 hours. Trim
any visible fat. Cool and pull apart with fork. Combine the
BBQ Sauce and onions with pork. Fill each bun with pork
mixture and top with dollop of slaw.