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Q&A with JBF Taste America All-Star April Bloomfield

Maggie Borden

October 07, 2015

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From burgers and broccoli to pigs’ heads and potatoes, JBF Award winner April Bloomfield has made an indelible mark through her attentive and soulful interpretations of myriad cuisines. After a career garnering accolades for her nose-to-tail and root-to-stalk cooking at her restaurants in New York City and San Francisco, Bloomfield has now turned her eyes to a real piece of Americana: burgers. Fortunately, there’s no Brit we’d trust with our buns more. Bloomfield is helping us celebrate the diversity of American cuisine as an All-Star on our Taste America national epicurean tour, where she’ll collaborate with JBF Award winner Donald Link on an exclusive dinner in New Orleans. We chatted with the iconic chef before her trip down to the Big Easy about her latest culinary obsession, where she dines out in the Big Apple, and what's drawing her attention to Paris.

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JBF: What are you most looking forward to eating in New Orleans?

April Bloomfield: I’m really looking forward to eating crawfish at the market! The ones made with Old Bay seasoning. It’s so delicious to just sit there and have them with a beer.

 
JBF: Is there a technique or ingredient you just can’t get enough of right now?

AB: I’m obsessed with fresh, fruity chile peppers like ají dulces and habaneros. I was just in Jamaica and had raw chopped scotch bonnets on my ackee and saltfish. They were super spicy—it was delicious.

 JBF: What are some of your favorite bars and restaurants in New York City?

AB: I love Old Town Bar for a beer on 18th and Park, and for restaurant, I'd have to pick Maialino.

JBF: What dish or ingredient is your culinary spirit animal?

AB: Anchovies—they’re usually a hidden element, but they’re complex and full of umami.

JBF: Some of your best-known dishes are high-end burgers, from the Spotted Pig’s Roquefort burger to the lamb burger at the Breslin. What inspired you to tackle the more casual model of a burger joint with your new project with the Pod hotel chain?

AB: I’ve always wanted to open a burger spot, with the freedom to do as many special burgers as I want, while keeping some classics at the same time. I just want to create a fun environment with good cocktails and beers on tap. And pie!

JBF: You write in A Girl and Her Greens that you grew up largely eating frozen and canned vegetables. How has the landscape changed since then, for both children and adults, and what impact do you think that will have for the future of food and agriculture?

AB: Yes, I grew up eating a lot of frozen veggies, but the future looks great thanks to the efforts of people like Alice Waters, who've helped to teach children where food comes from and the importance of eating well. It’s amazing—and it's only going to get better.

JBF: Where do you try to shop for ingredients when cooking away from home?

AB: I always go to farmers’ markets and farm stands when I'm traveling.

JBF: What city is next on your "must-hit" list?

AB: I’d like to go back to Paris, actually. I haven’t been in awhile, and I’m slightly obsessed with roasted chicken—and I’ve heard that there’s a place there that does an amazing roasted chicken. And I’d always like to spend more time in London or Montreal.

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Get details about Taste America and buy tickets here. Follow the festivities on Twitter with #JBFTasteAmerica. You can also follow the adventures of #bittybeard, our portable homage to James Beard, as he travels around the country.

 
The James Beard Foundation's Taste America would not be possible without the support of these generous sponsors:

 
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