Round Two With Johnathan Adler of Franny's: "You're Not Doing a Restaurant, You're Dining There."
|Franny's via Twitter|
There are two that really stand out. I made this sauce that I'd not been asked to make, I just took the time to make it. A chef asked for it to send to a VIP table. Then at Per Se, Thomas Keller came up to me and shook my hand and said, "You're doing very impressive work." I almost started crying. I feel really proud of what we put out here every day. I'm very proud of the cooks here.
What's your desert island food?
Probably a falafel sandwich from a particular falafel stand on King George Street in Jerusalem. It's the most awesome thing I've ever had.
What's the most pressing food issue today?
The availability of healthy food for lower income communities and children. My wife's a teacher. I see what the Department of Education calls a healthy lunch, and it's embarrassing. We need to get them delicious healthy food. It needs to be in the schools. When a kid signs up for free lunch, that shouldn't be a tradeoff for bad, unhealthy food and an unhealthy future. And we need to stop subsidizing corn and soy, and stop buying corn- and soy-based products and feeding them to people. And Monsanto, because they're going to destroy this world. I don't think I've refused service to anyone, but I'd have a hard time cooking for the CEO of Monsanto and [National Rifle Association CEO] Wayne LaPierre.
What's always in your refrigerator at home?
Pickles of some sort. Mayonnaise. Often preserved lemons, capers, and anchovies.
What's the strangest thing you've ever eaten?
Testicles that came off pigs hours before. They were brought into the kitchen, bloody, in a Ziploc bag. I braised them. One popped in the pan, and that was uncomfortable.
Favorite food-related item to give as a gift?
Really good olive oil, because it's not scary to people.
You can have anyone in the world cook for you. Who is it, and what are they making?
I want Thomas Keller to cook me a full French meal. He's masterful. Either him or my sister. My sister's an amazing cook. I want her to make me whatever's in her fridge and what she got at the farmers' market that day, and I'll leave happy, full, and a little drunk.
What's next for you?
Start a family. I just opened a new restaurant, so that's the biggest thing I have on my horizon. Democratize the menu a bit to my sous chefs and expand what we do. Make more fresh pasta. Explore pickles. Explore butchery. Start making more cheeses in-house. That's what's next for Franny's.
Hungry for more? We post a new chef interview in this space every Tuesday and Wednesday.