Creativity And Experimentation Are Key To Owen Han’s Sandwiches – Exclusive Interview

Many of your sandwiches also include a sweet element, such as your sweet heat crispy eggplant sandwich. What is the key to achieving balance between the sweet and the savory?

I’d say taste as you go. That really is a big factor. I love the contrast of sweet and savory. For instance, if I’m eating a chocolate chip cookie, adding that salt on it just really brings out the flavor. And so yeah, just make sure you don’t overdo it, really. I always tend to do more of the heat just because I love spice. So if I’m adding honey, it really is a small amount. Similarly, if you’re eating pizza and you add hot honey on it, just don’t overdo it, because you can always add more.

You’ve also described mayo as the best base for any complex sauce. Why is that?

I think it’s a really good binder. It’s also a pretty neutral flavor in itself, so whatever you add to it, it doesn’t mask the flavor. And also just a personal preference. I love mayonnaise. I think if I had one sauce for the rest of my life, it would be just mayonnaise. It works with pretty much any and every sandwich and whatever you add to it, you can just make it as complex and diverse as you want.

Do you have a preference for a style of mayonnaise or a brand of mayonnaise that you use?

I really love… There’s like three: Hellmann’s, Duke’s, and Kewpie Mayo. Yeah, I can’t pick which one.

What are some of your favorite unexpected ingredients that you like to pair with the mayo?

Unexpected? I’m trying to think of the most recent sauce I’ve done that was kind of unexpected. I made a chipotle mayo, but I added habanero to it so that was, I guess, a little unexpected because it just made it really spicy. But I love that extra kick that comes with it.

Do you have any new projects we can look forward to in 2024?

Yes, I am starting my YouTube up, which is in the works, but I actually don’t know if I can fully announce this yet, but be on the lookout for some exciting news in the future.

The South Beach Wine & Food Festival will be February 22-25, 2024. Purchase tickets at SOBEWFF.org.

This interview has been edited for clarity.