One of the most important reasons we do a chef pop-up series at Harry’s isn’t even guest-related. The thinking is, break the normal routine of service for staff so that they can work closely with super talented, fun chefs they would not otherwise have the opportunity to collaborate with. The hope is that it is not only informative, but inspirational. Last night’s Greenhouse Pizzeria with chef Jonathon Sawyer at Harry’s Pizzeria was a prime example of the best case scenario. Particularly profound is his passion for history and the layers of context built into each dish on his menus. You can point out any element of any course last night, from the 170 day-aged khlii or beef fat used to cook to the “Turnips Apicius” to MSG that made the Soviet Dressing pop in the Insalata Bresaola… It all has a story and some greater meaning, that when unearthed makes everything taste that much better.
And the learning continues… Since chef de cuisine Jen Plank didn’t work hard or long enough flying in two days early from Noodle Cat in Cleveland to prepare among other triumphs, the evening’s whole, boned-out Trojan Pig stuffed with sausage made from its own meat, she’s sticking around to work in the Michael’s Genuine kitchen for the week. Don’t you just love her for that? She’ll learn our ropes and even accompany forager Christopher Padin tomorrow on his Homestead farm run. I’m excited to see how she, in turn, influences MGFD chef de cuisine Bradley Herron’s work. From reading the Noodle Cat menu, it looks like they have a lot of mutual interests when it comes to flavors and ingredients.
Find the photos from Greenhouse Pizzeria, slowly but surely uploading (out of order, argh!) to our Flickr set here. Stay tuned for the announcement of ticket sales for our next pop-up with Top Chef Kevin Sbraga here. It’s going to be a rowdy one!