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Hungry Magazine - All Things Tasty
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Feature Archive 'Profiles in Food: Interviews'

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« Previous Entries

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05.25.09

Workin’ on the Nightwood

Podcasts, Profiles in Food: Interviews


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Nightwood (2119 S. Halsted St.), the second restaurant from Lula Cafe co-owner’s Amalea Tshilds and Jason Hammel and partners Kevin Heisner and Matt Eisler, is set to debut in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. I sat down with Hammel last December in anticipation of the opening to talk about Lula, his cooking philosophy, and the new restaurant. In the following podcast interview he talks about his old writing mentor, the late David Foster Wallace, the impromptu ping pong games in the basement during the early years at Lula, and the importance of the French Laundry cookbook. I apologize for the background noise on this one as we recorded it in the busy front room of Lula cafe. Enjoy.

If you have Adobe Flash installed, you can play the file right on this site, below, by pressing the play button. If not, download the file and play it on your PC or on an MP3 player here: Jason Hammel Interview

05.20.09

Strollin’ Down the Avenues

Podcasts, Profiles in Food: Interviews


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Is getting four hours of sleep a night the secret to staying young? What does snail caviar taste like? Can you wear a punk rock t-shirt and jeans to dinner at the four star restaurant Avenues at the Peninsula hotel? All these answers and more can be found in our recent podcast interview with chef Curtis Duffy of Avenues. Duffy, formerly of Charlie Trotter’s, Trio, and Alinea, is putting out food on par with those giants and is one of Chicago’s most promising young chefs.

If you have Adobe Flash installed, you can play the file right on this site, below, by pressing the play button. If not, download the file and play it on your PC or on an MP3 player here: Curtis Duffy Interview

04.29.09

The King of Kosher

Profiles in Food: Interviews


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Bill Owades, Kosher buyer for Fairway Market

“I’m friggin’ good at what I do…”

Early afternoon on a weekday is a period of comparative calm in the Harlem branch of Fairway Market, which is housed in a brightly painted warehouse on the Hudson River, not far from Columbia University and New York’s City College. On weekends and evenings, the customers navigate their shopping carts like bumper cars through the narrow aisles, but in the afternoons, they stroll at a very un-New York-like pace. The store’s staff seems to slow down a little, too, unpacking fruit with extra care and indulging customers who can’t make up their minds about the exact kind of smoked salmon they want. More »

04.02.09

The Fearless Mr. Foss

Profiles in Food: Interviews


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Do you like pinball?

What do you mean?

You know, do you play it? Do you find it fun?

A minute or so passed without an answer from one of Chicago’s mega-celebrity chefs, as he faced a local food reporter while they stood near a pinball machine. The chef was usually so prepared that he’d given the same answers to many questions for almost twenty years with almost no variation in delivery or syllable. His ability to stay on message made even the disciplined Barack Obama look more like the drunken political godchild of Gerald Ford and Sarah Palin. More »

03.30.09

A Healing Journey with my Chicago Mama

Profiles in Food: Interviews


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Karyn Calabrese is like the grandmother I wish I had. Albeit, with the humor and energy of a twenty-something, she’s a smokin’ dynamo of a grandmother. In fact, if she didn’t proudly publicize her age (62), based on her vibrant youthful appearance, I might even be able to call her my Chicago mama. More »

03.08.09

A Designing Frenchman

Profiles in Food: Interviews


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The dapper Frenchman smiles happily, temporarily forgetting his cup of cooling cappuccino as he enthusiastically pours out a lively stream of French history peppered with comments about architecture and food. Segueing from history to his own life, he notes, “When I was fourteen, I wanted to be either a chef or an architect. I ended up doing neither, but in a way, I am involved in both.” More »

02.23.09

Spicy Subido

Profiles in Food: Interviews


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It always amazes me how the quiet folks tend to have the most spitfire personalities. There’s so much more beyond the surface; so much to be discovered. Kristine Subido, chef of Wave Restaurant and Bar located in the W Hotel on Lakeshore is just this kind of “timid firecracker”. After serving as banquet chef and executive sous chef at the restaurant, Kristine graduated to executive chef four years ago. And she’s been sculpting her Mediterranean-inspired masterpiece ever since. More »

01.12.09

The Professor of Pork

Profiles in Food: Interviews


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Despite the apparent liability of being a skinny Jewish kid from Evanston, Barry Sorkin is one of the smoked-pork (and beef) kings of Chicago. In just a few short years, Sorkin and his BBQ joint Smoque in Irving Park have proven you don’t have to be a grizzled soul man or a beer-bellied Nascar, Jesus-lovin’ southerner to make good ‘que. Some would-be haters, however, contend that Sorkin’s only successful because he’s a white dude who opened a good rib shack in the relatively affluent North Side of the city where the media pays attention. More »

12.01.08

Chef Michael McDonald: Out of Charlie’s Shadow

Profiles in Food: Interviews


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mmc

Not that being linked as Charlie Trotter’s right hand man is a bad thing, but it sure feels vindicating to stand freely on one’s own feet. Such is the case with Chef Michael McDonald, the Chicago-bred Luke Skywalker to Trotter’s Obi-Wan. After years of sharpening his kitchen technique under some master mentors, McDonald is ready to settle down and set up shop. His return to Chicago at one sixtyblue (succeeding Martial Noguier), after stints cooking across North America, is one of finality. This is his chance to rise from the celebrity chef shadow that may have been hunkering over his domain; his chance to prove himself to the masses, to himself, and perhaps most refreshingly, to Charlie. More »

11.24.08

A Dive in the L20 with Laurent Gras

Podcasts, Profiles in Food: Interviews


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l gras

L20 was recently named best restaurant in America by Esquire magazine. I sat down with L20’s chef Laurent Gras recently to see how things are going post-award. In this podcast, Gras talks about why French chefs come to America, his life-threatening bicycle accident, his gadget obsessions, and the technical and creative inspiration behind his cooking.

If you have Adobe Flash installed, you can play the file right on this site, below, by pressing the play button. If not, download the file and play it on your PC or on an MP3 player here: Laurent Gras Interview

10.22.08

The Captain of C-House

Podcasts, Profiles in Food: Interviews


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marcus samuelsson

If, as restaurant lore suggests, many chefs come from the ranks of artists, bandits and miscellaneous misfits, then Marcus Samuelsson, executive chef of C-House (166 E. Superiorr) and Marc Burger at Macy’s on State is, by comparison, a prince. The youngest chef to receive three stars from the New York Times, he’s also an entrepreneur, a TV personality, a cookbook author and a tireless ambassador for Swedish and African culinary and cultural heritage. He’s as much an intellectual as he is a master culinary craftsman. More importantly, those of you who read my burger round-up a few weeks ago know he also makes a mean grilled patty. Samuelsson was in town last week to work on some new dishes at C-House and I caught up with him to see what’s on his mind. Enjoy.

If you have Adobe Flash installed, you can play the file right on this site, below, by pressing the play button. If not, download the file and play it on your PC or on an MP3 player here: Marcus Samuelsson Interview

10.12.08

Welcome to the Dahl-house

Profiles in Food: Interviews


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edahl

Boka pastry chef Elizabeth Dahl - photo courtesy of Star Chefs

Plenty of us grew up with that nostalgic treasure known as the Easy Bake Oven. Heck, I’d reckon there’s a sizeable population of closeted dollhouse “chefs,” putting Barbie to task in miniature kitchens across this land right now. But, other than the fact, that her last name is a homonym of the word “doll” and her life is seemingly fantastic, neither of these images has anything to do with the story of Elizabeth Dahl, the talented pastry chef at Boka. If you’ve had the pleasure of gobbling down any of her desserts including her semolina pudding cake or her sweet corn pudding with blackberries, then you know that this young chef’s skill exceeds the elementary confines of, say, ovens, fryers, ice cream makers, and yes, light bulb powered ovens. More »

10.09.08

A Province All His Own

Podcasts, Profiles in Food: Interviews


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Everyone knows drummers are different, and Randy Zweiban, former cymbal sockin’ chef of the upcoming Province, is no exception. He’s no Food Network driven flash-in-the-pan blowing through job after job. Zweiban’s a serial monogamist who spent 7 years working with Norman Van Aken in Miami and a decade at Nacional 27. Now he’s about to debut Province, a Spanish and Latin influenced American cuisine based restaurant. In this podcast interview, Zweiban talks about his days gigging at CBGB’s, noshing in New York City, and opening a restaurant at the “worst time in 150 years”. Enjoy.

If you have Adobe Flash installed, you can play the file right on this site, below, by pressing the play button. If not, download the file and play it on your PC or on an MP3 player here: Randy Zweiban Interview

09.02.08

The Publican of The Publican

Podcasts, Profiles in Food: Interviews


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My name is Brian Huston and I will be your purveyor of pork.

As they say in the stock market, past results are no guarantee of future success. That being said, the crew from Avec and Blackbird seems to do pretty well each time out. As a result, the expectations for their newest venture The Publican (845 W. Fulton Market) which opens on September 15, are pretty steep. The man who will be helming that ship is chef Brian Huston. I recently sat down with Huston for this podcast to talk about his early days working on the opening crew at Blackbird, how ruining a Thanksgiving turkey almost ruined him, his love of Chicago sports, and how menu testing for The Publican at executive chef Paul Kahan’s house went awry after a few two many beers. Enjoy the interview.

If you have Adobe Flash installed, you can play the file right on this site, below, by pressing the play button. If not, download the file and play it on your PC or on an MP3 player here: Brian Huston Interview

08.28.08

Market Fresh Mixology

Podcasts, Profiles in Food: Interviews


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balbert

You wouldn’t throw a summer bbq and break out a can of Niblets for your guests during sweet corn season, would you? So why do you still drink that way? In this podcast I sit down with Bridget Albert, chief mixologist for Southern Wine and Spirits, and most recently author of the newly released cocktail book, Market Fresh Mixology, to answer that question. We also talk about the history of the Mojito, Albert’s bootlegging grandparents, and discuss the controversy over the terms mixologist and bar chef. Cheers!

If you have Adobe Flash installed, you can play the file right on this site, below, by pressing the play button. If not, download the file and play it on your PC or on an MP3 player here: Bridget Albert Interview

06.16.08

Commander of the Kitchen

Podcasts, Profiles in Food: Interviews


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Founded in 1880, Commander’s Palace in New Orleans is one of the most celebrated and revered restaurants in the United States. Paul Prudhomme, Emeril Legasse, and Jamie Shannon are just a few of the chefs to helm its storied kitchen. Chef Tory McPhail is the current captain of the ship. He was in Chicago last month for the National Restaurant Show and we caught up with him to talk about being a steward of such a culinary legacy, what it was like living on Bourbon Street as a 19 year old line cook with an endless supply of Abita beer, the impact of Hurricane Katrina and the untimely death of his mentor Shannon, and the house moonshine at Commander’s.

If you have Adobe Flash installed, you can play the file right on this site, below, by pressing the play button. If not, download the file and play it on your PC or on an MP3 player here: Tory McPhail Interview

03.19.08

Gabbin’ with Garces

Podcasts, Profiles in Food: Interviews


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Chef Jose Garces trained under Nuevo Latino master Douglas Rodriguez (chef/owner of DeLaCosta in Chicago) and Buddakan and Morimoto owner Stephen Starr forging an incredible knowledge of both the business and culinary sides of the restaurant industry. Now he’s building a boutique empire of his own. After a few restaurant openings in Philly, he’s landed back in his hometown (born and raised on the Northwest side and a Kendall college grad) to open a mod tapas style joint Mercat a la Planxa (638 South Michigan Ave. , 312-765-0524) in the Blackstone Hotel.

In this podcast, the Chicago born and raised Philly resident Garces answers one of the culinary life’s most savory questions: Which is superior, the Italian beef or the Philly cheesesteak?

If you have Adobe Flash installed, you can play the file right on this site, below, by pressing the play button. If not, download the file and play it on your PC or on an MP3 player here: Jose Garces Interview

02.27.08

Tru: The Next Generation (written redux)

Profiles in Food: Interviews


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TRU sommelier Chad Ellegood. Photo by Lara Kastner

A biochemistry major and an actor walk into a restaurant…

It may sound like a joke, but it actually describes the beginning of a beautiful friendship between Tim Graham, 31, chef de cuisine, and Chad Ellegood, wine director and sommelier, of TRU restaurant (676 North St. Clair). With Executive Chef Rick Tramonto splitting time on new restaurant projects and sommelier Scott Tyree departing for fine-wine retailer Hart Davis Hart, Graham and Ellegood were given the keys to the culinary kingdom last year. More »

02.18.08

TRU: The Next Generation

Grape Pun: All Things Wine, Podcasts, Profiles in Food: Interviews


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TRU sommelier Chad Ellegood. Photo by Lara Kastner

With sommelier Scott Tyree’s departure for Hart Davis Hart last year and Rick Tramonto splitting time on his Cenitare restaurant projects (though he’s still very much involved at TRU), we wondered how TRU restaurant was faring. Turns out it’s in the able hands of chef de cuisine Tim Graham and wine director and sommelier Chad Ellegood. In this podcast I get to know Ellegood and Graham a bit and we discuss their new paradigm shifting wine service and the future of cooking at TRU.

If you have Adobe Flash installed, you can play the file right on this site, below, by pressing the play button. If not, download the file and play it on your PC or on an MP3 player here: Tim Graham and Chad Ellegood Interview

01.29.08

From California Surf to Chicago Turf

Podcasts, Profiles in Food: Interviews


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This month, I sit down with Chef Carol Wallack of Sola. On the eve of Sola’s second anniversary, we spoke about her old schoolmate, Nancy Silverton of La Brea Bakery and Mozza fame, the challenges women chefs face in a male dominated world, and Wallack’s attempts to become a pro surfer.

If you have Adobe Flash installed, you can play the file right on this site, below, by pressing the play button. If not, download the file and play it on your PC or on an MP3 player here: Carol Wallack Interview


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