So, what have you been up to for the last three months?
I was at the Greyfield Inn since the start of November and returned for New Year's Eve to catch Pura Vida's last night. I've been in Philadelphia, Connecticut, and New Hampshire for the past month (training, seeing family, and skiing in the mountains).
Why did you leave in the first place?
I left to clear my head and relax. I needed a break from the past few years and everyone. It was a very stressful 2012. It was a necessary change that needed to happen or I was going to snap or go crazy.
Learn anything cool while you were there?
I did learn a lot about myself and got to work on the pastry side every night. It was a challenge to keep that side changing. I also got to work with the farmer on a daily basis. It was a task to cook breakfast, lunch, dinner every day, but I did get to work closer with the house manager and would fish once a week.
And now you're the executive chef at Barcelona. How did that come about?
Barcelona was looking for a chef and I was looking for that next something. They wanted to bring me up to a couple locations up north for me to do a tasting and for them to have me taste from one of their chefs. Their vision and dedication up north showed me that the Atlanta location has great potential. We both kinda said yes at the same time after my tasting.
Have any experience with Spanish food?
I worked close with [Dominique] Filoni and he has a lot of Spanish and Italian influences in his cooking. Barcelona is more a loose term on Spanish and grab [influences] from the Mediterranean a lot.
Barcelona is a bit more corporate than your previous Atlanta gigs. What kind of freedom will you have with the menu?
They like to call it small corporate. But every restaurant needs structure and what they have in place really works. They have a core list of items that havent changed in years, but also a large portion of the menu is meant to change by region and influences of the chef.
Should diners expect to see many changes?
I don't have any big plans. As a company we're bringing new changes to the layout of the menu and taking some of the outdated items off the core list. But everything is really about the guest, so if they get upset you could see some of those items come back.
Fair enough. And welcome back. Do you plan on sticking around this time?
I'm here for the long haul.
I mean we eat shrimp and lobster and crab which are basically sea bugs even…
I wonder if Cliff will wait until next month to pontificate on the Amy's Baking…
What did Wayne eat?
Cliff, what did you think of the chicken heart taco with kimchi? I miss the…
- I don't think it's Navarro Carr but maybe I'm mixing things up. No pun…
I like the bartender that was at Sound Table a year and a half ago…