For this month’s spotlight, we’re featuring a double dose of greatness — husband-and-wife duo 2Bleu, known separately by their nicknames Buddha and Bird.
Members since 2007, this couple from Duncan, South Carolina, add, rate and photograph dozens of recipes each year. They dabble in every cuisine, creating inventive recipes that get glowing reviews.
Buddha is originally from Georgia and grew up on Southern cuisine, but his service as a U.S. Air Force linguist took him to Korea for four years, where he came to love that country’s food firsthand. Bird, meanwhile, is a Yankee from northern New Jersey and loves all the international cuisines you find in the greater New York City area.
Buddha, you love Korean food. What’s your most favorite dish?
I love barbeque, so the natural answer would be bulgogi, but I especially love the banchan (the many side dishes that come with Korean barbeque). My favorite is kimchi (a pickled cabbage side).
Bird, what about you? Have a favorite cuisine?
I am more into Mediterranean cuisine. To me, Mediterranean cuisine can be homemade Italian lasagna, a fresh Greek salad with baklava for dessert or just a French platter of fresh fruit, cheeses, homemade baguettes and a glass of wine.
The Greek, Italian and French people have a wonderful way of life that’s enhanced by what is grown around them. At our home, we created a sitting garden, a vegetable garden and a fruit tree garden and we’re currently designing our outdoor cooking area. Dining in at our cozy kitchen table or in the garden on a warm day with a light breeze really creates a feeling of dolce far niente (“the sweetness of doing nothing” in Italian). Great food, atmosphere, beauty and being with the ones you love is everything.
How did each of you learn how to cook?
Bird: My father taught me to cook since I was old enough to reach the counter, and I worked as a waitress in many diners. He taught me how to cook on a budget, cooking with what’s on hand, and how to enjoy the creativity of cooking new recipes. I have passed my skills onto my daughter, who also truly enjoys creating and cooking.
What about you, Buddha?
I have to give my wife credit. When we got together, I wanted to learn and share in her love of cooking. I am sort of a perfectionist, so she got me into making breads and other things that require a lot of attention to detail and techniques. My wife is helping me get my creative side into it with my bagels, pizza dough and such. I am also learning to grill and smoke outdoors.
Bird, is there one dish you’re most famous for?
My cheesecake recipe, which took many months to create and perfect.
You have such different tastes – how do you get creative together?
Buddha: We both love spices and use lots of them — our spices take up two cabinets! My wife is very creative in the kitchen. She developed a ‘Johnny Jalapeno’ character and added fun stories to the description in many of our ‘JJ’ recipes — like Johnny Jalapeno’s Jumpin Wagon Wheels! Macaroni & Cheese. I am trying to convince her to write a recipe book based on him.
What’s the best part of cooking together?
Bird: There are never too many hands in one pot, but rather many hands in different pots, helping to create one fantastic meal.
Buddha: With her on-the-fly style and my attention to detail and precision, we always have a great meal.
10 Greats From 2Bleu
Bird and Buddha indulge in many different cuisines, but one constant focus is keeping things healthy, too. Among their 500+ recipes, there are many lightened-up dishes that they’ve dubbed “Lite-Bleu.” Check out 10 greats from their low-calorie collection.