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Matt Thomas, The Zen House

Beef Sukiyaki with Stuffed Mushrooms Title: Chef at the Zen House in Hermantown. Cook-off dish: Beef sukiyaki with stuffed mushrooms. Strategy for the competition: Just being prepared, having everything set up and ready to go. Years of profession...

Beef Sukiyaki with Stuffed Mushrooms

Title: Chef at the Zen House in Hermantown.

Cook-off dish: Beef sukiyaki with stuffed mushrooms.

Strategy for the competition: Just being prepared, having everything set up and ready to go.

Years of professional cooking experience: 1.

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Cuisine specialty: Japanese.

Culinary secret weapons: My batter and sauces.

Do you use cast iron in your cooking? Yes, mostly for sukiyaki and shabu-shabu.

What's the best use of cast iron? Holding the heat and cooking everything.

Weirdest thing you've ever eaten: It's hard to say. I've eaten so many odd dishes.

Food you won't go near: I'll eat anything.

Craziest recipe you ever tried to create? My Buddha Roll, a giant sushi roll with every vegetable around.

Culinary inspiration: My father and grandmother.

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Favorite TV cooking show: "Iron Chef."

What do you think of "Iron Chef" and "Top Chef"? They are fun to watch to see what they create.

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