With over ten years of culinary experience in Washington under some of our finest chefs, Andrew Markert now has a kitchen to call his own. Starting this month, Andrew is taking over as Executive Chef at of Tallula and EatBar. We were able to snag a few minutes of his time to learn more about him and his future plans.
What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
The dishwasher would be my favorite kitchen gadget. Granted, they have been around since 1850, and have been a staple in every kitchen since, but without them, it would be hard to keep a kitchen running at a steady pace.
What is the most overrated food/technique in restaurants today?
I feel that the sous vide technique is a little over-rated, although we do use it at Tallula. I feel it has be come the modern chef’s go-to and takes away from the art of cooking.
If you were to open a restaurant with a different type of cuisine than what you are cooking now, what would it be?
I very much enjoy the style of food I am doing now – fun takes on New American cuisine – but if i had to choose a different cuisine, I would like to open a small restaurant and cook food like my mother and father made for me growing up: family-style and very simple fare. I am from Baltimore, so I would use lots of seafood and fresh ingredients. Food has always been a big family event to me, with crab feasts and large family gatherings, so if I wasn’t cooking at Tallula and EatBar, this is what I’d choose to do.
What is your favorite local product or purveyor to work with?
This area has so much to offer in the way of local produce, seafood, and meats as well as amazing cheeses, but I think that my favorite things are the local fruits, fresh from the farms. I use to grow my own produce in southern VA, and have always had fresh fruits like cantaloupes, raspberries, strawberries at my disposal. I love cooking with them and finding new ways to incorporate them in my menus.
What is your biggest customer pet peeve?
My biggest pet peeve is when a customer orders a menu item, but asks to change the accompaniments on the plate. I take a lot of time planning my menus and figuring out which flavors and textures work with one another. When a customer mixes it up, it changes the dish completely – often times for the worse – and I hate to think of my food and talent being judged in that capacity. It is akin to asking Vincent Van Gogh if he can include a little sunshine in his “Starry Night”.
What do you drink/eat after work?
If I am hanging out with friends after work, I am a ketel one and tonic drinker. I also enjoy a good glass of bourbon. I try to eat before I get done with work, but if I find myself at home and hungry before bed there’s nothing like a bowl of cereal!
What is your favorite thing to cook at home?
My dad’s recipe for meatballs is astounding. Great on pasta or as a sandwich the next day, but if you want the recipe, you’ll have to plan a trip to Roanoke, VA and catch him in the act, because I have been sworn to secrecy!