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Interview with April Bloomfield of the Spotted Pig, Nominated for Outstanding Restaurant

Anna Mowry

April 27, 2015

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April Bloomfield

For ten years, the Spotted Pig has assuredly upheld an egalitarian ethos while also basking in enviable cultural cachet—no easy feat in one of the world’s most fickle and fastidious dining cities. Now that the restaurant has earned its first Outstanding Restaurant nomination, we discussed the Pig's enduring appeal, its under-the-radar best dishes, and more with executive chef April Bloomfield.

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JBF: Congrats on your nomination! All of our Outstanding Restaurant nominees have been operating for at least ten years. We’d love to hear your thoughts on why the Pig has been successful for an entire decade, and why New Yorkers continue to love to dine there.

AB: Thank you so much! We are thrilled to be nominated. It is such an honor to be recognized for this restaurant that means so much to me. I think people like the Pig because it offers a welcoming, comfy space where you can get delicious, consistent food. It just feels like home as soon as you walk through the door, and I think people can relate to that.

JBF: A lot of diners at the Spotted Pig come for the burger. What are some lesser-known dishes that really say “Spotted Pig” that you wish people would order more?

AB: We do indeed sell a lot of burgers, but we also have some really amazing salads and veggies as well. If you haven't had the pig ear salad, you're missing out! Overall, I am pretty happy with the balance. There will always be favorites but I think our guests also want to try new, seasonally inspired dishes as well.

JBF: The Spotted Pig has made you synonymous with the gastropub. Obviously it’s been crucial to your success, but we’ve also read that you don’t want to be put in a box, and that you love to learn. Imagine that you had unlimited time: what cuisines, techniques, or dishes would you really like to delve into and master?

AB: Indian food, I would love to cook more Indian dishes. I love all of the warm spices traditionally used in the cuisine. It would also be fun to spend some time in Japan and go work in a few kitchens to learn more about Japanese cooking techniques and styles.

JBF: Your new cookbook, A Girl and Her Greens, will be available April 21. Why did you decide to do an all-vegetable cookbook? What are some of your favorite recipes from the collection?

AB: I'm known for loving everything porcine. A lot of people don't know that I love to cook and eat vegetables, and I wanted to show a different side of myself by doing a vegetable-focused book. I love the pot-roasted artichokes, as well as the recipe for dosas with curried cauliflower and yogurt.

JBF: Tell us about one really great meal you had recently.

AB: Semilla in Brooklyn. Everything was so delicious and refreshing. I enjoyed about ten really exciting courses, and the best part was that I was able to leave the restaurant not feeling too full.

JBF: Last question: Will you be attending the Beard Awards in Chicago this year? If so, where would you like to eat during your visit?

AB: Yes! I'm really looking forward to the Awards this year. I would love to go eat at Girl and the Goat or at any of Paul Kahan's restaurants. I would also like to dine at Alinea, but I suppose I'd already need to have a reservation for that and I am only in town for a day or two!

The 2015 James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant is presented by Acqua Panna® Natural Spring Water.

Anna Mowry is senior editor at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.