Brandon Shapiro is the Chef de Cuisine at Bethesda’s Wildwood Kitchen. Next month on August 9th he and Lior will be doing their second spice dinner together. This month we sit down with Brandon to get to know him better and talk spices!
We’re delighted to be joining you for a Spice Dinner on Wednesday August 9th. The first one was splendid and we are excited to build on it and introduce more people to the magic of spices. In this interview we’d love to get a better sense of who you are, what inspires you, and what you love about spices.
First, what’s your favorite thing about your job?
My favorite thing about being the chef at Wildwood Kitchen is getting to work with an amazing team in the kitchen to create interesting and memorable dishes that use the very best ingredients we can serve – all with the tremendous encouragement and expert guidance of chef / owner Robert Wiedmaier. The guests who come to Wildwood Kitchen are very much like family as we are happy to welcome so many from the surrounding residents in our restaurant several times a week. We would like to think that they consider us an extension of their dining room table. I look forward to their next visit and to surprise them with new flavors of the season.
This month we sit down with Adam Quirk of Cardinal Spirits of Bloomington, Indiana, creator of Terra Gin, using a custom spice blend from us here at La Boîte. This gin has been available in Indiana since last year, but starting this month will be available here in New York!
We’re very excited to welcome Terra gin to the NYC market in June. Do you know where it will be available?
Sure do! We’re being distributed by Blueprint Brands*, a fantastic distributor that we’re very excited to be working with. Terra Gin will be available initially at Mash & Grape, and at Restaurant Daniel, where it will be featured in the table-side cocktail this month. In addition, we’ll be at La Boîte from 3-6pm on Monday the 26th, pouring Terra and a couple other fun products, come see us!
Lior and Elizabeth Falkner are presenting together for the Zero Waste Food Conference at the Institute of Culinary Education at the end of the month. Here we get her thoughts on food waste, a recipe, and what she’s up to next!
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions! We’re excited to be collaborating with you.
• What’s your philosophy when it comes to minimizing food waste?
I value the energy it takes on a biological and universe level as well as the human energy to cultivate ingredients and distribute them, so I don’t over purchase and I try to use everything for something. It is something I constantly am talking about with different audiences and in recipe development.
Next month Lior will be down at Zahav to cook a spice dinner with Michael Solomonov. Here we explore Michael’s thoughts on cooking, spices, and dreams.
© Michael Persico
• We’ve had a long relationship with you and you use quite a few of our blends in your restaurant. This dinner is a bit different since it is based on simple 3-5 ingredient blends from the Spice Companion. What would you like people to walk away having experienced?
We love the idea of cooking for the spice. We oftentimes start with the protein first – but I love utilizing the spice as the star of a dish – working essentially, backwards. I want each guest to walk away and be reminded of something. A memory awakened through each course.