Gettin’ our Chew On in Sacramento with Chef Joe Thompson

If you ever wished you knew an amazing chef who is down to earth, and would share his recipes & tips with you, well, you are in luck today.  Because I do! (And I’m thrilled to introduce him to you)! I’ve had the pleasure of watching his career grow, and for him to become the incredible culinary artist that he is. In fact, I can even say I knew him WAAAAYYYY before he even knew he could cook! (I won’t tell you all how long we’ve know each other, because we both look so young, no one would believe us anyway, but let’s just say that he was one of the first friends I had when I moved to Northern CA—just a few moons ago, HA!)

This week I am thrilled for you all to meet my long time friend, Chef Joe Thompson!!! We plan for him to visit us often on DayTripper Magazine, so be on the lookout!

Chef Joe with his daughter, Autumn Thompson and Condoleeza Rice

Chef Joe with his daughter, Autumn Thompson and Condoleeza Rice

OMG: Thank you so much Chef Joe for joining us in the spotlight this week. Let’s get right to the “meat” of this interview, tell me when you first discovered you were a culinary god?

JT:“My very first job was at a pizza joint in Sacramento. By the time I was 22, I had worked in ‘quick service,’ casual, fine dining and the bar scene. Overtime, I have had to jump in and help wherever needed. I realized that I had a knack for jumping in and getting good quality food out to the guest real quick. This allowed me to get a ‘taste’ of what the kitchen part of the restaurant biz is all about. It wasn’t until my wife (Alison) and I opened our own place, that I needed to jump into the kitchen often.”   

OMG: Did you think this was something you would pursue as a professional?

JT:“This is for the most part all that I have (ever) done, it was a career out of comfort – not aspiration.”

Family comes first for Chef Joe, and they enjoy spending time together, especially at baseball games! (The Thompson Family: Son, Joey, daughter, Autumn, wife Alison, and Chef Joe)

Family comes first for Chef Joe, and they enjoy spending time together, especially at baseball games! (The Thompson Family: Son, Joey, daughter, Autumn, wife Alison, and Chef Joe)

OMG: Do you remember the first meal you ever cooked?  

JT:“Most of time cooking for myself at an early age was Kraft Mac and Cheese.  I thought I was a rebel because I knew I didn’t have to measure the water needed to boil the pasta.

OMG: *laughing loudly* Okay, fair enough you rebel, you!  How about as a chef?

JT:“One of the first meals I made was “Braised Boneless Short Ribs” with Brussel Sprouts that have a ‘sprinkle’ of BACON, with Parmesan Dust. That is now our annual holiday meal, or course we add a very extra sides during that meal.”  

Chef Joe hard at work presenting a demo segment for ????

Chef Joe hard at work presenting a demo segment for Lisa Gonzales

OMG:  THREE MINUTES…it only took three minutes for you to mention “bacon!” I think that’s an all-time record for you! *laughing* We should let everyone else in on the joke. You see, Chef Joe here has a passion for bacon that no one can hold a candle to—nor explain, for that matter. But boy what he can do with bacon just makes my mouth water thinking about it! Hey, I bet that sprinkle on those Brussel Sprouts was a little more heavy-handed than you’re letting on, Joe!

So, you’re an extremely popular chef in the Sacramento region, why do you think that is?

JT:“We try to be a little different and not offer the same item in the same way as most others do. We are “playing” in the kitchen often to try different takes on the mainstream ideas. Items such as ‘Chicken Fried Bacon with Country Gravy Dipping Sauce’ are made up on a slower morning. One of my favorite items I ever made was Pacu Ribs. I have a video about this on my youtube channel. If you watch the videos there, you will see that we try and do things a little different. We also try to use the freshest local ingredients whenever possible.”

OMG: Wait a minute? Pacu? That’s a fish—like a piranha fish!  how the heck are you going to eat those tiny fish ribs? That doesn’t even make sense to me! WAIT A MINUTE!  I’m pretty sure you can’t just go buy piranha your regular local grocery store. So, what can you use instead?

JT:“Salmon would be great with this one. I like salmon because it’s so easy. You can get it as steaks or filets. For this recipe, use the filet, skin-on. You put the skin side down, so they get crispy.

Also, with salmon, if you cook it ’til it’s flakey, it’s overdone. You want it to look almost medium rare.” (Not raw in the middle)

OMG: What about all those bones?
JT:”Salmon has pin bones. You run your hand softly across the grain and you can use pliers and pull them straight out.”
OMG: Now THAT is a great pointer—and I like the thought of salmon much better than pirahna too. I don’t like my food to bite back!

So what’s coming up next for you and Crisp Catering?

JT: “We are starting to book Holiday parties already.  Last year, we had to turn down clients in September because we were already booked on some dates in December.”

OMG: Holy Cow!!! That’s a fantastic problem to have. I guess people need to get a move on NOW to book you before the winter holidays fill up! Thanks for joining us this week Chef Joe. We look forward to your visit next week when you tell us more about how you cook with TEQUILA!  

In the meantime, if you, or someone you know, is interested in booking Chef Joe for an upcoming event, please contact him at:

If you have any other questions for Chef Joe, please leave in the comments below.


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About the author

Michele Giacomini

Daytripper Magazine Editor-in-Chief, Michele Giacomini, is a Lifestyles Writer and the author of Looking for B.O.B. (Brightsides of Bull$#!+). She writes about everything chocolate, wine, food, travel and shoes—for everything else, she just makes fun of it. You may follow her here at Daytripper Magazine, or
Twitter @MissOhEmGee
LinkedIn at: Olivia Michele Giacomini

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