26 Questions with Corndog Maestro Jim Stacy

By: Cooking Channel Staff

This is Jim Stacy. He's run landmark bars, revamped a historic drive-in movie theater, built the South's most famous corndog truck and created a temple of comfort food treasures at his Georgia restaurant Pallookaville Fine Foods.On Offbeat Eats with Jim Stacy, Jim tracks down some of the most innovative rebel chefs around who are creating offbeat food and experiences (like a restaurant in Seattle with circus décor that serves carnival-inspired dishes and a spot in Louisville that is one part old-school arcade and one part gastro-pub). We sent Jim 26 rapid-fire questions about his favorite foods, trends, comic book and more.

Cooking Channel: Craziest thing you’ve seen deep fried?

Jim Stacy: I'll answer that in a roundabout way. I see too many things fried badly. Folks will fry things to shock you and be clever. That's fine, but I see right through it. My most surprising and satisfying thing I've had fried lately is Kale Pakoras. It is a curry spiced, battered and fried kale dish. Pakoras are usually made out of potatoes or cauliflower, but I recently had them made of Kale at Chai Pani in Decatur, Georgia and was slain by how great they were. I'd rather people seek out the sublime and smart than deep fry stupid stuff.

CC: Favorite food?

JS: I'm partial to Soul Food made by a crew of old ladies that have worked together for years.

CC: Least favorite food?

JS: Anything sold out of a chain restaurant's laboratory.

CC: Favorite drink?

JS: Super cold, whole, grass-fed milk. The first beer after turning off the lawn mower. A dry cider. A black tea, slightly sweetened.

CC: Favorite cereal?

JS: A commercial rice and corn, hexagon shaped cereal. I can eat a box in one sitting.

CC: Most bizarre thing you've eaten?

JS: I find no food bizarre in the right company. If I was with Aleutians, I would eat seal eye with no thought.

CC: Craziest food mash-up in existence?

JS: That people think what I'm doing is legitimate.

CC: If you weren't hosting TV shows or running restaurants you'd be?
JS: A park ranger at a national park.
CC: Most interesting job you've held?

JS: They have all been pretty great. My life is too short to do things that bore me. I am NEVER bored. There is too much to read, learn, eat, see, laugh at, cry over, build, change and wonder about to be bored or waste time.

CC: Best food song or lyric?

JS: "It ain't what you do it's the way how you do it, it ain't what you eat it's the way how you chew it."-  Little Richard

CC: Favorite band?

JS: Of what era and type? I am a ravenous student of music. I like music like I like my food: real and smart, dumb and genuine.

CC: Favorite movie?
JS: See above.
CC: Best food scene in a movie?

JS: Well, it wouldn't be When Harry Met Sally even though Katz' Deli is hallowed ground to me. I think I'll go with the seduction scene in Tom Jones (1963) with Albert Finney.

CC: Best food mascot?

JS: I collect advertising mascots, so that's tough. I'm a particular sucker for '50s, '60s and '70s cereal mascots, so I'm going to say either Quisp or BooBerry. Though I love the Honeycomb Bear and the Pillsbury Doughboy. My restaurant Pallookaville has some of my collection on display.

CC: Favorite comic?
JS: Eightball by Dan Clowes
CC: Favorite book?

JS: See the movie and band answer. Dang. Of what time period and genre? I read voraciously. If folks care what my opinion is, I'll make a list and give it to them. Same with bands and movies too.

CC: Favorite video game?
JS: Tempest.
CC: Best food/pop culture crossover product?

JS: How about best popping food? Pop Rocks. Drive In Movie Theatre Popcorn.

CC: Favorite food city?

JS: ARRRGH. Again, for what type of food? I love Atlanta, New York, New Orleans, Portland, Seattle, Oakland ... There is killer food everywhere these days.

CC: Best food trend?

JS: Chefs taking risks on specific themes and building entire brands on those themes.

CC: Worst food trend?

JS: Chefs taking risks on specific themes and building entire brands on those themes and the loss of Mom and Pop Meat and Threes.

CC: Ideal Friday night?

JS: Homemade spaghetti and meatballs with my gals at home, while we watch the original Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and sing along. Or ... Kim and I hitting a Tiki Bar we've never been too.

CC: Have any food tats?

JS: Yep. cotton candy, candy corns, pumpkins and a cCorndog.

CC: Dream dinner date?

JS: The first date with my wife at a subpar sushi joint in Atlanta a decade ago. Food was forgettable; the kiss was not. I kissed her and knew we'd get married.

CC: Food person you most admire?

JS: Alton Brown and Anthony Bourdain -- tie. However Julia Child creams them both with her hands tied behind her back.

CC: Best thing to give out on Halloween?

JS: As we celebrate Halloween for an entire month, and have entire Halloween menus, anything but toothbrushes and toothpaste.

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