My question for you is about Little Goat. I was researching it last night, and there's not much out there on it!
[laughs] I know! When we first opened Girl & The Goat, we baked all breads in house, had our own butcher area, but from the get-go there was not enough space for everything. After one month, I was like, 'Let's open another restaurant! Let's move over the bread program!' But I didn't know what I wanted that next restaurant to be. Little Goat is just a cute name, so that's what we started calling it. Then we went to NYC and I realized, we should just do a diner. I want it to be the things you think of when you think of a dinner — tuna melts, pies spinning in the case?
I've never had a patty melt, but yeah, we could do that. If we do tuna, we'd poach it in house. I envision taking the simplest things you think of when you think of a diner and having fun with it. Pictures on the menu. And shakes! We're working on the space and starting to work on design. It's still so not nailed down. But for sure we are going to move our bread program over so people can come get fresh loaves of bread in the morning. And we'll have a classroom so I can teach cooking classes.
What's the ETA for Little Goat?
Probably January-February [of 2012]. It's already June, and my book comes out in September — it's called Girl in the Kitchen. We're planning a big book tour. We're going to do a big one in August in Chicago near Lolapalooza time. Then I'm heading to other cities — Seattle, Portland, LA, New Orleans, Austin, Birmingham, among others. We set a goal to raise $500,000 for Share Our Strength by the end of the year. You'll be able to track it on our website. I figure I'll go away for three days once a week for all of the fall, so? gonna wait until January-February to open the doors at the new place. [pauses] God, that sounds tiring.
What's your cookbook about?
Girl in the Kitchen is a book for the home cook. I tested them all in my home kitchen while I was getting Girl & The Goat open. It's recipes from my old restaurant, Scylla, and from growing up. I put in the recipe I did at Aspen two years ago. I did it at my house. When you actually cook at home, you get insight into what home cooks need. I had friends over giving me insight into what home cooks think.
Seems to be a trend. Andrea Reusing came out with a book, trying to connect to people rather than making it official restaurant cookbook.
At our restaurant, we don't use fancy chemicals or equipment. So even an official cookbook would probably be accessible to home cooks. But that's my cooking style — very accessible. I'm always trying to be a semi-normal person.
We're asking everyone we interview today to pose a question to the next person being interviewed. José Andrés had a question for you.
"Why didn't you come to my party?" [laughs]
His question was: Do you think young people like yourself are ready to handle the 0-60 stardom? Is it difficult to handle normal life in the kitchen once you return?
I've been dealing with it for four years now. I wasn't ready then — they don't prepare you for the craziness of what going on TV does for your life. For me, it's important to spend time in kitchen so I can be like everyone else at the restaurant. It's fitting it in without letting it affect you too much. But, yeah. It's insane.
All the people that go on Top Chef now, they have a better idea about what's going to happen afterwards. Or maybe I was just completely clueless. I didn't have a PR rep and a manager ready to go, which I think everyone now does.
How about a question for our next Eater Lounge guest, John Besh?
Why'd you drop my pink mustache on the ground last night?
No, actually: How important does he think it is for chefs to give back to the community and get involved with charitable foundations? I think chefs these days try to make as much time for it as possible. How important is it to give back and be involved in charity?