9 questions with Chef Justin Kaplan of Cold Water Brewery; he will compete in the Sierra Chef Challenge Saturday | TahoeDailyTribune.com

9 questions with Chef Justin Kaplan of Cold Water Brewery; he will compete in the Sierra Chef Challenge Saturday

Justin Kaplan, chef at Cold Water Brewery and Grill, will compete this Saturday in the Sierra Chef Challenge.
Courtesy Photo |

Editor’s note: Attending Sample the Sierra? Watch the Sierra Chef Challenge, where three local chefs will face off in an Iron Chef-type showdown. Competitors include Cold Water Brewery and Grill’s Chef Justin Kaplan, Mirabelle Lake Tahoe’s Chef Kenneth Druly and Chef Jimi Nakamatsu, who recently completed a four-year stint as executive chef of Kalani’s Restaurant. Kaplan won the title in 2015.

Where are you from originally?

Princeton, New Jersey

How would your best customer describe your food?

Inspired seasonal comfort cuisine.

What’s your favorite ingredient/flavor this season?

Strangely, I have been into beets.

Where do you like to dine out locally when you’re not working?

Verde, Samurai, Artemis.

What food do you see trending right now?

Brew pub food.

Is there an ingredient or particular flavor that you disliked as a child that you love cooking with now?

Tomatoes and olives.

What’s your favorite comfort food (not necessarily on your menu)?

So many…Grilled cheese, meatballs, blueberry pie, bagels.

If you could choose, what would be your last meal on earth?

Dry-aged bone in rib, Trenton tomato pie, chunk of seared Foie Gras, apple cider doughnuts…Yes, all of that.

What do you love about food?

Food brings us together. Some of my youngest and fondest memories involved cooking and eating.