Four Inane Questions with Chef/Pitmaster Scott Umscheid

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Courtesy Scott Umscheid

Nearly 14 years ago, Scott Umscheid entered his first barbecue competition alongside family and friends. “It was during the 14th annual Platte City BBQ cook-off held at the famous Basswood Resort,” he says. “My responsibility was chicken, so I did some research and several practice cooks beforehand.”

When the announcer yelled out Umscheid’s team had won the chicken category, Umscheid says, “Our entire entourage started screaming like the Chiefs won the Superbowl! We were all hugging and high-fiving—while all of these other teams had to be thinking, ‘Where the heck did these guys come from?'”

That initial win clinched his newfound passion for learning everything he could about cooking smoked meats. Fast-forward to 2017, when Umscheid—now a seasoned culinary pro—opened his own restaurant and catering company, Scott’s Kitchen and Catering, at Hangar 29. It’s conveniently located just off I-29 at the top of Ambassador Drive as you head to the airport. “The restaurant is in a building that was originally an Enterprise Rental Car facility off exit 13,” he says. 

Famed for his casual dining fare (and, of course, killer barbecue), Umscheid has cultivated quite the following in the Northland. It helps that his restaurant and menu items all have quirky-kitschy airport-themed monikers. (Uh, his “Prepare for Takeoff Tacos” are the perfect hangover cure, people.)

We caught up with Umscheid between the breakfast and lunch rush to pepper him with our moronic questions. We left with some terrific answers—and an insanely full belly. 

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Courtesy Scott Umscheid

The Pitch: A most excellent question—who is better, Bill or Ted? 

Scott Umscheid: Dude—this question is most outstanding! This takes me back to 1988 and my first high school senior year—as I was indeed in danger of flunking most heinously! I guess I lived out Ted’s “party on, dudes” a little too literally.  

Who is better? I’m gonna go with Ted in a tight race because I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve said, “All we are is dust in the wind, dude!” But let’s end it with one that came from Bill—one we could all benefit from in the present: “Be excellent to each other.”

What infernal TV commercial jingle is in your head right this second? 

I don’t watch a lot of TV. When I do watch, it’s NFL Football, and like everyone else in the world, when a commercial comes on, I pick up my phone and check my fantasy team’s score. (Uh, really bad year for that, by the way.)

But there is a song from a commercial that has been giving me all the vibes, and that’s the Toyota commercial that features Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere.” I’m a very positive person and tend not to let things irritate me. 

But since this question needs an answer—for infernal, I’m gonna go with, “Scoop, there it is!” (Shaka Lacka, Shaka Lacka.) 

What’s the unequivocal answer—does toilet paper go over or under?

Anyone that has spent any time around me knows that I’m totally uncool with bathroom humor. It’s seemingly innocent questions like this that are the gateway drug to all sorts of comments about pooping and stuff. 

But the answer to your question is unequivocally over. Time to change the topic—and the toilet roll.

What’s the first movie you remember seeing in a theater? 

Grease in 1978. Wow. Talk about an instant passage to a better time and place. 

Stop reading and go to your iTunes and find the soundtrack for this movie. Find a kick-ass speaker or stereo and turn it to 9. Hit play on track one, and let it all come back to you. “Grease” is the word! 

Ok, now turn it down.

It set a template to live by (speaking for an 8-year-old at the time): Be cool, grease your hair, fix up an old car, buy a leather jacket, and find your own superhot version of Sandy. 

Bonus 5th Question: When was the last time you used Wikipedia? 

Wikipedia is not really my go-to thing. But the last time I used it? I was trying to polish up my knowledge of Grease and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, the definition of “infernal,” and the top TV commercial jingles of 2022. 

Categories: Culture