Before he became the guy behind Mission Chinese Food and the star of Mind of a Chef Season 6, Danny Bowien was just a frustrated 20-something line cook in search of inspiration. The chef’s big “aha” moment came during a meal at Spices 2 in San Francisco. “I was 26, I thought I wanted to quit cooking, I was, like, over it,” Bowien told Seth Meyers last night. “And then I had Sichuan food for the first time.” After that meal, Bowien started exploring and experimenting with the cuisine, and now, a decade later, he’s arguably one of the most famous purveyors of Sichuan-inspired fare America.
In the clip above, Bowien prepares one of the dishes that made him a star: Chongqing chicken wings. The aromatic spice blend is one reason why this dish is so popular, but also, Bowien employs a trick that he learned from a co-worker with a familial connection to the Blue Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY, where the buffalo wing was born. “They fry the wing twice, so that’s what we’ve done here,” Bowien explains. “We’ve got a wing that’s been fried and then frozen, and then we fry it again.” Bowien’s wings are, however, much spicier than most buffalo wings, as Myers finds out after his first bite.
Watch Bowien demonstrate his wing-frying technique above, and for more on the chef’s culinary background, check out the first three episodes of Mind of a Chef, which are now available to stream on Facebook Watch. And stay tuned for a discussion of this trio of episodes later today on Eater’s Facebook page.
• Danny Bowien Cooks Up Some Spicy Chicken Wings for Seth [YouTube]
• 'Mind of a Chef' Season 6 to Premiere on Facebook Watch [E]