“What’s for dinner?” my wife asks me every day when she calls at lunch time. My wife loves to eat. Fortunately for her, I love to cook!

We currently live in Tokyo, Japan. As much as I love Tokyo, ramen just isn’t a meal for me and my wife. I am American and grew up in a military family, so I have lived all over the US for most of my life. I just love good American-style cuisine. My wife is from the Philippines and is always craving Asian dishes. Cooking lunch or dinner isn’t easy, particularly when getting the ingredients I need for the dishes we crave often won’t be available here in Japan (I have been on an endless search for artichokes for the past four years).

I used to work as a professional food and beverage photographer. I was exposed to literally thousands of restaurant quality dishes and food styling techniques, as well as the best ingredients. I strive for perfection but as an amateur cook with no formal culinary training, I do struggle to get a great looking dish that also tastes amazing or a tasty dish that is picture perfect.

I have started creating more ambitious dishes, going beyond standard American fare after hours of watching cooking shows. Recently, I have been inspired by Gordon Ramsay and his endless search for the perfect dish every single time. Heston Blumenthal’s amazing dissection and scientific reassembly of his recipes is also a favorite of mine. His techniques can add masterful refinement to the simplest recipes. My favorite is his three-day roasted chicken and his gourmet burger for $5. Last but not least, Christine Ha, the blind winner of MasterChef who can seemingly make anything, has made me appreciate the use of my senses in the kitchen even more.

Ironically, of all the recipes I can make for my friends, simple tacos is my most requested dish.

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