Likely a barred, as they are pretty common in New England, but could have been confirmed had he asked the customary dietary question.
Yes, most likely a barred owl. I see them frequently on my run to work around College Woods. One year, I set courses at CW and must have hung a control just near an owl's perching point - I heard it complaining while setting. Throughout the event there were numerous reports by frightened orienteers about an owl loudly screeching and following (attacking?) them. It's all about attackpoints...
I thought about posing the chef question myself. There's often one near my house asking late into the night, though I've never seen it.
I think generally if you ask, they'll find it conversational and ask back.
Might depend whether it's a boy or a girl?
Pretty sure they share the kitchen duties.