Interview with JBF Award Nominee Jimmy Bannos Jr. of the Purple Pig

 

With his sights set on running his own eatery while he was practically still in diapers, fourth-generation chef and restaurateur Jimmy Bannos Jr. opened Chicago’s acclaimed Purple Pig at the tender age of 25. Below, the 2014 Rising Star Chef of the Year nominee fills us in on his go-to Windy City restaurant, his dream culinary travel destination, and the valuable lessons he learned while growing up in restaurant kitchens.

 

JBF: When did you know that you wanted to get into the business? And how has your family’s career, particularly your father’s, pushed you towards success? 

 

Jimmy Bannos Jr.: I always knew this was what I wanted to do, even when I was a toddler. There was no question; it was just automatic. One of the biggest advantages I’ve felt as a child of a culinary family is that I always knew what kind of... Read more >

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Interview with Jeffrey Morgenthaler of Clyde Common

Anna Mowry interviews Jeffrey Morgenthaler of Clyde Common, a nominee for the 2014 James Beard Award for Outstanding Bar Program

 

Clyde Common's drink list may be inspired by the classics, but don't expect the ordinary at this Portland gastropub. Its bar manager, Jeffrey Morgenthaler, was an early adopter of barrel aging and bottled cocktails, concepts that are now de rigeur in the industry. Below, Morgenthaler tells us his "trifecta" of indispensable cocktail books and what you should be ordering from the Clyde Common menu.

 

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JBF: How would you describe Clyde Common’s mixology style?

 

JM: We focus on simple and elegant cocktails that are intended to pair well with the beautiful food that comes out of our kitchen. Our drinks are rooted in the classics. We tailor them to fit our style and make them our own.

 

JBF: You guys do... Read more >

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Interview with Outstanding Chef Award Nominee Nancy Silverton of Pizzeria Mozza

Elena North-Kelly interviews Nancy Silverton, a nominee for the James Beard Foundation's 2014 Outstanding Chef award

 

After proving her pastry chops at Campanile and La Brea and taking home the JBF Outstanding Pastry Chef award in 1991, Nancy Silverton set out to open her own restaurant in Los Angeles, which bloomed into a celebrated empire and a mecca for serious Italian food lovers. Here, the 2014 Outstanding Chef award nominee tell us about the most spectacular pizza crust she’s ever tasted, her favorite flavor combination, and the moment she knew she wanted to become a chef.

 

JBF: What item on the current Pizzeria Mozza menu are you most proud of?

 

NS: I’d have to say our pizza dough, the quality of the crust. It’s the heart and soul of our pizzeria, and what I believe sets us apart. There’s no secret ingredient, just the subtle nuances of the method that we use to achieve a crust that’s... Read more >

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Interview with Outstanding Chef Award Nominee Michael Anthony

Michael Anthony

 

An enduring staple of New York City’s dining landscape, Gramercy Tavern has held court with its masterful cuisine, warm atmosphere, and unparalleled hospitality. Below, the restaurant’s esteemed chef Michael Anthony, a 2014 Outstanding Chef Award nominee, fills us in on his earliest food memory, the springtime ingredients he stocks up on at the greenmarket, and his favorite local haunts.

 

JBF: How would you describe your culinary style?

 

Michael Anthony: I’d describe my culinary style as regional, contemporary American with vibrant seasonal flavors.

 

JBF: What item on the current Gramercy Tavern menu are you most proud of?

 

MA: I’m really proud of our spring onion flatbread with duck... Read more >

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Interview with Eric Johnson of Bar Agricole

Anna Mowry interviews Eric Johnson of Bar Agricole, a nominee for the 2014 James Beard Award for Outstanding Bar Program

 

At San Francisco’s Bar Agricole, ingredients are only used at peak condition and spirit producers are closely vetted. Even the bitters in the bar’s version of an Old Fashioned had to earn the team’s stamp of intensely discerning approval. We talked with Eric Johnson, bar manager and co-owner of this Outstanding Bar Program nominee, about his new spinoff, favorite watering holes, and more.  

 

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JBF: How would you sum up Bar Agricole's approach to making drinks to someone who has never had one there? 

 

EJ: We are an ingredient-driven bar that uses traditional recipes as our inspiration. We look for spirits that have a sense of place and tradition in how they are made, without added flavors or colors to make them more appealing to the heavily commercial spirits market. A... Read more >

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Interview with Rising Star Nominee David Posey

 

Now nearly 17 years old, Blackbird isn’t just one of Chicago’s most dependable fine restaurants; it’s still striving and innovating under the confident vision of chef de cuisine David Posey. A repeat nominee for Rising Star Chef of the Year, chef Posey tells us what to order on the current menu, his favorite new Windy City spots, and more.

 

 

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JBF: Dana Cree, Blackbird’s pastry chef, is also a nominated for a Beard Award this year. How do you two work together? Does she have total autonomy over the dessert program? What do you like about her desserts?

 

DP: Dana and I work and collaborate very well together. We bounce ideas off one another, share inspiration, and test dishes on each other. Both Dana and I, for the most part, have complete autonomy over our menus. However, executive chef Paul Kahan has the final say. I like seeing the evolution of her pastries from inception to the final plated... Read more >

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Interview with Outstanding Chef Award Nominee Suzanne Goin

Anna Mowry interviews Suzanne Goin, a nominee for the James Beard Foundation's 2014 Outstanding award

 

On the family tree of California restaurant empires, Suzanne Goin’s branch is sturdy, and still forming rings. Over the past decade and a half, along with business partner and fellow Beard nominee, Caroline Styne, she has built one of the most respected and acclaimed restaurant groups in Los Angeles. She also authored Sunday Suppers at Lucques, an essential title for many home cooks, and, last year, The A.O.C. Cookbook. In the following interview, Goin gets us up to speed on her latest venture and her last great meal.

 

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JBF: In February you and master baker Nathan Dakdouk opened ... Read more >

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Interview with JBF Award Nominee Jessica Largey of Manresa

 

Epicureans from around the country travel to the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains to get a taste of Manresa, where chef de cuisine Jessica Largey executes thoughtful, inventive, and elegant fare that’s steeped in the rich terroir of Northern California. Below, the 2014 nominee for our Rising Star Chef of the Year Award fills us in on her ideal kitchen playlist, earliest food memory, and thoughts on gender politics in the restaurant industry.

 

JBF: How would you describe your culinary style? 

 

Jessica Largey: I’d say that I have a naturalist approach, which is definitely something I’ve developed while at Manresa. I like using techniques that are purposeful and preserve the integrity of the product.  

 

JBF: What’s... Read more >

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Interview with the Violet Hour’s Toby Maloney

The Violet Hour

 

The Violet Hour beckons discerning clientele with many luxuries: a romantic, serene space with floor-to-ceiling curtains, high-backed blue leather chairs, flickering candles and chandeliers; fine-tuned volume levels and elbow room; and an eclectic selection of artisanal cocktails made with painstaking precision. Below, partner/mixologist Toby Maloney tell us how the 2014 Outstanding Bar Program nominee is influenced by its Chicago environs, the poetic inspiration behind its name, and his favorite spring cocktail.

 

JBF: How would you describe the Violet Hour’s mixology style? 

 

Toby Maloney: We’ve been described as minimalist, traditionalist, and culinary-focused. I think we are an amalgamation of all of them.

 

JBF: Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the... Read more >

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Interview with Rising Star Nominee Katie Button

 

After jumping ship from academia, Katie Button has shot up the culinary ranks at warp speed. With a coveted stage at the late el Bulli under her apron strings, she now showcases her technical prowess and knack for innovation at Cúrate and the new Nightbell, her two family-owned and operated establishments in Asheville, North Carolina. We spoke with Button about her favorite dishes from her menus, her forthcoming cookbook, and why she never wants to stop learning.

 

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JBF: You just opened a new bar called Nightbell. Can you talk about what you're doing there? What’s the menu like? What's the story behind the name?

 

KB: The idea was to create a cocktail bar that offered the whole package: delicious bites, surprising desserts, and well-crafted cocktails. And we didn't stop there: we also handpicked a great variety of large-format, 22-ounce beers, and we offer... Read more >

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