Maialino's Nick Anderer: His Earliest Food Memory, Strange Requests From Diners, and What's in his Fridge

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Nick Anderer at Maialino
Yesterday, we caught up with Maialino's executive chef, Nick Anderer, about the restaurant's signature suckling pig, and the masculinity of Roman food.

Today, in the second half of the interview, we talk about Anderer's earliest food memory, the trials and tribulations of swiss chard stems, eccentric diners, and the contents of his home refrigerator.

What's your earliest food memory?

Probably meatloaf, creamed corn, and mashed potatoes. Straight-out-of-the-can creamed corn. I still ask for it on my birthday, when my mom asks what I want.

Biggest mistake you ever made in the kitchen?

Probably overcooking swiss chard stems. I know it sounds crazy. But at Gramercy Tavern we had braised swiss chard stems, and it would take hours and hours to cut them, and only a few minutes to cook them. If braised just a minute too long, you'd have to start all over and do it again.

What's the strangest request you've ever gotten from a diner?

I've had people say they want nothing green--nothing the color green. We get special requests all the time, they come a dime a dozen, and I just let it roll off my back. I've had people order the braised lamb, but they want it medium rare.

Which is impossible. So what do you do in that case?

I say yes, and we do our best to find a piece that's rosier than the rest and hope they like it. Or I'll suggest something else, like the lamb chop. But if they say: No, I really want that braised lamb...

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