The Washington Post

Five odd questions with Toro Toro’s Steve Hartzell


This culinary school dropout cooked at Zengo and Potenza before becoming the chef de cuisine of Richard Sandoval’s Toro Toro (1300 I St. NW), opening Monday. We grilled the grill master.

Name an album you know by heart.
Blind Melon’s first album [“Blind Melon”]. I have a tattoo of one of the lyrics. It says “No time frame.”

Is there a food you can’t stand?
Yellow mustard. I’ve hated it since I was a kid. My mom always used to sneak it into her meatloaf and I could always tell.

What is your favorite article of clothing?
I have a pair of jeans that are this thin. They have random patches all over them, like a flag with a peace sign instead of the stars. They’re my hippie jeans.

Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Milky Way Midnight bars. If Reese’s ever came out with dark-chocolate peanut butter cups, oh boy. [Editor’s note: They have!]

How old would you say you are at heart?
I definitely don’t feel 40.

Holley Simmons is the dining editor of Express. When she’s not reporting on local restaurants and tastemakers, you can find her sewing a dress from a 1950s pattern or planting a windowsill herb garden. Contact her at



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