Top Chef: Garrett Marlin, Mercury Pizza

Garrett Marlin, 36, graduated from Hawaii Pacific University. He grew up in New Jersey, Texas and Colorado. He has three brothers who live in New York, Austin, Texas and Denver.  In 2013,  he won the World’s Best Pizza Stretcher at the International Pizza Games in Las Vegas, Nev. He also placed third in the Western Regional Division for his pizza that year.  His mom says he’s the best pizza guy in the world.


What’s one ingredient that you can't live without?
Flour for baking


What’s your favorite type of music to listen to when cooking?
Varies depending on what time of the day. AM is Hawaiian reggae or acoustic stuff and PM is rock or rap


If you could cook for anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
Both sets of my grandparents together, that never happened and I wish it had.


What’s your favorite ethnic cuisine?
Vietnamese, Italian, Turkish


What’s the strangest request you’ve ever had from a diner?
Nothing too strange


What’s the best part about being a chef?
Best part is always wanting to keep learning about new foods and techniques and then getting to try them.


What’s the most challenging part of being a chef?  
Keeping training and building a team who has got your back


If  not a chef in the Pine Belt, what city would you like to work in? 
NYC or somewhere in Europe


Who is/was your food mentor?
Julia Child, Jacque Pepin, Mario Batali, Mare Vetri


What’s your favorite “guilty pleasure” food?
Spam-friend rice or microwave hot dogs


What’s your favorite food to cook?


Sweet or savory?


Mild or spicy?  
Learning to appreciate spicy


Wine or beer?  


Salt or pepper?  
Kosher salt


Red beans or gumbo?
Red beans