When Walter Royal was growing up in Alabama, his house had one unbreakable rule: Dinnertime. 6:30. Be there.
Dinner is still important to Royal, but for different reasons. He’s executive chef of high-end steakhouse the Angus Barn and Pavilion – and claimed victory on cable cooking show “Iron Chef: America” in 2007 with his ostrich satay and ostrich egg chocolate souffle. Royal believes in the power of the dinner table, for both sating a hungry stomach and easing the pressure of life’s problems.
He passed that message on to kids at the Wade Edwards Learning Lab last week.
Staff writer Chelsea Kellner caught up with Royal before his lecture to talk about family cooking, feeding large groups and the secret to concocting your own recipes.
Responses have been edited for length.
The time a family spends together, when it’s around good quality food, shows them little things about each other at first, like oh, I didn’t realize you loved pineapple upside-down cake. Then you learn more. If it’s good food, and especially if you can get the family to make dinner together, that opens the door to so much goodness.
With large groups, you don’t do anything like chocolate soufflés or baked Alaska. You make a beautiful poundcake with fresh berries, maybe, or a wonderful pie with ice cream.