Meet and Eat: Debbie Carlos, Photography Intern at Serious Eats Chicago

Meet & Eat

Interviews with our contributors.

Editor's Note: Over the past month or so, you've probably noticed some amazing pictures from Debbie Carlos. She's our very first photography intern at Serious Eats Chicago, and we've already put her through some demanding challenges, including helping us photograph every item at Hot Doug's. We couldn't be happier to have her around.


Name: Debbie Carlos
Location: Chicago, IL
Occupation: Professional Photographer

Guilty pleasures? Instant noodles and Nestlé drumsticks go against almost everything I believe in EXCEPT DELICIOUSNESS.

Describe your perfect meal. My best food memories are from my childhood summers spent in Taiwan with my family. My grandmother is the best cook, and even though Chinese food isn't my #1, her food rises above all else. Of all the dishes she'd make, my favorite is Lo Ba Bung, which is braised pork over rice. Her version has big chunks of pork belly and would also include whole boiled eggs, too. My perfect meal would include this dish. And some red bean shaved ice for dessert.

What food won't you eat? I stay away from peanuts due to a mild food allergy. I also hate eating ginger. I love it when ginger flavors food, but I'll gag if I bite into it.

Favorite food person? I love Lynne Rossetto Kasper. I enjoy listening to The Splendid Table while I'm cooking. Her recipes are stellar, she seems smart, kind, open, generous, and full of joy. I really like Rick Bayless for the same reasons. Jamie Oliver is also a favorite. His cookbooks and his magazine are gorgeous, and I love what he's doing with food education and trying to bring change to school lunches.

When did you first realize you were a serious eater? Around the time or just before I moved to Chicago in 2004, I started to become obsessed with food magazines and looking at food photography. My daily blog reading became pretty much 100% about food, and my hunger for accumulating recipes and reading about food culture was insatiable. It still is.

What do your family and friends think of your food obsessions? I come from a family of food enthusiasts. The first thing we would ask friends and house guests is whether they're hungry or if they had eaten yet. Whenever I go back home, every single day is centered around eating, and we even discuss what we'll eat for our next meal while we're still eating.

My friends, however, probably think it's scary.

Favorite food sites or blogs? Serious Eats! But also 101 Cookbooks, Whole Larder Love, Manger, Simply Breakfast, Forty-Sixth at Grace, and Food Crypt.

Everyone has a go-to person they call for restaurant recommendations. Who's yours? In Chicago, I usually rely on local food blogs, LTHForum and Yelp. I do have some trustworthy food loving friends in other cities I like to ask whenever I'm travelling.

What is your favorite meal of the day and where do you get it? Does dessert count as a meal? Bang Bang Pie for coffee and pie, Outdoor Cafe for Paht Bing Soo (Korean red bean shaved ice), Tastee Freez for chocolate dipped soft serve, Margie's for sundaes served in big seashells.

Do you ever cook? What's the best dish you make? Actually one dish I've been making a lot lately is Mexican Roadside Chicken from this recipe. I sometimes sub a few ingredients and add in others based on what I have on hand and my mood, but it always turns out great.

I also really love mixing some peas and spicy bagoong (Filipino shrimp paste) into warm rice and topping it with a sunny side up egg.

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