Stories / Interviews

Ask a Chef: November Beard House Toques Share their Most Memorable Meals

Hilary Deutsch

Hilary Deutsch

November 11, 2015


As we bundle up and brace for the dropping temperatures, there's practically nothing we enjoy more than warming ourselves from the outside in by feasting on autumn's colorful bounty. With the frost setting in, we welcome a formidable roster of culinary talent to the Beard House. Highlighting cuisines and techniques from across the globe, these top toques bring tastes of Arizona, the Bay Area, Chicago, and the U.K. (just to name a few) to the Big Apple. 

We asked our November guest chefs to share an unforgettable meal from recent memory. While their responses ran the gamut from a high-end, white tablecloth dining experience all the way to an improvised, foraged dinner, it's evident that tasty food, excellent drinks, and close friends and family were the common thread. Read on to see what kind of mouthwatering meals these culinary authorities conjure up from their memories.

November 2: Michael Langdon, Glenmaura National Golf Club, Moosic, PA

Osteria in Philadelphia. The service was tremendously impressive and the food spoke volumes. Everything was in season and they employed fantastic techniques. It was just a stunning experience.

November 3: Tony Ferrari, Hillside Supper Club, San Francisco

I would have to say Nopa here in San Francisco—it’s always so consistent. Tons of flavor, perfect seasoning, and acid everywhere.

November 3: Jonathon Sutton, Hillside Supper Club, San Francisco

The last great memorable meal I had was a home-cooked dinner my family made this past summer in Washington state. We had venison that my brother shot and pulled out of his freezer, trout we caught earlier that day in the river, and vegetables harvested from the garden. It was a warm summer evening and we lit up the wood-fired grill and ate outside on the grass. Wine was flowing, the whole family was reminiscing with old stories, and there was lots of laughter.

November 4: Brian Alberg, The Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge, MA

The oxtail confit at Chez Albert in Amherst, Massachusetts. 

November 4: Adam Brassard, The Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge, MA

I love comfort food. I recently had mac and cheese, bacon and sweet peas, and bacon-wrapped meatloaf. Who doesn't like bacon?

November 4: Adam Zieminski, Cafe Adam, Great Barrington, MA

Barbecued pork lo mein—it was a staff meal we had this summer at Cafe Adam.

November 5: Scott L. Jones, Menton, Boston

I recently grilled a T-bone steak that I had rubbed in olive oil and dressed with grilled lemon juice. I ate it on toast with mayonnaise and drank Chianti classico. It was the closest I've come to recreating a bistecca fiorentina I ate in Florence 12 years ago. I've been chasing that dish ever since.

November 6: Walter Apfelbaum, NYY Steak at Seminole Casino, Coconut Creek, FL

Kuro at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Chef Alex Becker is amazing, and his love and passion for food is incredible.

November 6: Jared Boller, Seminole Gaming, Hollywood, FL 

I had a traditional rustic Italian meal recently. I had a wonderful Americano cocktail (simple and easy: sweet vermouth, Campari, and soda) to start. We began with a cheese and meat plate—one of my favorite things in the world! There was talleggio and prosciutto di parma thinly sliced from a traditional hand slicer; accompanied by dehydrated and fresh fruit, fresh and pickled vegetables, and olive and walnut breads. For the main course, we split a traditional margherita pizza cooked to perfection from a wood-fired oven with housemade mozzarella and a perfect San Marzano tomato sauce. We also had an al dente bucatini amatriciana with house-smoked guanciale and pecorino cheese. I'm a huge fan of homemade pasta and especially love the bucatini noodle. Finished with a Fernet Branca for dessert to digest the deliciousness.

November 14: Chris Mills, JOEY Restaurants, multiple locations in Canada and Seattle

The last great meal I ate was in Tofino, British Columbia, with chef friends after a long day of paddle boarding. Each of us brought something: there was fresh-caught seafood, some sausages from Pasture to Plate, homemade bread, and fresh sauerkraut. Although it all was very different, it worked together—very much like our friendship. We all bring something different to the table.

November 17: Claudio Cardoso, SUSHISAMBA London, London, UK

It will be impossible to match the meal and experience I had at Blue Hill at Stone Barns Center in New York.

November 19: Ciro Longobardo, Piccolo Sogno and Piccolo Sogno Due, Chicago

The last great meal I had was at Grace in Chicago. It was so memorable and well done—just impeccable. You can see and taste the passion they put into the preparation.

November 20: Kelly Fletcher, El Chorro, Tempe, AZ

Binkley's in Arizona. 37 courses of pure genius.

November 20: Joshua Hebert, Posh, Scottsdale, AZ

Rodney's Oyster House in Vancouver, British Columbia. I ate every kind of seafood just the way the kitchen prepared it. Oysters, geoduck, sturgeon, mussels, cured salmon—it was a true pig-out.

November 20: Bernie Kantak, The Gladly, Phoenix and Citizen Public House, Scottsdale, AZ 

The last great meal I had was at Jaleo in Las Vegas—beautifully simple food that really just speaks to one's soul.

November 26: Jeremy Glover, Ceia Kitchen + Bar, Newburyport, MA

One of the last great meals I had was definitely bucket-list status: I went to the French Laundry last summer. The food was very well executed, the technique was incredible, and the service was solid. Overall it was a great experience.

November 26: Justin Shoults, Brine, Newburyport, MA and Oak + Rowan, Boston

The last great meal I ate had all the right components that I think make a great experience: amazing company, delicious food and drink, and awesome service. This was at a new restaurant in Boston called Hojoko. They have a fun, modern, Japanese-themed atmosphere with good loud music. The food is all small plates and comes out as is prepared. Their fun and delicious tiki cocktails fit the theme well.


For upcoming Beard House dinners, check out our events calendar.

Hilary Deutsch is editorial assistant at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Instagram.