What are your earliest memories of being interested in food?
Some of my earliest memories include standing in the kitchen of my aunt’s hotel as a young boy and seeing her passion for cooking.
What would you say has inspired your cooking the most?
My cooking is very inspired by the experience of various flavors and how they come together to create something bigger. I compare being a part of a team in the kitchen to being in an orchestra, where when the time comes to perform, everyone has to be on point to create something truly amazing.
Describe how you see your own culinary style and how it has evolved over the years…
As a young chef, it is easy to want to constantly outdo yourself with different ingredients or techniques on one plate. As I’ve matured, I think my culinary style can be described by two words: simplicity refined.
Tell us a bit about what it means to you to win the James Beard award for best new restaurant…
It’s almost impossible to fully describe, but the first time I’d ever heard of James Beard was when I was a young cook in Charlie Trotter’s kitchen in Chicago. Being able to go back to this amazing city for this year’s awards and seeing so many culinary heavyweights in the audience while I went up to accept the Best New Restaurant Award was one of the most exciting, rewarding moments of my career.
What food trends are exciting you right now?
Food trends are always a topic of conversation, but I think it’s important to talk about restaurant trends. As a chef, for me, it’s about the entire restaurant as a whole and not just the kitchen. Although some people may disagree with me on that, I think it’s time to think differently and make sure the entire restaurant experience is just right. Of course, food trends are important, whether it’s Nordic, Spanish, American or something else of the moment, but the front of house and back of house need to come together to create a unified meal.
What kind of experience do you aim to give guests at Batard?
We just want guests at Batard to have fun and enjoy their experience.
What would you say has been the most memorable moment in your culinary career so far?
The most memorable moments of my career so far have been winning the James Beard award and receiving three stars from The New York Times.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self, starting out a career in the world of food?
Don’t take everything too seriously. Live life to the fullest and grow thicker skin.
If you could take a plan ride to any restaurantin the world, just for one meal, where would you go?
I’d go to Steirereck in Vienna to have ham and eggs at the milk bar for breakfast, the unbelievable delicious beuschel for lunch, and a dinner prepared by Heinz Reitbauer.
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