This young Norwalk resident, who currently works as director of marketing for the Piggyback Foundation, learned the art of cooking from his parents at eight years old. Since then, he continues to learn by watching Youtube videos, cooking shows and good old-fashioned practice.
He even spent some time in a professional kitchen learning to hone his skills.
“For four years I was a prep chef at the Ohio Food and Wine Festival,” Ward said. “I worked under a lot of different, really awesome chefs. And I had dinner parties with my friends, and we tried out different things.”
When he isn’t bringing the best snacks to his friends’ parties or cooking dinner at home, Ward enjoys watching the Cooking Channel.
Two of his favorite cooking shows, he says, are Gordon Ramsay’s “F Word” and “Chopped.”
“I like Gordon Ramsay’s style of cooking more than other chefs’,” he said. The British chef’s sharp sense of humor and extensive knowledge also appeal to the young cook.
As far as “Chopped,” there’s just something interesting about watching professional chefs scramble to cook whacky, random ingredients.
“Chopped” teaches viewers to “learn a lot of different things on the fly,” said Ward.
Ward’s interest in professional cooking can be clearly seen in the kitchen. Rather than follow recipes to the letter, he often experiments — exchanging one ingredient for another or creating his own recipes entirely.
Some of his favorite foods to cook are grilled pork loins and asian-style chicken wings. Earlier this week, he cooked a batch of Country-Style Pork Ribs based off a well-known Chinese recipe which originated from Hunan chefs.
“This is based off a basic Chinese pork called Mao’s Pork,” Ward explained. “My different take on it is that I use a lot of ginger, just because it’s more fragrant that way. And instead of smoking the pork, I bake it.”
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Country-Style Ribs (3 Pounds)
3/4 cup Hoisin sauce
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
2 cloves garlic
1 knob ginger
Black pepper to taste
Heat oven to 250 degrees. To make sauce, combine Hoisin, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey and pepper.
Roughly chop ginger and smash garlic with the flat of a knife.
Place ribs, garlic and ginger in a medium baking dish. Use sauce to baste ribs. Cover dish with foil and bake at 250 degrees for 2 1/2 hours.
Remove foil and baste ribs with more sauce, then cook uncovered for 30 more minutes or until ribs are tender, continuing to baste often.
Let ribs rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Best served with steamed rice, cabbage or broccoli.