Featured Austin Food Blogger: Metropo Chris
Blogs like Metropo Chris are why people start taking pictures of their food.
As a photographer and writer for Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, Chris understands what it takes to make food (and everything else) look good, really good. It’s hard not to drop everything and make, eat, or go to the places Chris takes photos of. With the perfect angle, light and descriptive summaries, Metropo Chris is where you turn when you need inspiration. Whether you’re a food blogger yourself, or appreciate the burgeoning movement of foodies– stop by Chris’ blog and you won’t be able to get food off the brain.
How did you discover your love of food or writing?
I really didn’t gain a love for food until I moved to Austin – about 6 years ago. I think the combination of being right-aged (old enough to appreciate culture and the arts) and moving to Austin in the middle of a bit of a food renaissance helped me discover the passion that is a big part of who I am today.
As for the writing, that joy wasn’t discovered until much later – a little over a year and a half ago. And it happened rather serendipitously, when I casually applied to an open tech writing position for Apartment Therapy – a national lifestyle / interior design blog. After I got a phone call saying the position was mine, weekly deadlines and a regular audience fueled my new creative outlet that involved photography, writing, and gaining regular inspiration from some of the most fascinating people in Austin’s creative culture.
Has blogging changed the way you view food and cooking? If so, how?
The food we eat is actually very telling of our personality. Blogging, by way of meeting various people, has helped me see that – so in that sense I would say I’m more attentive to minutiae of the things I eat or serve.
I definitely am more open-minded and adventurous in what I eat or cook, and having an outlet to divulge my curiosities encourages me to savor and appreciate each bite and experience.
What is your favorite ingredient to use in the kitchen?
I finish nearly every dish with some freshly ground black pepper. I love the smell of it.
What is your best memory in the kitchen?
I don’t know if I can pinpoint a single memory. But I do have fond memories of my wife and I’s often ambitious undertakings. From baking multi-layer cakes and covering with decorative fondant, to preparing dozens and dozens of holiday cookies, to cooking some authentic German-style pretzels, there are several memories that linger in my mind as sort of one big experience. It’s the kind of thing – when you think about it – that makes you sit back, smile and realize you might have done a few things right in life.
What is the best thing about your kitchen?
The pull-out drawers and organization we installed in every bottom cabinet. I probably don’t have to tell you that there’s a blog post on it. That simple weekend upgrade has made our lives in the kitchen so much easier.
What is your favorite meal to prepare?
The thing I love most about cooking is the chance to share it with others. Cooking to me, is an opportunity to nourish and thank those around you that mean the most.
Given that, I love smoking a large park shoulder and having a large gathering of friends over to share it with. My wife will make fresh flour tortillas and some pickled onions to go along with it all, and together it makes for a special day.
What does your dream kitchen look like?
It’s outside,and has a wood-fired pizza oven with a wall of fresh herbs and tomatoes that grow plentifully year-round in the Texas sun. There’s a modified keg-a-rator for wine-on-tap and kombucha, and friends just drop over for sips and conversation.
What 3 guests would you like to have at your table?
I feel like I’ve kind of removed myself from the national celebrity of things, to where the people I admire and would love to have a conversation with the most are the inspiring people around me, and in Austin.
I’d love to have a dinner party with Aaron Franklin, Jodi Elliot, and Janina O’Leary to name a few. I’ve been fortunate to meet each of them at least once, and they’re the type of people you meet and immediately realize are incredible selfless human beings. Success doesn’t just find those people, they make it out of whatever they do.
What does the word “sustainable” mean to you when it comes to food?
‘Sustainable’ food to me means ‘natural’ or ‘from the earth.’ It’s food that is unprocessed and used as nature intended. As Ron Finley (the Gangster Gardner) said in his TED talk “the trick about sustainable food is that you have to sustain it.”
Favorite recipe to date?
My smoked pulled pork, which changes slightly every time I make it. However it always involves an overnight brine with brown sugar and molasses, and always involves an overnight smoke over wood as well.
What three recipes would share with our readers?
Grilled Dutch Baby – I basically use a recipe from GQ Magazine, but cook it on the grill at about 450 degrees. When you open the grill it looks miraculous. You can see it here on my post for TheKitchn.com.