Executive Chef Travis Dickinson of Cochinito Taqueria and his cook Jordan Obermeyer are known for their eclectic take on tacos at their downtown taqueria. They also know where to find some of the best burgers in Spokane. They took us to Durkin's Liquor Bar which is a place some say has the best burger in town and over to Prohibition Gastropub on Monroe for a smoky cocktail and a burger crafted with a spicy kick.
Restaurant/Business: Travis Dickinson / Co-owner and Executive Chef at Cochinito Taqueria
Your kind of cooking is best described as: At Cochinito Taqueria my kind of cooking is a high end taco shop. We're very eclectic you know semi-traditional, but also fun and non-traditional.
Where and how where you trained to cook? I started dishwashing at the age of 15 at the Coeur D'Alene Resort and just kind of fell in love with the scene. With the work, the flow, the chaos and ended up leaving to go to Western Culinary in Portland, Oregon in 1999. I cooked my way through Portland for awhile before coming back here in 2014.
Favorite food when you were growing up? I was a pretty picky eater as a kid so it was any different starchy vehicle with cheddar on it. So it was cheese quesadilla, grilled cheese sandwich, mac and cheese with a side of chocolate milk, that was kind of it.
What was your biggest food fail? My first Executive Chef that I worked under in Portland just came to visit a few weeks ago and reminded me of a terrible blackened chicken pasta dish I tried to come up with when I was 18. It was the first thing he let me put on the menu and it was awful. It was like jerk chicken, blackening seasoning, cream sauce and he tried to help me save it by throwing in some kind of weird fruit mixture. It was bad. He let me keep it on the menu for about two days and then pulled it.
What's always in your fridge and what do you use it for? I always keep our house chili garlic oil. We use it on our carne asada, we use it as a seasoning oil or starting oil for a lot of what we cook here. I put it on eggs in the morning, I put it on pasta dishes, I drizzle it over steaks. It goes on everything. I make a vinaigrette with just half that and half sherry vinegar that's the perfect salad condiment.
If you could eat a meal with anyone, who would it be? Oh man, I would love to go back and eat a meal with Bourdain. That is probably every chef's answer right now because it is so close to our minds and out hearts. Watching him travel through the world and just watching his appreciation for the food and more importantly for the people behind it. Their lives, the culture and seeing the things that are really important in what we do everyday. I think would have made any meal a special experience. It wasn't just about the food it was about the heart of it all which I thought was pretty cool.