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The Hungry Professor: Chef Quigley

Story by Madison Hamilton
Photo provided by Robert Quigley

It’s crazy to think that professors have lives beyond teaching, office hours and answering our frantic emails … but they do. They eat, drink and cook (or attempt to cook) just like us! In the segment “The Hungry Professor,” we will divulge the guilty pleasures, secret recipes and kitchen disaster stories of our favorite educators.

Robert Quigley may be one of the only professors who knows more about social media than his 20-year-old students. The senior lecturer teaches social media journalism, writing for online audiences and an iPhone apps development class.

Here’s what the tech-savvy journalism professor has to say about his love for Tex-Mex, his mother’s cooking and his (in)ability to grill.

The Hungry Professor

ORANGE: What’s your favorite restaurant in Austin? Favorite bar?

QUIGLEY: I love Maudie’s Tex-Mex. I know there are some out there that don’t think that’s worthy, but I say the fajitas and Mexican martinis there are the best in town … so the food snobs can stuff it in their burritos. My favorite bar is The Ginger Man. When I worked the night shift at the Austin American-Statesman, that was our gathering place once the paper was put to bed. It has changed locations since then, but it’s still a great bar with tons of beers on tap.

ORANGE: It’s Valentine’s Day, and your wife suggests that you do the cooking. What do you make?

QUIGLEY: I would make lasagna. I have a recipe that my mother, who is a professional chef, passed down to me. Think about the most delicious lasagna you have ever eaten, and then imagine what it would be like if it were 10 times better. When you bite into it, you can actually hear Luciano Pavarotti singing “O Mio Babbino Caro.”

ORANGE: What food (or cuisine) could you not live without?

QUIGLEY: Tex-Mex. I’m a Yankee (shhh!), but I’ve lived in Texas since I was 18. The other 49 states have no idea what Tex-Mex could be or should be. In other states, people get excited about Taco Bell’s breakfast taco, which is just a stupid waffle-and-egg sandwich. I couldn’t live like that.

ORANGE: Which celebrity chef do you most identify with and why?

QUIGLEY: Tom Colicchio (of “Top Chef” fame). We have the same awesome haircut.

ORANGE: Do you have any kitchen disaster stories?

QUIGLEY: My parents owned a restaurant when I was a kid, and I worked in the kitchen starting around age 13. I once saw a line cook slice off the tip of his pinky finger with an electric meat slicer. There was just … so much blood. I’m getting woozy thinking about it. As for a personal disaster, my biggest was when I tried to cook on the grill on opening week of the football season and didn’t get the coals well-lit. We ended up cooking the steaks inside. Considering I’m a Yankee trying to blend in here in Texas, I probably shouldn’t even tell that story.

Check out Professor Quigley on Twitter @robquig.

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