Meet & Eat: Blake Royer, 'Sausage City'
Editor's Note: When it comes to food blogging, Blake is a part of the old school, as he's been writing for Serious Eats since early 2007—years before he even thought about living in Chicago. But in a general sense, it's also true. Sure, he's made his own bacon before, but how many other people have had to butcher the pig first? He's not afraid to get his hands dirty, and yet you'll most often see him wearing a tie. But that's enough from my end, take it away Blake!
Name: Blake Royer
Location: Chicago, IL
Occupation: Creative Director at Jamco by day, freelance writer by night
Website/Twitter: The Paupered Chef, @blakeroyer
Guilty pleasures? Pleasures should never be guilty! But I think that frozen chicken pot pies are really tasty for some reason, like REALLY tasty. And I crave Fruity Pebbles constantly.
Describe your perfect meal. Friends. We drink early, eat late. There would be a roast chicken in there somewhere. And a Sazerac. And some pasta, and pork belly.
What food won't you eat? I can't stand raw cauliflower. But when you roast it and it gets all golden and nutty...it might be my favorite vegetable. Cooking is amazing. I feel bad for raw foodists.
Favorite food person? For some reason I always gravitate toward to Brits. Jamie Oliver taught me to cook, and Nigel Slater continues to inspire me. But I have to admit that Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has my heart. His television series The River Cottage is some of the best food TV ever made.
When did you first realize you were a serious eater? When I started curing meat in my apartment.
What do your family and friends think of your food obsessions? My family is mostly mystified, since cooking and eating was never part of the fabric of our family (though my great grandfather was a cheesemaker in Wisconsin). Friends are pretty much thrilled, because they get invited to a lot of cool parties (this month we're hosting a blood sausage tasting).
Favorite food sites or blogs? I like sites that geek out about technique, show some passion, and get past the formula of beautiful pictures and overly enthusiastic writing. Whenever Cooking Issues puts up something new, my heart skips a beat.
Everyone has a go-to person they call for restaurant recommendations. Who's yours? My colleague Johnny Auer at Jamco (and writer for Serious Eats), for sure. He keeps abreast of everything new that's happening and has an enviable knowledge of the Chicago scene—not to mention great taste.
What is your favorite meal of the day and where do you get it? Dinner, for sure, and usually at home. I'm constantly cooking new recipes for the Dinner Tonight column on Serious Eats, so I cook a lot. And there's something reassuring about ending the work day with great music, a cocktail, and mise en place.
Do you ever cook? What's the best dish you make? I went to culinary school and have been cooking since I graduated college. My wife says my best dish is Pasta Carbonara, made the authentic way with no cream, just egg yolks and pasta water. I recently cooked it for 12 friends and it went over pretty well. Though I've also been known to roast a chicken or two in my time.