The Recipe Issue 2013: Confessions of Bill Laychur

Penn State's Bill Laychur loves meat and can't say no to cheesecake.

Bill Laychur, corporate executive chef for Culinary Support Services at The Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pa., loves cheesecake and preparing meat and can’t get enough of Russian/Polish cuisine.

Q. What is your "guilty pleasure?"

The heaviest, stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth cheesecake.

Q. What will people always find in your refrigerator?

Ketchup, good mustards and various hot sauces.

Q. What is your favorite meal?

It really depends on my mood—a good hot dog with natural casing that snaps when you bite it, or perhaps a perfectly grilled lamb chop with mint pesto served over warm kale chips and sweet potato hash. That’s maybe today, but who knows about tomorrow!
 

Q. What is your favorite food to prepare?

Meat, meat and more meat.

Q. What is your favorite world cuisine and why?

Russian/Polish. It was the first thing my grandmother and mother taught me.

Q. What is your most memorable restaurant experience?

My wife and I went to Magnolias in Charleston for lunch and stayed and ate dinner also. 

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

My mind. 

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

Garlic.

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

Cook from your heart but taste with your senses and tongue.

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

I grew up watching Graham Kerr and Julia Child, so now I like the PBS show “The Mind of a Chef.”

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

As a reference book I like “The Pro Chef 5th Edition.” For fun, I like the “Blue Ginger” cookbook.

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

The great agriculture and diversity of Pennsylvania—it would feature the flavors of its melting pot with my contemporary style and methods.