When I interviewed Jon Taffer ahead of the season nine premiere of his show Bar Rescue, I was curious when he said he was assembling a team of culinary experts to help him rescue several bars this season. Like many others, I wasn't expecting these individuals to become the singular hosts of episodes themselves. Talk about two lofty challenges: rescue a flailing establishment and fill-in for a personality as big as Jon Taffer's.

Anyone who has kept up with the recent season of the show should agree that the newfound "star" of the long-running reality TV series is Chef Ashish Alfred. Chef Alfred has stepped in for Taffer on multiple occasions on Bar Rescue this season, and has done an absolutely phenomenal job not only at saving businesses but asserting himself as a name in the culinary industry to watch.

I was lucky enough to chat with Chef Alfred today. Ever since I read Washington Post article on his addiction battles, subsequent sobriety, and ensuing mega-success as one of the east coast's premier chefs/restauranteurs, I knew I wanted to talk to him personally.

Chef Alfred runs Duck Duck Goose in Baltimore, which has been open for nearly ten years. He also owns Osteria Pirata, and Anchor Tavern in the city. However, he didn't fall in love with cooking in a conventional way. Chef Alfred said he "sucked" at everything he tried, but his folks were adamant about him getting some form of higher education:

My parents wanted me to get a piece of paper saying I knew how to do something. So, it was off to culinary school I went. To be honest, I didn't really have any real passion for cooking. I fell in love with the routine. I fell in love with the militaristic nature of the kitchen, and I just wanted to be a good cook. I never wanted to be some world-famous chef. I really enjoyed the work of cooking. - Chef Ashish Alfred

Despite the obstacles both personal and external that he's faced throughout his life, Chef Ashish Alfred stands tall and successful. On Bar Rescue, he's gotten to learn the ropes of salvaging a business from one of the best in Jon Taffer, who has also taught him lessons he's put to use in his career and in his restaurants.

We had fun chatting about his personal cooking preferences, including overrated ingredients (don't get him started about Himalayan pink sea salt), overrated cocktails, and more. Beyond his restaurants, Chef Alfred has cultivated an extremely engaging social media presence where he shares personal, cooking, and motivational videos.

Take a listen to my interview with Chef Ashish Alfred below, and be sure to check out his official website and Instagram page too.

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