Adam Yeager is a Tucson native and executive chef of Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar (River location). He started early here in town, making that other daily publication in the first grade as a "Little Chef." He attended Cook Street School of Fine Cooking in Colorado, and ultimately decided just to jump into the flourishing Colorado culinary industry. When his hankering for working with the best seafood possible, became too much to bear, he moved to Seattle, where he worked at the famed, Oyster House. Chef Adam moved back to his his hometown, Tucson and headed up the Hidden Valley Inn Steakhouse. Chef has worked for Fox Restaurant Concepts now for five years, including a previous stint at his current Zin Burger Locale and as an Executive Sous Chef at Bianco. He also had a hand in opening Culinary School Drop Out in Las Vegas. (Very fitting, I must say!) Check out Chef Adam's food at Zin Burger, and his answers to the 9 On The Line, below:
—C.J. Hamm, firstname.lastname@example.org
What was the first dish you had that changed your perspective on food?
Salmon tartar. Growing up, the thought of eating raw proteins terrified me. It wasn't until culinary school, when I was "forced" to try it, that I realized I was missing out on so many flavors and textures by limiting my palate. This experience opened my eyes and gave me the courage to try any food at least once.
What are you eating these days?
Seafood. If it's from the ocean, I will eat it. Raw or cooked, I have never had any seafood I haven't loved.
What was the first dish you remember cooking?
Ramen Noodles. As the oldest of 4, I grew up in a family where both of my parents had to work late to provide for such a large family. My love of cooking first blossomed when I would cook with my brothers and try to come up with different and exciting ways to cook ramen noodles. Some were great successes, others were epic failures. Either way, it was always an adventure.
What concept, ingredient or food trend does everyone seem to love, but you just can't stomach?
The Paleo Diet. I love dairy and grains far too much to get behind this fad.
What chef, with us or passed on, would you most like to cook or eat dinner with?
Anthony Bourdain. Hands down! Like Chef Bourdain, I love to travel and eat as much local food as possible when doing so. If you have read any of his books you know he has a bit of a wild side. How fun would that dinner table conversation be.
What city, other than Tucson, is your favorite place to eat?
Los Angeles. Every time I travel there I have to try a new restaurant and they have plenty. Recently, I tried a restaurant called ANIMAL. If you like to try new and extreme dishes I highly recommend it.
Speaking in junk food terms, what is your favorite guilty pleasure?
Beef Jerky. Once I open a bag, the likelihood of me not finishing it is slim to none.
Top three Tucson restaurants?
King Fisher, North, Café Poca Cosa
With a figurative electric chair in your immediate future, what is your last meal?
Well since you asked, surf and turf. Raw oysters on the half shell with all the fix 'ins. Medium rare prime rib with straight horseradish and lobster tail accompanied with garlic mashed potatoes and gravy.