Atlanta restaurateur Ford Fry is busy at work, preparing for the projected March 2013 opening of his forthcoming restaurant King + Duke. Located at 3060 Peachtree Road, in the space that formerly housed Nava, King + Duke has been billed as "a new colonial American" style restaurant that will utilize early American cooking techniques. Featuring a large, open hearth, the emphasis here will be on wood roasted meats, fish, and fowl. A nod to classic American literature, the restaurant's namesake was inspired by two characters from Mark Twain's novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. According to a press release:
...the King and the Duke are two cunning grifters who deceive local townspeople. The name King + Duke is Fry's salute to a classic piece of American literature and also reflects his attempt to pull off a lighthearted deception of his own. Fry hopes diners who might perceive the restaurant as formal due to its name and location will be pleasantly surprised to discover that the atmosphere is more fun than serious.
CL recently caught up with Fry to shed some light on King + Duke's kitchen dynamic as well as chef Maxey's role in it all.
What is chef Kevin Maxey's role at King + Duke and beyond? Does he have a title?
Kevin will be a full-time member of the Rocket Farm team which encompasses JCT., No. 246, The Optimist, King + Duke and future restaurants. Currently, we are calling him a creative director.
Why bring in another opening chef this time around?
Kevin was brought in to help a growing company, not for a particular restaurant. His culinary knowledge and passion is vast and we knew we wanted him on our team so we offered him an opportunity. The timing is coincidental. All chefs report to me.
Is he planning on sticking around after the opening?
Since he is a part of the company he will be involved with all of the restaurants both before, during and after the opening. He may be at King + Duke more for a while but not exclusively.
At the Optimist, chef Adam Evans is "the man." At No. 246, Drew Belline is. Will the dynamic between you and King + Duke executive chef Joe Schafer be similar?
Joe is "the man" just as Adam is "the man." Joe's title is executive chef at King + Duke and he will be the person in the kitchen every day. He will be instrumental in the menu design and all things culinary. As with the other restaurants, it's a team effort and we are all involved in the creation of King + Duke.
Who's coming up with the actual dishes at King + Duke?
We work as a team with everyone contributing ideas for dishes. Creativity is encouraged, expected, and rewarded! Typically, at any of our openings, my passion is setting the direction of the food. We will all work together on this. Once this is set and we are all on the same page, Joe will run with it. This is really not an approval process, just an expectation that each chef will be passionate about sourcing locally, seasonally, and treating the product with respect.
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