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What New York Food Does Chef Kenny Gilbert Crave "All the Time?"

Gotham Magazine

January 26, 2016

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If Oprah likes your food, you’ve pretty much made it—big time. Such is the case with beloved Top Chef alum Kenny Gilbert of Gilbert's Underground Kitchen in Fernandina Beach, Florida, who brings his Southern fare to the Beard House on January 26. Gilbert’s fun dinner starts off with a gator reception, which means the famous Florida-based chef will serve parts of alligator with gourmet riffs on favorite Southern fixin’s like South Carolina mustard barbecue sauce. The meal goes on to feature creative takes on the cuisine’s touchstones like baked Texas oyster with Tasso ham, creamed mustard greens, and cornbread gratin, and KG’s banana pudding with banana–bourbon panna cotta for dessert. We caught up with the talented toque to find out what New York food he craves “all the time,” who he wants to have dinner with, and why he loves cooking in the James Beard House kitchen.

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What is your favorite place to eat in New York and what do you order there?
Kenny Gilbert: Pig & Khao’s sisig and garlic fried rice—I crave this all the time.

In your opinion, who is a rising-star chef to watch in New York?
KG: Ed Cotton from Sotto 13.

If you could have dinner with any New York chef, dead or alive, who would it be? 
KG: Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

What New York City neighborhood do you think has the best food scene? 
KG: Warehouse District (the Chelsea Market area). 

What are you most looking forward to about the James Beard Foundation event?
KG: This will be my fourth dinner at this amazing venue. For me to be able to be featured under my own restaurant is so humbling. Just to be in the James Beard House kitchen is exciting enough.

Can you share one of your signature recipes with us? 
KG: Skillet cornbread and drop biscuits with alaga cane syrup butter, green tomato jalapeño jam, and assorted pickles (pictured above).

What kind of food does New York need more of? 
KG: Southern cuisine.

Click through for Kenny Gilbert's recipe for Skillet Cornbread and Drop Biscuits with Alaga Cane Syrup Butter, Green Tomato Jalapeño Jam, and Assorted Pickles.

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This interview was originally published on gotham-magazine.com.