Cafe Maude's Burke Forster: Chef Chat, part 2

I want to cook in the woods with you.
I want to cook in the woods with you.
courtesy of Burke Forster

Yesterday we talked with Burke Forster, the man behind the new lunch menu at Cafe Maude. Forster's style is a natural fit for Cafe Maude's focus on small plates made with ingredients that are simple and fresh. Today we continue with our second installment of Chef Chat and learn a more about the man in the apron. You can read part 1 here.

What is your favorite dish to cook at home?
Pasta--I know that is a big dish. The art of making pasta is a lot trickier than most people think. I rarely order pasta when eating out. At home I like to prepare linguine with clam sauce, or braised rabbit and pappardelle.

What is your favorite dish on your menu?

The small plate--seared Alaskan cod, which is a 4-ounce piece of fish over braised chickpeas, house-smoked tomatoes, broccolini, little neck clams, and a vegetable herb broth. Very simple. I want each element to be tasted. I don't want to over-complicate things.

If you could put any dish on your menu, what would it be?
I love braised rabbit, but I don't think many people would be receptive to it. It's too iffy.

What is your favorite knife or kitchen tool?
My six-inch Japanese knife with a rosewood handle. I can keep it sharper than any other and can do anything with it. It's the one knife I wouldn't want to live without.

What is the hardest lesson you've learned?
How not to take everything personally. It's not personal if people don't agree with you. You need to be selfless. It's not about you, it's about the guest.

What are your favorite cookbooks?
The Charlie Totter series, any of them--love them. For inspiration and dealing with life in the industry I like Joel Robuchon, who is a classic French chef. His recipes and advice are inspiring to any young cook.

What show would you pitch to the Food Network?
It would be a fishing and hunting show that I would guide. Meals would be cooked streamside or in the woods. It likely will appeal most to men, focusing on how to best work with what you've caught, trapped, or shot, prepared with simple ingredients brought in a backpack.

What has been your weirdest customer request?
I once had two ladies who wanted to split a hamburger. Not a big deal, but one wanted her half cooked medium with cheddar and bacon, and the other wanted her half cooked well with blue cheese and mushrooms. And we did it.

We'll return tomorrow with part 3 of Chef Chat with Burke Forster, in which he will also share one of his favorite recipes.

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Cafe Maude

5411 Penn Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55419


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