Compliments of the Chef with Bridget Batson

Compliments of the Chef with Bridget Batson

This week, Chefs Feed met up with renowned chef Batson at her restaurant in the Financial District.

December 6, 2013
CF: I'm best known for my _______ but I can make one hell of a _______. 
BB: Iberian/Spanish cuisine; jook 

CF: Three words your sous chef would use to describe you. 
BB: Fair but nagging. 

CF: What are you most excited about right now in your restaurant? 
BB: In addition to the regular menu, we're doing specials for our Secreto Mondays ("Secreto" is a great cut from the Ibérico pig). There's always a chef's pick of the paella that changes every week, so it's fun. Patrick and I figure out what our "secret" ingredients are going to be over the weekend to surprise our patrons with on Mondays. This past week, our paella had blue prawns and oxtail, and the other day it was braised rabbit meatballs. 

CF: Which chef would you drop everything to stage with? 
BB: Quique Dacosta at his eponymous restaurant in Dénia, Spain. It would take me completely out of my comfort zone. 

CF: Insider tip from the kitchen for diners. 
BB: When you're at Gitane order the black rice, only because it's such a favorite item for me right now and people are freaked out about trying it. The secret to getting it off your teeth? Rosé. 

CF: Message to professional food critics. 
BB: Reviews need to be heartfelt and special, not just fluff with no substance. It's got to be pretty but also substantial. I feel as if things can often be passed over by, say, the glamour of the room, which I understand should be a part of what you're reviewing. However, reviews are sometimes too focused on the outside influences of the restaurant and not focused enough on the food. 

CF: Under-the-radar item that your guests can order tonight. 
BB: Jamón ibérico. It's something people don't really know about and therefore they don't order it. It's acorn-fed, black-footed pig, and there's so much fat in it with tons of marbling that your body temperature will literally melt it in your mouth. There are very few places in the city that have it. 

CF: One piece of advice for aspiring young chefs. 
BB: Drop the ego. Aspiring chefs spend so much time being this and that. They're not paying attention or learning because they're always trying to "1-up" each other. 

CF: What's for family meal tonight? 
BB: This is terrible, but it's probably going to be iced coffee for everybody. Sometimes we'll make them in-house, but there are also runs to Starbucks, depending on who wants to bolt out for a minute.