Interview: Todd English Discusses What He Has to Learn, New Dishes, Home Cooking + Tequila

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Chef New York City

Chef Todd English has sprinkled restaurant concepts across the U.S. and even offers food in international waters. He was born in Texas, raised outside of Atlanta and became synonymous with Boston when the CIA grad opened Olives in Charlestown. English now resides in New York and recently visited the Port of Los Angeles to cook in his eponymous Italian restaurant on the deluxe Queen Victoria cruise ship. After lunch, he joined us at the bar to discuss several subjects.

What do you feel like you have to accomplish as a chef, at this stage?

One of the things about being a chef, it just never stops. I always say, “I feel like I got my bachelor’s degree at the Culinary Institute of America, and I’ve gone out in the world and I’ve been working on my Master’s and I’m still working on my Ph.D, which I’ll never witness. I’m constantly learning about food and things around the world. I’m fortunate. I’ve got a great television show. They pay me to travel around the world and eat – it’s called Food Trip – it’s on PBS. So I get to go to cool places and eat really great food and see what the world’s about, from a food standpoint. It’s amazing.

What was the most recent dish that you developed for one of your menus, and what was your approach?

I did a dish that actually was an ancient dish that we made called Cibreo. And it’s cocks combs, chicken nuggets – rooster nuggets, I should say – gizzards and liver, braised chicken thicken thighs, and it’s tossed with a tagliatelle or fettuccine. It’s a great dish, and it’s something we kind of modernized to fit today’s group, but it’s actually a dish that goes back to the Medici days.

Where is that available?

We are running that at Olives in New York right now.

What’s a dish that you like to cook at home on a regular basis?

It usually involves pasta. I sound pretty boring, don’t I? You know, I love miso in the morning. That’s my new cup of tea. Miso and tofu. It’s just hot water and miso, like a miso soup.

Where and what do you like do drink when you’re not working?

I like tequila. Where do I drink it? I’ve got a couple little haunts in New York that I go to. There’s a place called Rye that’s fun in New York. And the Biblioteca de Tequila is also a good one.

Any tequila in particular?

I tend to go back to Reserva de la Familia from Jose Cuervo or Don Julio 1942.

Learn more about Todd English on The Feast


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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