Derik Moran of Nick and Eddie: chef chat, part 2
And today we return with our second installment of chef chat with Derik Moran of Nick and Eddie. As this young chef breathes new life into the restaurant with an enthusiastic and affordable menu, he also sustains the rocking attitude of Nick and Eddie. Today we learn more about Moran's recent creations, and his background and influences. You can read part 1 of our chat here.
Head chef. At 24 years old, a 14-year veteran of restaurant kitchens.
What is your favorite dish on the menu? Right now I love the tonarelli with scallops, wild mushrooms, and chorizo.
If you could put any dish on your menu, what would it be? I would love to be in a place where more offal was accepted, and lots of fresh game--like in southern France, that's what they do. I run specials with those things, though. You will see that stuff on the bar plates--that is my chance to play and have fun.
What is your favorite knife or kitchen tool? My spoon and my towel. I need both of those for everything, I really do. You can get by with a spoon, a towel, and one knife...and my hands.
What is the hardest lesson you've learned? Someone once told me to remember that you are not the only person in the kitchen. I always try to catch myself if I am being arrogant or cocky. It is so important to be humble, gracious, and respectful of everyone. You have to occasionally stop and do a personality check-- it's easy to get a big head.
What are your favorite cookbooks? Anything that is a good resource, really. I am not huge into celebrity chefs. I like old- world cookbooks, country cookbooks that are beautifully done. I also have some old Southern cookbooks--I really like Big Mama's Cookbook, also Michel Bras' The Essence of Food was a big influence.
Do you draw much from traditional Wisconsin cooking, having growing up there; i.e., church cookbooks, hot dish, and the like? No, not really much of that stuff, but I do a chicken and dumplings that is a little play on that [not to mention a rocking walleye fish and chips].
We'll return tomorrow for part 3 of Chef Chat with Derik Moran, where the wonderboy will share a recipe with us.
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