Katy Sparks on Bussaco: "I Like Being in One Place Where People Can Find Me"
As was earlier reported, Katy Sparks is back in the kitchen, at Park Slope's Bussaco, where she's now the executive chef and co-owner, with Scott Carney. Sparks took a few minutes to talk with Fork in the Road about her new gig.
So how did your new job come about?
It really came about through [restaurant PR man] Steven Hall -- he played matchmaker. He was chatting with Scott about the direction that the restaurant needed to go in to get to the next level, and my name came up. I met Scott and his wife, Melanie, about four months ago, and we started a conversation about what it would be like to work in the borough where we lived. Scott and I are both 20-plus-year veterans of the restaurant scene. I really like his aesthetic and sensibility and like-mindedness; it seemed to make sense.
When did you start working on the menu?
A couple weeks ago; I've been refining it. It's very, very new. I'm pleased to be able to work with their chef, who's been seeing them through the past year, Kevin Adey. He's my chef de cuisine.
How did you approach changing the menu?
What struck me was that the name Bussaco wasn't really referenced in any way on the menu; it's a Portuguese name, but there were no Iberian or Mediterranean influences on the dishes. Italian, French, and Spanish are some of my favorite cuisines, so that was a jumping-off point. Also, buying locally -- it's not a conceit, it's how you have to cook if you want the best flavor. Also, I wanted to make dishes that would pair well with Scott's wine; he's one of very few master sommeliers in the country. The menu before was not really giving diners enough to pair up against and play with.
What's it like to be back in the kitchen after working as a consultant for the last few years?
It's actually much simpler, sort of -- you know what you're going to be doing everyday. In lots of ways it's a refreshing change. I also like being in one place where people can find me. Everyone has tiers of friends -- there's the tier you have over for dinner, and then other tiers who you want to see but don't get to see. So people can swing by; it feels like it's more communal.
And you get to work in the same borough you live in.
I live in Park Slope, a five- to 10-minute walk from the restaurant. So I get the best of both worlds: It's like living above the shop. It's perfect.
833 Union Street