Today, Willis Loughhead talks about charcuterie, future plans, and a hippie trip "without the pot" that served as a spiritual sabbatical.
I read you've been involved in making charcuterie.
I have done all of the charcuterie for the past two restaurants with my
sous chef Brian. We've done ham legs on salt for months, venison
bresaola, beef bresaola, lamb pancetta, pork pancetta, and many
terrines and sausages... It has been tremendous fun and a great
learning experience for my cooks. The recipe that I have now for
merguez is wonderful, and a few of the other items I will continue
producing for my next project.
Your next project being...
My next project is based on some of the time I have spent on
sabbatical... My cooking has grown more simple. All I can say at this
moment is that one of my investors is a friend that I met more than ten
years ago when I was cooking in Miami... You never know who you are
cooking for or serving -- as a cook or server, the most important
experience is the one in front of you.
After the Modern, I realized that I needed to take a sabbatical and
travel on my own with no concerns. I was 35, single, and had recently
lost my closest relative, Genevieve, my grandmother.
I traveled from New York to Singapore and then, with no plan, I continued by
foot, rail, boat, bus, and friendly scooter through Malaysia, Thailand,
Cambodia, North Africa, and Turkey for six months. I was one man with
one bag on my shoulder... basically a hippie trip, but without the pot. On one occasion, I stood on the shore of Lang Tengah between Malaysia
and Thailand, one of 14 people on the island. It was a year after the
tsunami, but I stood there a week before a typhoon was projected to hit
and all had left (I was headed out the next morning). I saw a rainbow
and walked into the water and said goodbye to my grandmother.
Which food trends are played out?
I am tired of small composed plates -- but not small plates with simple
flavors. I will never get tired of small concepts like bowls of ramen
or japanese skewers.
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What Miami food and what restaurant do you miss most?
miss the service and fun of Clarke's, the wine selection at the gas
station on U.S. 1 (don't remember the name), and the wine list and
steak/sweetbreads from Graziano's. Plus I have always had a soft spot
for the Pelican as I was at their opening NYE party when I first moved
Been back here at all, and if so, where have you eaten?
Not often in the past few years. I headed back once before my wedding
plans got overwhelming to visit a few friends. We stopped by to say
hello to [Michael] Schwartz and Hedy [Goldsmith] since I had not seen them in an age, but I
interrupted the premeal lineup and Schwartz just had flown to New
York on the opposite flight from mine, so I missed him. Next time, I
would like to check out Pacific Time 2.0 and say hello to Jonathan [Eismann] and
his wife Nia.