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As far as seasons go, fall is a favorite. The weather is crisp, the holidays are fun, and the clothes are plaid. It’s a great time. It’s also the perfect time to get cooking, without your house feeling like a sauna. With recipe cravings in mind, we reached out to Chef Mike Ward , who specializes in delicious recipes that are…wait for it…actually do-able! (Really, we’ve watched his videos, this is good stuff). Below, we’ve selected three of our favorite recipes from Ward, recipes we think you’ll do well to commit to memory, and fast. They’re perfect for last-minute company, or simply nights when you’re craving something quick–but good. Read on to learn more about our newest chef-friend.

Hi! Tell us a bit about yourself and your cooking background. 

Hi, I’m Chef Mike Ward. I left school not knowing what I wanted to do so I took a one year trip throughout Asia, Nepal, and India. When I returned I realized every amazing memory I had of my journey was based on a food experience. That was when I fell in love with cooking and made it my life. My career has taken many twists and turns over my life but food, cooking, and storytelling have always been my passions and I’m blessed to have been able to share my those things with others. 

What do you love most about cooking?

We all eat everyday… cooking for me is the ultimate celebration of creativity and sharing, something I get to make that is consumed by people I care about. Cooking and eating together forces us to slow down and enjoy each other. My fondest memories of friends and family are all centered around sharing food. Ultimately it’s about connecting.

What is one piece of cooking advice you find yourself giving over and over again?

Be fearless. Celebrity chefs don’t talk about the dishes they make that are terrible… but I assure you there are many. That’s how we grow, even Michael Jordan openly admits he’s missed far more hoops in his career than he ever made, that’s how he became the world’s best. Try new things constantly, scare yourself in the kitchen, it’s only food. That’s how you grow as a cook.  

What is the best cooking advice you’ve ever been given?

The best advice i was ever given is similar to the advice I give. Always approach food and cooking with a sense of humor. Have fun with it. Whether I’m eating at a friends house or at a Michelin rated restaurant you can tell in your heart and your tastebuds if the chef has approached their food with a sense of whimsy. Food is about nourishment for you body and soul. I don’t like serious or precious food. I like food that looks like food, over manipulated displays of technique don’t excite my tastebuds. 

Any frustrating food moments you’d like to share? 

The most frustrating thing about being a chef is that people get weird about cooking for you. They think I’m going to judge everything they put in front of me. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Actually my fondest memories of meals are those cooked by people in their own homes, home cooks, not by famous chefs in expensive restaurants. I don’t care if it’s grilled cheese, if that person takes pride in their creation, I guarantee it’ll be delicious… and on the rare occasion its terrible we can at least all have a laugh about it.  

Of the videos shown here, which one do you find yourself making at home most often and why?

The dip video is probably something I explore the most. I love playing with a variation of misfitting ingredients to see if I can make something fun and tasty out of it. Almost anything can be turned into a dip. My girls also love dips… it’s also a great way to use wilting herbs and vegetables. 

See more from Chef Mike Ward via Instagram and YouTube