May 4, 2013
Raised in a household where classic Sicilian meals were made from scratch, RJ Cooper was exposed to the arts of cooking at an early age. Now the owner of Washington DC’s critically acclaimed Rogue 24, RJ uses these traditional cooking techniques to fuse art and food together, creating out-of-the-box dishes that are both beautiful and delicious.
Rogue 24′s elegant 24-course offering presents truly an unparalleled experience — each of the flavorful bite-sized dishes are intricately crafted one by one, often with tools such as tweezers to ensure precision. What RJ will be cooking up at #sweetlife2013 will be a bit more casual and festival-friendly, but equally as delicious. Make sure to check out some of his creations in the VIP section on May 11!
[photo via Washington Post]
In the meantime, we had the opportunity to sit down with RJ to discuss a little bit more about what we can expect to see from him on May 11:
Nate Cover: How did you find your passion for food?
RJ Cooper: I kind of fell into it. There’s something cool about the camaraderie and the excitement in the kitchen, and the daily push and drive to make the perfect dish.
NC: Where do you pull your inspiration for what you do in the Rogue 24 kitchen?
RJ: Inspiration is everything. Music, art, weather, the people you meet, everyday occurrences… And then you just have to push the envelope as fast and hard as you can.
NC: What’s in your refrigerator right now?
RJ: I have 6 1/2 year old twin girls, so we’ve got everything from yogurt to ketchup. Plus, there’s a couple of bad beers and a bottle of champagne somewhere in there.
NC: If you could have lunch with any musician (alive or dead) who would it be?
RJ: There are a few… the one I really want to have dinner with is Perry Farrell because he loves to drink wine and he’s just crazy. Jerry Garcia would be a close second, though.
NC: What kind of music do you have on your iPod?
RJ: Anything from Modest Mouse to The Allman Brothers. I was listening to Grateful Dead on my way into work today. It’s just like sweetlife – it’s all over the board.
NC: What dishes can we expect to see at sweetlife?
RJ: You can expect my idea of what festival food should be. Arancini balls, redneck cheesesteak, plus some vegan and vegetarian dishes too.
NC: How do you define your sweetlife?
RJ: Life. You just gotta live a great life. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, you just gotta do your best.