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David Vlach takes our questions

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He's come a long way since Chili's, that's for sure. Local culinary superstar David Vlach, fresh from an eight month stint in Barcelona at several restaurants (including Comerc 24, which earned a prized Michelin star in 2008) has come on board with Chef Stewart Woodman as Heidi's new sous chef.

Vlach, who is from Plymouth, got his first restaurant job at age 16 at Chili's, but says it really wasn't until college that he started thinking of cooking as a potential career. When he dropped out of college to pursue the profession, he first went to work at Broder's. Since then, it has been up, up and away for Vlach, who has also worked locally at Cafe Levain and 20.21 . In early 2006 he opened the Town Talk Diner.

He has also criss-crossed the country working for some of the nation's best restaurants, including Aquavit in New York City and The French Laundry in Napa Valley. Vlach recently spent a few minutes with Hot Dish.

1) What did you have for breakfast? Black coffee, yogurt (plain, light) and a banana.

2) How did you get interested in cooking professionally? It was after my sophomore year of college [at the U of M]. I had a friend who knew I liked to cook who was planning a dinner party and asked me to help. The courses got extravagant -- it ended up being 12 courses for 30 people. I was so excited about doing this and planning it. So I quit the U of M and worked at Broder's. I was encouraged by the chef there to to go culinary school, so I looked into and went to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park (New York).

3) What is your favorite cooking tool?I would have to say a good cook's spoon, for plating and saucing and cooking with, because it's so versatile. The one I use is stainless steel, a Gray Kunz from JB Prince.

4) Are you reading anything right now? I am almost done with Omnivore's Dilemma [by Michael Pollan].

5) Where do you go eat on your days off? I really enjoy spicy food, like Thai. I like to try different places. I like Quang's a lot.