So far so good. Trattoria Tosca Chef Adam Vickerman says since the Linden Hills restaurant expanded service to include dinner last month things have been "going really well, really busy." Hot Dish has heard nothing but good things about the magic Vickerman seems to be working, including from the Strib's Rick Nelson, who recently declared a meal there "an unabashed pleasure," and "skillfully handled," alongside other compliments.
Vickerman, who is from the Apple Valley/Rosemount area, attended culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Mendota Heights, from which he went on to work at the former Restaurant Levain under local culinary rockstar Steven Brown (formerly of Porter & Frye). Vickerman eventually found himself heading up Cafe Levain (Restaurant Levain's reincarnation), which is what he was doing before being scooped up by Tosca owner Harvey McLain. Hot Dish caught up with Vickerman recently for a quick Q&A:
1) What did you have for breakfast? A chocolate croissant and orange juice (from Turtle Bread, adjacent to Tosca). It's a morning ritual Vickerman says.
2) How did you get interested in cooking professionally? It all started with home ec class in middle school, Vickerman says. "We made pasta, and ever since then I've been obsessed with food."
3) What is your favorite cooking tool? "It'd be a toss-up between a pair of good serving/plating spoons (Vickerman likes the Gray Kunz brand, which you can find at JB Prince -- as does Heidi's Sous Chef David Vlach, incidentally. "Those are really nice," Vickerman says.) and a fish spatula (which you can get at most cooking stores). Vickerman is left-handed, which means he has to special order some things, including the fish spatula, which he gets through Amazon.
4) Are you reading anything right now? Four things, actually, Vickerman says: all Italian cookbooks. "The Babbo Cookbook" by Mario Batali, "Il Viaggio di Vetri" by Mark Vetri and others, "A16" by Nate Appleman and others, and "Urban Italian" by Andrew Carmellini and Gwen Hyman. "You can learn a lot about why they're at the top of the game," Vickerman says. "They're not just spaghetti and meatballs and alfredo sauce."
5) Where do you go eat on your days off? On those rare days off, Vickerman says he's ever thankful for the 112 Eatery's late-night hours. He says he goes there a couple times a month. "I've never been there before 10 p.m.," he says. Vickerman says he also likes Restaurant Alma, La Belle Vie, Saffron, and Heartland (where he went on his last day off).