What was a typical dinner or family meal like for you growing up on a farm in rural Mexico, Missouri?
JC: Farm food is what I’d call it. Meatloaf, fried chicken, pork chops, etc. Sides would have been what was ready in the garden at the time or things Mom/Grandmas had canned. We ate a lot of potatoes, pretty much anyway you could cook them. We didn’t really eat deserts unless it was a family get-together.
What type of restaurants and bars did your family own growing up?
JC: My parents and grandparents owned a few bars before I was born up until I was about 8. Pure honky-tonks. Beer, liquor, jukebox, dance floor & sawdust. They also ran a few family restaurants throughout my early teenage years. Mostly diner-type restaurants that served sandwiches, fried chicken, and all types of breakfast food all day.
What started first your passion for cooking or for music? and when?
JC: Music for me started first, but cooking was a close second. I learned how to play instruments from watching VHS tapes of concerts we had recorded from TV. It made me think, why couldn’t I learn to do other things from TV as well? I found The Food Network Channel and the rest is history.
Now that you have been in Nashville a while, where are some of your favorite places to get southern classics?
JC: When I’m at home in Nashville, I try to cook all my own meals. But when you want Southern Food and you don’t want to cook, you go to Vittles or the Loveless Cafe. Great southern food!
We heard you make a great Tuna Burger. What’s the secret behind making them so good?
JC: I love experimenting when I cook. One day I was cooking lunch for friends and everyone loved the burger! So I wrote down the recipe to remember it. The main thing is to only flip the burger once! They benefit from a golden crispy crust on the outside that will not happen if you get ‘flip happy.’ They are also very lean burgers and could fall apart. Allowing them to cook in one spot for a long period prior to flipping lets them firm up considerably, making flipping a breeze.
And it looks delicious! So what does your cooking music playlist look like?
JC: No food pun intended but this is kinda cheesy. I play a ton of different instruments and styles, and I usually play music to my food while cooking. If I’m cooking Italian, you will usually find me playing an accordion. If I’m cooking Spanish, I’ll play gut-string guitar. American food, Fiddle tunes. You get it:-)
Thats Awesome! I know you have been on the road with a ton of artists, tell us about that and one memorable meal you’ve had during your travels.
JC: Kuma’s Corner in Chicago, IL. Best burgers on the planet in my opinion. They have amazingly creative topping combinations for their burgers. Like a burger with a bourbon poached pear, caramelized onions, pancetta, and Brie cheese. They also name their burgers after famous Metal bands like the ‘Pantera burger’! Burger featuring house-made Ranchero sauce, bacon, Monterey-Jack cheese, roasted poblano, and tortilla strips on a brioche roll. YUM!!
Is there anywhere you have wanted to travel or a restaurant you have always wanted to dine in that you have not yet? Or somewhere you can not wait to get back to?
JC: I’ve had many amazing meals traveling around, but my favorite restaurant consistently is Lady & Sons in Savannah, Georgia. I think there are plenty of little restaurant gems all over the world. Too many to try in a lifetime.
What’s a typical day like for you (food-wise) when you’re at home and how is that different from when you are on tour?
JC: Breakfast: 1 egg scrambled with a bit of salsa on multigrain toast. Tomato Juice.
Lunch: Vegetable stir fry with steamed rice.
Dinner: Baked salmon w/ sautéed broccoli and a baked potato.
But out on the road, I eat a lot of protein bars and Chipotle!
After playing a late show, what is your guilty pleasure food?
JC: Pizza, for sure
If you could pick one food to eat every day for the rest of your life, what would that be
JC: I absolutely love tomatoes. So versatile! Not a Ketchup fan though.
What was your biggest cooking disaster!
JC: About 5 years ago I made biscuits, and I got the ingredients mixed up. I ended up with a dozen hockey pucks!
Is there anything that you don’t enjoy eating?
JC: I’m not a fan of the ‘raw’ sushi.
Where do you get your recipes? Any favorite cookbooks?
JC: As with my music, I’m not a fan of copying others, so I just do my own thing with food. I might give a recipe a quick once over and I’m good. I also enjoy trying something at a restaurant and then trying to recreate it at home.
Do you have a favorite brew/wine?
JC: I’m a huge fan of the Angry Orchard ciders. My favorite is the Knotty Pear with 6.5% alcohol! I also love Dos Peros, a local Yazoo brew like a porter.
What makes for a great Bloody Mary?
JC: Worcestershire, A-1, Chipotle Tabasco sauce. Most mixes are really good, but could be taken up a notch with one or all of the flavor additives.
Finally for Battered and Brewed, if you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be and what would you drink?
JC: Nikola Tesla. We would drink warm brandy.