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‘SMOKED EEL WITH A BOW ON IT’

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Ten quick questions for “Chef Kevin” Lynch, executive chef and manager of the cheese, dairy and bakery departments at Sickle’s Market, Little Silver.

Are you a ‘foodie’? Yes.

Which is more important, quality food or comfortable shoes? Tough question. You gotta remember that chefs are on their feet a lot. But I’m going with food.

What’s your earliest food memory? Having my grandfather come down from Jersey City and give me and my brother $100 to go to Leroy’s Fish Market on Route 36 in Middletown. He’d have us buy shrimp, crabs, lobster tails and a smoked eel. He liked smoked eel—every Christmas we’d give him one with a bow on it. This was around 1970, when I was 10. A hundred dollars was a lot of money back then.

Who was the biggest influence on your life, foodwise? My mother. She would cook something different every week—she always liked to look at recipes. I’d always make the salad when I was a kid.

What was your first cookbook? I think it was Betty Crocker. My mother still has it.

What’s your favorite cooking show on TV? I liked the PBS series, ‘The Great Chefs,’ because I thought that was very knowledgeable—it got into the nuts and bolts of it. Currently, I watch “Behind the Scenes” and “Best Of,” but once in a while for laughs I’’ll watch Emeril, or sometimes, Rachel Ray. Sara Moulton’s show I like too. She’s the executive chef for Gourmet magazine.

What’s one ingredient you couldn’t live without? Garlic!

Have you had formal training? No. I went to school for computer science down at Stockton College, and became kitchen manager and then chef at the Smithville Inn.

What’s the one junk food you can’t say no to? Pretzels.

Where do you go when you eat out? Indigo Moon in Atlantic Highlands. I know the chef there, and the owner, Janet, used to work with me at Readie’s Fine Foods in Red Bank.

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