Tommy Begnaud of Town Talk Diner: Chef Chat, part 3

Today we conclude part 3 of our series with chef Tommy Begnaud, who has created a new summer menu at Town Talk Diner. You can read Part 1 and Part 2 of our discussion here.

Who is your favorite celebrity chef? Alex Roberts (James Beard's Best Chef Midwest 2010, Restaurant Alma)--can we call him a celebrity now? Very funny, insightful guy who, like me, has a fondness for great beer.

Which celebrity chef do you think should shut up? Andrew Zimmern, c'mon already. . . shut up.

Who are your favorite local bands? Defiantly love the new local band Strong Bone, their drummer, Adam Harness, is amazing. Ant (of Atmosphere), Jeremy Messersmith, Black Blondie, and even Guy Storm...well, basically all the local acts that frequent the restaurant.

What would you do for a living if you could not be a chef? Probably a prophet. Definitely nothing in the construction industry (ever again).

We thank Chef Begnaud for his time and leave you with a Town Talk Diner favorite recipe to prepare at home:

Brat Burger

Ingredients Brat Spice Mix: 2 Tbsp freshly ground white pepper 2 tsp rubbed sage 1 tsp ground mace 1 tsp ground celery seed 1 3/4 pounds pork shoulder, diced 1/4 pound fat back, diced 2 Tbsp kosher salt 1 Tbsp brat spice mix

Spicy Kraut: 1 cup store-bought sauerkraut 1 Tbsp diced bacon 1/4 cup onion, sliced 2 Tbsp white wine 2 juniper berries, crushed 1/4 tsp caraway seeds 1/4 tsp mustard seeds 1 Tbsp garlic-chili paste

Garnish: 8 slices gruyere cheese 8 slices bacon, cooked Large hamburger buns, toasted


Combine all the spice mix ingredients.

To make the burgers: Toss the pork shoulder and fat back with the salt and the spice mix and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Grind through the coarse die of a grinder and form into 4 (8-ounce) patties.

To make the spicy kraut: Soak the store-bought kraut in water for 20 minutes, drain excess water. Render the bacon; add the onion and saute until translucent. Add white wine and cook off the alcohol. Add sauerkraut and spices and enough water to cover. Simmer for 1 hour. Cool. Mix in garlic-chili paste.

To assemble: Cook burger patties until medium-well. Melt 2 slices of cheeses on top of each patty. Place on toasted bun and top with spicy kraut.

Recipe by Tor Westgard, which the Food Network scaled down from a bulk recipe.

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