Menuism Dining Blog
Dining education for foodies

Photo by Lisa Aileen Dragani

Spencer Walker is the man behind Cook to and author of Cook to Bang the book. He’s very, very funny. If you can’t get enough of Spencer, then follow him on Twitter and friend him on Facebook.

You kept your identity something of a mystery on Cook To until you wrote your book. Why? How has your life changed since stepping into the spotlight?

I love the idea of writing without ego. Being anonymous affords the ability to be outrageous in a way you can’t with your name attached. Writing about my culinary conquests on the blog without “written by Spencer Walker” allowed me to be a braggart without ever kissing and telling. Plus the Cook To Bang method is best applied when your date doesn’t know that seduction is on the featured entrée. Pre-book deal, Cook To Bang was just a side project that took off blew up. Despite my best efforts with my first site, the original hipster bashing blog, it never took off. But I did make a few enemies in tight pantaloons and a few emailed idle death threats. Good thing my name wasn’t on it. Let’s hope time healed those wounds. Or I’m a dead man.

But now the cat is out of the bang. My dating life used to be undercover. I’ve been cooking to bang long before I had a name for it. Now you can Google me. Weird. And not all of the publicity is kind. I just had a heart-to-heart email exchange with a Pacific Northwest-based weekly writer who trashed CTB and then not-so-politely declined my offer to cook for her when I’m in town for a book tour this fall. She’ll never learn what a unique snowflake of sensitivity I am. Nor shall she nibble my nosh. Other girls I’m interested in might react in a similar outraged manner. So I don’t tell the women I date what I do right away, especially if I’m into them. First I let them get to know the real Spencer Walker behind the culinary smut. Cook To Bang isn’t going to be in Oprah’s Book Club. My family blush when they explain with a sheepish grin what I do. On the upside, this silly little blog is blooming into a brand.

Tell us about Cook To Bang the book.

Cook To Bang the book is not a recipe log, humor book or pickup manual. It is a bumper-to-bumper culinary seduction guide meant to tickle your balls and your funny bone. Avoid dates that leave you with nothing more than a $150 dinner tab, a doggy bag and blue balls. Wine, dine, and sixty-nine. Offering a history of sex and food through the ages, tips for setting the bait, the best menu for each “sexual profile,” creating a sexy-time vibe, and how to make your move, it’s an everyman’s guide to one of the most effective tools of seduction. Chapters cover:

Essential strategic advice: How to transition from cooking to banging
Drinks pairing: When champagne and when the Champagne of Beers
Crisis aversion: What to do if your date catches on fire
Natural aphrodisiacs: Watermelon = nature’s Viagra
Recipes scientifically proven to get you laid: Baked Briez Nuts, Miso Horny Cod

You’ve been identified as part of the “dude food” movement. What’s your take on it?

Ah, the dude food movement. I’m an overgrown kid who read Dr. Seuss like tween girls read Twilight now. On repeat. So I love me some puns and rhymes. Men have always cooked. Most professional kitchens have long been dominated my men. But among modern civilians, aka non-food industry, most men and many women don’t cook. Ever. With fast food, packaged dinners, and your local Applebee’s happy hour, why bother? That paradigm is shifting now. The rise of the Food Network is a clear bellwether that guys are learning to cook. Dudes can make food for a variety of reasons and keep their machismo intact: It’s cheaper, healthier, and it might even get them laid. Time Magazine declared Guy Fieri the king of dude food. If frosted tips mark a king’s crown, I hope that doesn’t make me the village idiot.

You’ve also been called sexist and misogynistic. What do you say to that?

Slanderous poppycock! I took a feminist studies course in college. And it wasn’t just because it was 95 percent female. I pour part of my 40 oz out for my homie Sylvia Plath. Cook To Bang is the ultimate feminist viewpoint. I am turning the whole “women belong the kitchen” notion on its head. Men are cooking for their ladies now. How is that a bad thing? Feeding someone food you prepared with your own hands is the second most intimate things you can do. Sure, the name Cook To Bang is a little ridiculous and on-the-nose. But you probably wouldn’t know my name if my book/blog was called Cook To Cuddle. And the truth is, the real Spencer Walker loves his mother and sister, has more female than male friends, has been in love, had his heart broken, and once volunteered at a women’s shelter. So critics can suck it!

As a whole, your recipe collection is impressively varied. What’s your favorite kind of food?

I categorize my [favorite] foods in two categories:

1. Sushi
2. Everything Else

Sushi is raw, unadulterated sex appeal on a platter. It’s decadent, orgasmic, and somehow incredibly good for you. Even writing about sushi is getting my taste buds hot and bothered. Sushi is something I crave, like [a] primal sex drive. It is my edible drug habit. Sushi gives you a rush, it’s expensive, and you can OD on it (Jeremy Piven’s mercury poisoning, anyone?). As a result, I eat sushi sparingly so it never becomes too much of a good thing.

As for everything else, the list is long and varied. My tastes lean Asian with a burning passion for Southeast Asian like Thai and Vietnamese, my comfort food. This is reflected in my own cooking with twists thrown into more continental Americana fare. Of course I love classic Italian cuisine, and am a certified pasta whore with a record. I’ve lived much of my life in California, so Mexican has always been a “local” favorite. And I was conceived in India so spicy curries are a mainstay for me. I’ll try anything once, and I don’t love Eastern European food. But I do love the beer in large volumes.

Where do you get inspiration for new dishes?

After creating nearly 500 recipes in 2½ years, inspiration is a necessity. I wouldn’t have gotten the book deal, built a sizable readership, or wooed more than my share of bombshells without it. I cook what I feel like, so long as it’s something new and original. That means uncharted recipes. My approach is often to create something out of what’s in my fridge and cupboards. No shopping. Innovation is the bastard child of inconvenience. These dishes are the most original anyway. But sometimes I just take the aphrodisiac-laden Cook To Bang approach to something simple like Mac and Cheese, adding truffle oil, New Mexico chilies, and breadcrumbs. And once in a while I come up with a recipe title too funny not to do—like Miso Horny Cod. More on this [below].

What’s your favorite thing to cook?

That’s like asking a mother to choose her favorite child. It depends on my mood, who I’m cooking for, or if I’m going through a phase. It’s summer now so I’m on a gazpacho kick. I made a papaya gazpacho last week because the mangoes at the store weren’t ripe. A happy accident indeed. Cold refreshing soup is the perfect recharge after sticky summer sex. I blew the mind of a recent date who insisted she take the half-gallon of “leftovers” to work in the morning. But I feel a popsicle-making phase coming on as my mercury thermometer bursts from a heat wave. Many a critic have called me out for ingredient favoritism. Guilty as charged when it comes to avocado. A few green slices make almost everything taste better. Truth be told, I’m going steady with an avocado tree.

Tell us about your #1 surefire dish.

Miso Horny Cod. It all started with the title inspired by 2 Live Crew. Me So Horny needed a dish. But what? Then I ate at a Japanese restaurant and took a bite of my friend’s miso-glazed cod. The tender flaky fish melted in my mouth. My toes curled. I may have seen God. So I researched and crafted a simplified Cook To Bang version meant to cook for someone special. That occasion came on a New Year’s Eve with a knockout a mere mortal like me had no business breaking bread with, on her last dinner of the year. The plan was to hit a bunch of fancy VIP parties later and drink champagne with friends on some rooftop. We didn’t make it. The first week of our new year was spent in bed. I fear the flavor combination may have alchemic love potion effects. Cook with caution!

How do you feel about having a date cook for you?

I love it. It doesn’t happen enough. While I love cooking, sometimes I want to lay back while she does the work. Most girls I date are intimidated cooking for me. I am constantly in the kitchen whipping nosh up for friends, dates, or just myself. Honestly, I’ve only dated one girl who could out-cook me. Truth be told, food was our one common interest. That and we’re both nymphos. Are you sensing a theme throughout my life? Whomever I share my life must share my unwavering passion for food. That means cooking, sometimes for me.

What can you tell us about your plans for the future?

I’m expanding the Cook To Bang brand beyond the blog and book. Cook To Bang is a revolution in dating that gives a cheaper, more effective alternative to the tired dinner and a movie gimmick. My plan is to build a business with new opportunities in media (TV, film, interactive), consumer products (hot sauce), and cooking classes starting this summer in Los Angeles. If all goes to plan, the classes will expand to other cities. That means traveling, my third favorite thing to do behind cooking and banging. I’m also finishing up a novel that will show an entirely new, more tender side of Spencer Walker. Stay tuned on that.

You must eat out sometimes. Want to name-drop a couple of your favorite spots?

I eat out at restaurants where I can’t recreate the dish at home. That usually means ethnic restaurants or restaurants where chefs are reinventing the wheel. Inspiration. Of course that means sushi, which I have made, but leave it to the pros who train in Japan for seven years. When it comes to dating, I only go out to dinner with bonafide girlfriends. Otherwise I always cook. I’m not only the Cook To Bang author, I’m also a client.

I have traveled and noshed in every continent except Antarctica (which I plan to remedy soon). I had mouth orgasm in a Pho shack in Hanois, Vietnam and dropped over a grand at a three-star Michelin restaurant near Oxford University, England. I’ve been to Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill in New York, sampled Alice Water’s scrumptious innovations at Chez Panisse, and tasted food from the tantrum-filled kitchen at Gordon Ramsay’s Maze in London. Since I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 9 years now, I have my local favorites. Some are well-known, some obscure holes-in-the-wall, all are the bomb:

Sushi: Sushi Gen
Italian: Peppone
Thai: Sanamluang Cafe
Pizza: Casa Bianca
Dim Sum: Empress Pavilion
Tapas: A.O.C.
Mexican: Huarache Azteca

You’ve come a long way since co-founding the Culinary Arts Club in college. What have you accomplished that you’re most proud of?

Some of my fondest memories are running the Colorado College Culinary Arts Club. Cook To Bang was in its infancy. I did not fully grasp the potential of cooking. I just loved food and relished the fact the school paid for me to indulge my caviar tastes on my bean dip budget. But then again, there were 40 core group members, and only four of us had XY chromosomes.

Getting Cook To Bang published ranks pretty high on my wall of awesome. I enjoyed a degree of success as an executive and writer for TV working for Nickelodeon, Disney, Cartoon Network, and Warner Bros. Plus I won a blue ribbon for archery in summer camp. But getting my words published by St. Martin’s Press legitimized my writing career. The nagging “Am I wasting my life instead of building a sensible careers as an accountant or insurance salesmen?” question is no longer the monkey viciously dry-humping my back. But like the Carpenters sing, “We’ve only just begun.”

Editor’s note: Spencer’s approach is one way to appeal to others. For businesses, a better way is through demographic segmentation, which is a careful study of the characteristics of various populations and tailoring your communications approach accordingly.

Posted by on July 30th, 2010

Nikki Jong is an earth-friendly eater who’s never met a vegetable she didn’t adore. In addition to her edible plant obsession, she nurses a neverending hankering for sustainable seafood and is a champion oyster eater (and shucker). Nikki loves hoppy beers, bold, spicy reds, and believes that nothing beats a cold glass of moscato d’Asti on a hot summer afternoon. As Editor of The Menuism Blog, she has the pleasure of interviewing some of the hungriest, thirstiest and most ambitious folks in food and wine.

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