It was 20 years ago that Linwood Dame opened his eponymous restaurant in Owings Mills. With its upscale, new American menu and sleek interiors, Linwoods certainly stuck out amid the chain restaurants and Chinese takeouts. "Some people did wonder why I decided on opening in Owings Mills," Dame notes. "[But] I did my homework and knew there was a strong need for fine dining in the county." How right he was.
What book or film most changed your life?
Wolfgang Puck's Modern French Cooking for the American Kitchen. I read this as a young chef and it inspired me to take my classic training and use it as a foundation for my own style of cooking. American cuisine in the 1970's was becoming much more innovative, and I wanted my kitchen to be part of all the changes taking place.
Who is your favorite Baltimorean, living or dead?
I love photography, so I'd have to say A. Aubrey Bodine. For me, his photographs capture the beauty and essence of our region through the decades.
What's the bravest thing you've ever done?
Search and Rescue for the U.S. Coast Guard in the Great Lakes. Fighting my first fire on a ship on Lake Superior was certainly one of the most frightening nights of my life.
How has Baltimore changed in the 20-plus years you've lived here?
We have such a variety of restaurants now, and many more talented and professional chefs and restaurateurs. Customers have more sophisticated palates, and are willing to be adventurous when they dine. When we opened Linwoods, it was difficult to find foie gras on a Baltimore menu, and the wine of the day was White Zinfandel!
Who would play you in the movie of your life?
George Clooney. We're certainly not alike, but my wife, Ellen, would love it!
What is your guilty pleasure?
After a long, hot night in the kitchen, my guilty pleasure upon arriving home is Häagen-Dazs chocolate chocolate-chip ice cream microwaved in the carton for 15 seconds, and then devoured with an espresso spoon. I do begrudgingly share with Ellen.
What food trend do you miss?
Anything good enough to be missed is not a trend!
What food trend do you say good riddance to?
Fussy "foam" sauces used in many upscale restaurants.
Best part of owning Linwoods?
Watching the business grow and flourish over the years. Now my 16-year-old son John works at the front on the weekends.
Lower back pain.