In the Kitchen with Chef Carlos Brown

By:Gwen Fowler


Chef Carlos Brown of ​MoMo’s ​Bistro in Colum​bia, South Carolina
Chef Carlos Brown of ​MoMo’s ​Bistro in Colum​bia

MoMo’s ​Bistro in Colum​bia is an upscale wine bar and eatery, specializing in Southern cuisine with a French influence.

“Our menus range from game meats to traditional dishes, prepared with only the finest ingredients,” Executive Chef Carlos Brown said.

In April, Brown also will be taking on duties of executive chef at a new restaurant in Lak​e City, Table 118 and The Werks, a gourmet hot dog, burger and tapas restaurant, also in Lake ​City.

Q: What or who inspired you to become a chef?
My mother. One of the greatest lessons my mother taught me was the importance of cooking with your soul. People know good food because they can taste the love in the food. As a child, while my brothers and sisters were out playing, I was in the kitchen watching as she cooked for our family. She never measured ingredients, never followed recipes. She instinctively knew what ingredients went well with others and how to bring out the best flavors in foods. Watching my mother, I knew early on what I wanted to do in life — become a chef. This is my passion!

Q: What are you cooking these days that excites you the most?
Seafood makes for the best presentation dishes. Cooked seafood or even in its raw form, the beautiful colors are captivating.

Q: What is the most embarrassing thing you have ever done in a restaurant kitchen?
Recently, I was cooking and thought I smelled something burning. In the process of asking if anyone smelled what I did, one of our kitchen staff came running to me to put out the fire on my chef’s coat. Embarrassing!

Q: Is there a food you simply refuse to eat?
Chitlins. I will cook them but will not eat them. I only make them on special occasions for family and friends. I’ve been told I make a mean pot of chitlins, but I will never know for myself!

Q: What are your guilty (food) pleasures?
Hands down, my lamb chops, followed by a good bone-in cowboy steak and chicken and waffles.

Q: What’s the best tip you can give a home cook?
Don’t let a recipe confine your creativity; use it as a guide. Be willing to try new things and make a recipe your own.

Q: Do you have a favorite cookbook?
My mother’s handwritten notes.

Q: What’s your prediction for the next big food or restaurant trend?
I believe you are going to see more fine dining restaurants capitalizing on food mobiles. We live in a fast-paced society and people want good quality food, fast, but not with the fast-food calorie content. Next time you are in Lake City, stop at the Caboose — our spin on the food mobile.

Q: If you were not a chef, what would you be doing?
I would most likely be a singer. In my day, I’ve been known to step out of the kitchen and grab the microphone and sing along with bands that play in the restaurant.

Q: If you could cook with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
Chef Daniel Boulud and Chef Gordon Ramsey.

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