Chillin’ at Chef Steps

Let me issue right away by virtue of a disclaimer that I am not a chef. I also very seldom cook, which is why I am so very grateful that my wife and kids cook so well.

A couple of weeks ago we were invited out to Seattle by Chef Steps for an 8 course dinner at their headquarters in recognition of my kids winning the Transformations cooking contest. It was a stupendously awesome time. I ate things that night that I’d never heard of, indulged in a few things I was never willing to try before, and devoured variations of common food items that I’d never thought possible.

I’ll give you a bunch of pics here in just a second, because that will tell you far more than I can relate in words, but, first, let me tell you about the crew at Chef Steps.

We were introduced to Chef Steps through Tim Ferriss. They’re the premiere source of online food education on the globe, and, in my opinion, a way better place to learn how to be awesome in any kitchen, professional or at home, than a typical culinary institute. The staff there are not only knowlegable beyond belief, but so personable you’d think you knew them for years. They make learning cooking both fun and educational. They welcomed us into their cooking lab/headquarters/mad scientist space like we were family.

If you’re not a Chef Steps junkie yet, but cooking is a profession, hobby, or skill you’d like to be better at, be sure to check them out. You can find them right HERE.

Chef Steps doors

Attending a J. Kenji Lopez-Alt book signing event. Man, he was awesome!

J Kenji Lopez Alt

At the table with Tim Ferriss.

Tim Ferriss-Chef Steps

Now, I’ll try going over the dishes. Keep my disclaimer in mind. I’m sure I’ll massacre the names of the dishes. I’m pretty sure you can find recipes and classes for many of these dishes on their website if you’re interested. Believe me, after eating them, I’m saying that you should definitely be interested.

The first course was peas prepared in a centrifuge. It separated the peas into pure pea juice and pea butter.

1st dish-Peas-Centrifuge They not only let the boys watch the prepping while they explained everything, but they even let them help with a few dishes.

The second course was ice cream salad.

Chef Steps-Ice Cream Salad

The third course was raw tuna caught fresh two days earlier with Japanese pears sitting in a bath of some kind of oil. If I heard correctly, the oil is somehow made from distilled camel urine.


The fourth course was grilled mushrooms and vegetables in a vegetarian demi-glaze.


The fifth course was something amazing made from an egg. I don’t even know how to adequately describe this dish. It was my favorite.


If you wondered about the drawing on the egg shell, here’s the Egg Bot!

5-egg bot

The sixth course was ice cream and reconstructed carrot cake.

6-Carrot Cake

The seventh course was a cappuccino that the chefs let my boys help make.


Hanging out with Tim Ferriss.


Hanging out with the chefs.


This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at Thanks for reading!

Links to other info about this event…

Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Chef

Chef Steps

Abishai Powers Contest Entry

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

On Meeting Tim Ferriss

Other Info about the Contest

Crossing Tim Ferriss Off My Bucket List

I had dinner with Tim Ferriss last week.


You know that whole thing parents have about living vicariously through our kids? It was due to them that this magical thing happened. You see, my oldest son won a cooking contest sponsored by Chef Steps and the prize was an awesome dinner at their Pike Place headquarters in Seattle with their crew and Ferriss. I’ll talk more about Chef Steps and the dinner later, but for now I’ll talk about meeting Ferriss.

I’ve been a huge Tim Ferriss fanboy for almost a decade since I first read The 4-Hour Workweek. Since then I’ve read his subsequent books, read all of his blog posts, watched his show The Tim Ferriss Experiment, and listen to his podcasts. I have other big heroes in the world of self-improvement, business, and entrepreneurship like Seth Godin and Malcolm Gladwell, but Ferriss is different. It’s his spirit of self-experimentation that really grabs me. It also doesn’t hurt that we share a lot of the same hobbies, many of which involve hurting people with guns, knives, or bare hands (but only if they really need it).

With all this fanboy crush built up over the years I was pretty nervous about meeting him. It wasn’t like I was gonna squeal, pass out, or throw my panties on stage or anything. It’s just that I wanted him to be really cool. I’ve met some celebs who are real douchebags in person. I’ve also met some who were way cooler in person than thought possible. There was Scott Harrison of Charity:Water who filmed a quick video for my son. Then there’s Seth Godin, who I haven’t met yet, but actually commented on my son’s blog and always returns e-mails.

Now there’s Tim Ferriss.


Let me tell you, he was very awesome at the dinner, like a perfectly normal guy who’s done some pretty amazing things, and is still really down to earth. Tim actually sat beside my 8yo son Benaiah at dinner and helped us watch the little guy to make sure he ate his veggies and tried at least a little bit from each course. Benaiah is  my quiet kid, but Tim talked him up quite a bit during the meal. Beyond that he was also very open about his projects, past and present, and answered anything we threw at him.

I do have to say that there was one thing in particular that impressed me about Tim the most. To my knowledge during dinner we only mentioned our baby girl Astrid by name one time, as she wasn’t there with us. Near the end of our conversations and prepping to leave, Tim asked about her by name. I have family members that can’t even remember her name and here’s this famous guy doing it.

To wrap up, let me state unequivocably that Tim Ferriss is a stand up guy in person as well as in his writings and speakings and such. If you’re not familiar with him, be sure to check him out. Before this dinner, I was a huge fan of his public persona. Now that I’ve met him in person, I can attest to a much higher level of expertise and credence with the things he’s done. He’s the real deal, and I’m really looking forward to his next projects. On that note I promise to not reveal anything secret he told us. You’ll just have to wait.

This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at Thanks for reading!

PS…In case you didn’t know, Tim is the source for all of my blog disclaimers.



Tim Ferriss– Sign up for his blog, get his podcast, read his books, buy his show. I’d recommend you do it all. Drink the Kool-Aid and ask for more.

The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

The 4-Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss

The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss

Chef Steps– What I would call the absolute best place to learn cooking online (or anywhere else). I’m a huge fan of non-traditional education, and you should definitely consider their online classes before you ever consider a traditional culinary school.

Modernist Cuisine coauthored by Chef Chris Young, founder at Chef Steps

Scott Harrison video for my son

My 10yo Chef Might Be the Next Gordon Ramsey

I hope most of you were able to see my recent blog post about my 10yo son entering a recipe contest with ChefSteps. Well, guess what, he won!

We’re all so excited. Now we’ll all be flying out to Seattle sometime this summer to have dinner with the ChefSteps staff and Tim Ferriss.

To avoid repeating myself, I’ll give you the links if you’d like to read up on it more. If you get the chance, please comment on my son’s blog. He writes his own blog as part of our homeschool language arts curriculum and gets really jazzed just knowing people read his blog.

Click HERE for the official ChefSteps blog.

Click HERE for my son’s contest entry.

Click HERE for my ramblings about the contest.

This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at Thanks for reading!

My Son Wants to Meet Tim Ferriss (and Me Too!)

My 10yo son watched a ChefSteps cooking class for homeschool the other day and came up with a recipe for a contest to have dinner with Tim Ferriss. I’m really proud of him and wanted to link to his post here on my blog as well.

To see his post, click HERE.

This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at Thanks for reading!

Abishai-Tim Ferriss-ChefSteps

My Best Selling Book is FREE This Weekend!

My best-selling book on Rapid Skill Acquisition is free this weekend. It’s in the process of being revised and will more than double in size with case studies on people who have worked their way through the first edition. It’s already hit the top ten in books for Education and Psychology, but I want to make it viable for a much larger audience.


I’m offering it for free all this weekend so that I can get even more stories, and I’d love to feature you in the next edition. So there’s no guessing what to do, here’s a game plan…

  1. Download my book HERE.
  2. Be sure to go back and write an honest, but hopefully good review, on the same Amazon site.
  3. E-mail me with your experiences based on the book. It doesn’t have to be a success story either. I just want more stories of real people working through it. You can find me at

For those of you that send me an e-mail with a story or a link to your review, I’ll send you a free copy of the revised edition when it comes out this summer.

If you’re finding this blog after the weekend free event is over, drop me a line. I’ll still hook you up.

This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at Thanks for reading!

I Look Like a Big Hairy Chicken in the Bod Pod Egg

Check me out in the Bod Pod! I look like a big bearded chicken.

David-Powers-Bod Pod-2

I first read about the Bod Pod device in Tim Ferriss’ book 4 Hour Body. He praised it as one of the most accurate body fat measurement devices around. I’d done the caliper thing before, but always wanted to try the pod. When I found out that Coastal Carolina University, a local school, had one I immediately made an appointment. After doing so, you’ll never see me playing with the calipers again. The test was crazy cheap considering what the device cost. It was only $35 and less than an hour, and I was done.

For the skinny (pun intended) on what a Bod Pod does, here’s the verbiage from the COSMED website

“The BOD POD Gold Standard Body Composition Tracking System is an air displacement plethysmograph which uses whole-body densitometry to determine body composition (fat and fat-free mass) in adults and children, and can accommodate a wide range of populations. A full test requires only about 5 minutes, and provides highly accurate, safe, comfortable, and fast test results.”

Basically, it tests your mass and density using air instead of water or calipers.

Before I show you my results, let’s first look at some photos.

First, this happened. I think Stacey, lab coordinator extraordinaire accidentally hit the Matrix button. Oops!

Matrix-pod-Bod PodOnce we left that ‘verse and came back she made another wrong turn.

Mork-Mindy-pod-Bod Pod

Finally, we made it back to reality.

David-Powers-Bod Pod

Before I show you my results, I’m going to admit that they’re not at all flattering. I’m okay with that. Not happy, but okay. I’m big on transparency and group accountability in fitness and nutrition. I know so many obese people that stay that way because they hide everything they do.

I’ve been on a big tear lately to lose some weight. I hit my highpoint of piggishness at 252 pounds last year. I carried it well, but I felt like crap. Just kind of heavy and clunky all the time. Now I’m thirty pounds lighter. I feel much better, but I’ve not hit my happy point yet, as you’ll see from the results.

Bod Pod-results-March 2015-001

That’s right. 28.9% body fat. It’s high, and it’s all my fault. I own that. Most of it is pasta and burgers and Mountain Dew.

In case you’re wondering why it’s worth it to know stats like this, I’ll tell you what it means to me. The last time I measured my fat, it was with calipers, and I came in at 24%. With the error variability potential with calipers I’m going to just say that I’m still at the same level, even though I’m 30 pounds lighter. Knowing these stats now means that I need to radically change my workout and weight loss profile. Essentially, I’ve burned off nearly 30 pounds of muscle with my calorie restriction diet. I knew I was doing that some but not this bad. My original plan was to burn down to 200 pounds and then beef back up to a muscular but way less obese 220 pounds. I’m going to alter my plan now to focus exclusively on fat-burning and lean muscle building in my workouts and eat foods that support the same. Calorie restriction with moderate exercise gave me a jumpstart, but now it’s time to change.

Here’s an interesting fact about the Bod Pod. Hair holds air and can therefore alter the results slightly. The mere fierceness of my beard likely swayed the results somewhat. Not enough to make me a lot less porky, but it’s still pretty cool to know that my beard has its own presence.

Thanks to Dr. Darden for the use of the lab. Thanks again for coaching my son’s baseball team last year as well. Folks, keep your eyes peeled for the name Darden in a few years. The Dr’s son is an amazing baseball player and will likely be making headlines at some point.

Thanks to Mrs. Stacey Beam for administering the test and scoring me an awesome parking spot on campus. Thanks also for not making fun of me too much for being fat.

As an added bonus I also got the chance to see the always wonderful and supermodel beautiful Sara Wise, who works at the school. Guys, I won’t post a pic of her because she is already taken.

This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at Thanks for reading!

David-Powers-Bod Pod-3

I Hate Chris Guillebeau and His Wandering Ways

Not really. I am so excited that I’ve had the opportunity to read after Chris Guillebeau, to meet him, and to become an alumnus of the first two World Domination Summits. I often wonder how people got to know Chris. I met him through a blog post by Tim Ferriss, followed by a post about him by my friend Dan Miller, followed by sending him an e-mail and buying his first book The Art of Nonconformity.

I can tell you that he’s an awesome guy. If you meet him, he may seem kind of quiet and laid back, but there is so much going on with him that you just need to sit back and wait for the awesome to come out.

That’s why I hate him (sort of). He keeps challenging me. I just finished reading an advance copy of his new book The Happiness of Pursuit that came out today. It’s all about quests and the purposeful journeys we take in life. Chris’ last two books and manifesto were great, but, more than ever, this book is a call to action.

Chris Guillebeau-happiness of pursuit

One chapter in, I felt sad that I had no quest. Two chapters in, I decided that me and my boys would become ninjas. Three chapters in, I called a family meeting, and we all sat down and planned a round trip across North America. The rest of the book served as motivation and affirmation not only that I needed a quest, but that my choices were right.

Before I tell you about my quests, let me say that if you feel lost, aimless, or distracted in life, you need this book. Read it as therapy and be open to change.

My quest to become a ninja…

All of my adult life I’ve been involved in various martial arts beginning with hand-to-hand combat in the Marines all the way to my black belt in Oppido Dolens. But ever since I was a little kid watching all the uber-awesome ninja movies of the 1980’s, I’ve wanted to be a ninja. One of the questers in Chris’ book mentioned this same goal, and that’s what galvanized it for me.

I’m now studying ninjutsu under a 10th Dan practitioner of Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu and starting at the bottom as a 9th Kyu. My boys are also doing this with me. My goal for this quest is to test for my ninjutsu black belt within 3 years. I know it may seem fast, but my previous martial arts experience makes the experience a little easier. My boys’ goals are to achieve their ninjutsu black belts at the age of 18.


My quest to travel North America (again)…

I went on a three month journey across North America in 1999 before I got married and it was an experience I will never forget. I want my wife and kids to have the same experience. Our family quest is for me, my wife, and our 4 kids to travel across North America up to Alaska and back across.

So far, we’ve planned a rough route and a few of our stops, but we don’t have a formal date or budget for this one yet. Consider this one still in the planning stages. I even have it planned to stop in Portland to see Chris.

north america-road trip-drive

So, with all that said, what’s your quest? Not sure, go buy the book, and it’ll drive you in the right direction.

PS…what’s your favorite ninja movie of all time?

This message was written by Dr. David Powers. You can always find me at Thanks for reading!