Confessions of Eric Eisenberg

Swedish Medical Center's Eric Eisenberg divulges his favorite cookbook and most essential seasoning.

Eric Eisenberg, corporate executive chef, Nutrition, Catering, Retail & Conference Services for Swedish Health Services in Seattle, offers his take on all things culinary in this special installment of Confessions.

Q. What is your favorite meal?

Shrimp in lobster sauce, pork fried rice and an egg roll from Jade Palace in New Rochelle, N.Y.

Q. What is your "guilty pleasure?"

Ben & Jerry’s Crème Brûlée Ice Cream.

Q. What will people always find in your refrigerator?

Cheese sticks and tofu. I have three boys who are all vegetarians like their mom.

Q. What is your favorite food to prepare?

Duck confit.

Q. What is your favorite world cuisine and why?

I love Vietnamese food because it appeals to my appreciation of Asian flavors and textures while incorporating the French influences of my own culinary background.

Q. What is your most memorable restaurant experience?

Paris 1989, Jean–Pierre Vigato’s restaurant Apicius. It changed my life.

Q. What do you consider to be the most indispensable piece of cooking equipment?

An immersion (stick) blender. A huge time saver and very versatile tool.

Q. What is the most essential herb or spice in your kitchen (besides salt and pepper)?

Because I live with vegetarians and frequently have to appeal to others at work, meat is often out of the preparation. I always keep smoked black pepper and smoked paprika nearby to enhance the roasted and grilled notes in vegetable preparations, soups and sauces.

Q. What is the best advice a chef/mentor ever gave you?

“Avec soigner!”–with care.

Q. What cooking show do you think is most worth watching?

It’s a toss-up between “Chopped” and “Top Chef.”

Q. What is the most valuable cookbook in your library?

“Larousse Gastronomique 1988,” first English printing. Mine is held together with duct tape and has been on every counter I have ever worked on.

Q. If you ever wrote a cookbook, what food or cuisine would you focus on?

Mine … Eastern European roots, French technique, Asian accents.