Meet the Chef: Dru Kratzke

MICHAEL DONAHUE /The Commercial Appeal
Napa Café executive chef Dru Kratzke likes to cook at home after a long day of work.

Photo by Michael Donhue

MICHAEL DONAHUE /The Commercial Appeal Napa Café executive chef Dru Kratzke likes to cook at home after a long day of work.

Title: Executive chef at Napa Café.

Age: 29.

Where were you born? Seoul, South Korea.

Who or what was your first cooking influence? I just always had a bit of fascination with it. When I was a real little kid, I would watch when my mom made some of the things she made. She’s a good home cook. She had 30 or 40 dishes she would just rotate.

What was the first thing you ever cooked or baked? Scrambled eggs.

When did you decide to become a chef? I was going to school in Chicago, and I was going through pre-law. Didn’t really enjoy the atmosphere or the program, so I decided to come back home. When I did, for some reason I got the urge to start cooking my own food. I went to Johnson & Wales in Miami.

What is something important a fellow chef taught you? (Chef James Hensley at Johnson & Wales:) Pay attention to what you’re throwing away because that’s your money. That’s a potential dish or garnish or something. You should try to utilize everything you can. There’s almost always something to do with scraps of this or that.

What do you cook at home, if anything? I cook any and everything. To me, it’s nothing to work 16 hours, go home and spend an hour or two cooking. It’s relaxing.

What’s your favorite food? Just a perfect and simple hamburger.

What’s your least favorite food? There’s something about overripe bananas or avocados that I can only eat so much of.

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