Chef’s Corner With Brad Farmerie
You know what the folks on the outside are saying, but have you ever gotten the story from someone on the inside?
journeyPod goes behind-the-scenes in Chef’s Corner with some of the country’s most esteemed, critically-acclaimed, award-winning (and naturally, our favorite) culinary masterminds to get the real scoop!
As the first of many chef interviews to be featured on journeyPod, we’ve chosen chef Brad Farmerie, the magic behind New York hot spot “Public” – for a little one-on-one.
Farmerie brilliantly combines the culinary skills he learned as a boy from his mother in Pittsburgh with the expertise of his mentors from Le Cordon Bleu (London’s legendary culinary institute), along with his extensive travels to the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. The result: innovation at its best!
Come with us… as we check him out.
How did you get your start in cooking?
I started cooking so I could make money to get me through college at Penn State. That necessity turned into my real passion, and I decided to pursue it with reckless abandon. I moved to London to take a one-year cooking course at Le Cordon Bleu, and somehow one-year turned into an eight-year stay in the UK.
Did you learn to cook at home, in addition to cooking school?
My family has always been interested in great food, and my mother set the standard pretty high with fresh baked bread and vegetables straight out of the garden.
Have you traveled anywhere that has influenced your flavors and recipes?
Travel is THE inspiration for my cooking. Biggest/best trips have been backpacking through South East Asia, 6 weeks in India, a month in Morocco, traveling up the East coast of China, Korea, and then a quick stop in Japan. I also get down to Australia and New Zealand quite often, and I am heading to Scandinavia this summer. I can’t say enough about how much inspiration I get from a brief glimpse of another culture and their take on food.
If you were on Iron Chef, what ingredient would you hope would be the themed ingredient for the cooking battle?
Probably “Battle Pork”, as I dig the pig. I usually have to have an anti-swine intervention to keep me from loading our menu with too many pork products – sausages, rillette, cured, smoked, terrines, etc.
What’s your indulgence food?
Something simple. I follow a reverse Atkins Diet and pig out on pasta (with olive oil, garlic and Maldon salt), great bread, rice. It’s not that bad of a vice, is it?
Is there anything you won’t eat?
No, although I could only get halfway through a dog meat menu in Northern Vietnam. When I heard the hounds barking out back, I couldn’t keep chewing.
On a night off, where do you go to eat in NYC?
I love Mexican food, especially the simple stuff. I also like going to visit chef friends to see what they’re up to and what they’re working on.
It’s 2 a.m… you’re leaving work, where do you head for a cocktail?
I’m the biggest old man in the world. After work I may sneak into The Monday Room for a glass of wine with Ruben (our sommelier and longtime friend), but more than likely I would motor on home and treat myself to a “cocktail” of Canada Dry sparkling water fresh from the can, knowing that I have to be up and out the door in 5 hours.
What’s an upcoming trend in cooking?
Hopefully a “Back to basics.” So many of the cooks coming out of school want to make foams and use chemicals without knowing basic technique and flavor combinations. Their finished plates may look space age, but often they taste like shit.