FOOD FOR THOUGHT with Chef Erik Anderson of Chefs Club by FOOD & WINE / by Brackett Bilodeau

Image courtesy of nashvillescene.com

Image courtesy of nashvillescene.com

The heart of NoLIta is abuzz with culinary creativity in the form of a revolutionary project fueled by Food & Wine, curated by resident Chef and Culinary Director Didier Elena along with Food & Wine’s highly lauded Best New Chefs. Each featured chef will incorporate rotating signature dishes into the menu and will also personally host exclusive tastings in an intimate studio. An innovative concept and the first of its kind to launch in New York City, Chefs Club’s inaugural visiting chef roster includes Erik Anderson of upcoming Brut in Minneapolis, Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson of Frasca in Boulder, Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene in Atlanta, and Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon in Portland. We chatted with Chef Erik, named a FOOD & WINE Best New Chef in 2012, for the skinny on his experience as a pioneering member of the project.

LA: TELL US ABOUT WHAT IT’S BEEN LIKE SO FAR TO BE A PART OF CHEFS CLUB.
EA: They asked me to do this months and months ago; I didn’t know who else was doing it until we all did this dinner upstairs at Ivanka Trump’s place. It was really more of a photoshoot than a dinner - I don’t even think any of us cooked anything. I’ve known Linton and Lachlan for a while; I really like what Gabe does and we’ve gotten to be really good friends working on this together. So we did that and, you know, a lot of construction and stuff; we looked at the space and there was, like, nothing in here, so just coming and out of the city once a month and sitting down to plan the menu with Didier.

LA: WHAT’S IN STORE FOR YOUR TASTING EXPERIENCE, SPECIFICALLY? LET’S GET A LITTLE PREVIEW.
EA: So it’s seven courses with a few little bites to start. I’ll start out with a scallop, raw, and a scallop chip and then a raw slice of scallop, like crudo, then I’ll have a little onion and dill pollen and some espelette. Then another little bite of the bonbon made with pigeon livers rolled in a little freeze-dried berries, and then we have some Jerusalem artichoke that’s been roasted and hollowed out so that it’s like a little cup. With a little creme fraiche and caviar. So just really little, simple, one-bite things to start out with.

LA: TELL US ABOUT ONE OF THE MAIN COURSES.
EA: So there’ll be pigeon, it’s going to have cranberries and glazed chestnuts, turnip, pine sauce, and cardamom leaves. And then a little egg custard, which is going to be made with roasted hay - I had to actually fly here with the hay.

LA: WE’VE HEARD ABOUT YOUR PLANS TO OPEN UP A SPOT IN MINNEAPOLIS; ANY UPDATES?
EA: So we are looking to finalize the space in the next couple of weeks, it’s going to be in the North Loop area of Minneapolis, which is right where I live. Best case scenario, we’ll start construction in July so hopefully an early fall opening. It’s still a little ways to go. It’ll be all tasting menu in the dining room and then we’ll have a fairly extensive bar program with food that’s designed specifically for the bar, a little bit simpler and more casual.

LA: DO YOU SEE YOURSELF OPENING YOUR OWN SPOT HERE IN NEW YORK IN THE FUTURE?
EA: I haven’t really given it much thought. But I never say never.

Chef Erik Anderson's tastings kick off on January 9th, 2015 and will continue on rotation throughout the year. Contact your Attaché for dining room or Studio reservations.