Kevin Adey (“pronounced like the number ‘eighty,’” he told me) hopes to keep his carbon footprint as narrow as possible. Most restaurants go through hundreds of animals each year just to use select parts. But, in the restaurant in which Adey works, he limits himself to only twelve cows and twenty-four pigs each year. “This forces us to use as much of each animal as possible. If you want pork chops, we’ve only got a few each week. Rib-eye? We only serve it every other week.” His customers appreciate this mindfulness. “I’m lucky to have diners who eagerly explore and appreciate the less-popular parts of animals, which can be every bit as delicious as the more common cuts.” He intends to continue this minimalist approach to cooking in his own restaurant, which he hopes to open in his Bushwick neighborhood in a few months.

I spent a morning with Adey at the Union Square Green Market shopping for produce. Afterwards, we headed to his home in Brooklyn, where he cooked me two dishes and mixed me a couple of Absolut cocktails.

Adey arrived at the market with a short shopping list. “I like to keep things simple,” he said. First stop: fresh herbs. And after? Exploring a sea of garlic.

We hopped on the L Train with our produce and headed to Bushwick. Arriving back at Adey's Bushwick apartment, the first step was to pick through the fresh herbs.

Adey wanted to cook one dish that any home cook could easily reproduce. So he trussed a chicken, rubbed it with herbs, and roasted it in the oven, basting it with pan juices a few times. After the chicken turned golden brown, he took the bird out of the skillet and added potatoes and romanesco broccoli florets. He turned the vegetables in the hot fat until they took on some color and crisped up on the outside.

To pair with the roasted chicken, Adey made gooseberry bellinis. He started with a thick nectar made from gooseberries that he had found at the Union Square Green Market. The nectar, which was slightly oxidized shade of green, turned into a sunny yellow when he added the Absolut Vodka and topped the glasses off with Champagne. It was a bright and light drink for a mid-day meal.

For Adey’s second dish, he wanted to make something that every home cook could make, but probably wouldn’t attempt on a regular basis. “Freshly made pastas will be the centerpiece of the restaurant I’m opening. We’ll also have a wood-fired oven for roasting meats.” Adey, who was raised in an Italian family in upstate New York, loves making pasta. For our lunch, he rolled out sheets of velvety, yellow egg pasta, and cut them into wide strips of pappardelle.

Adey begins preparing one of the few components of a traditional ragù alla Bolognese: carrots.

He simmered skinned tomatoes together with the grated carrots and ground lamb meat to make a lamb ragù (he wanted to make a pork ragù, but we couldn’t find pork at the market). When the ragù was finished, he tossed in the pappardelle. Swirling the pan, he coated the pasta with the bubbling sauce.

Adey made a second Absolut cocktail to pair with the pappardelle. He started with ice and Absolut. He added some whole milk that he had purchased at the market, and topped off the drink with a healthy pour of homemade Irish cream that he had made from whiskey, coffee, and sweetened condensed milk.

One last grating of cheese over the steaming pasta. And the final meal was presented. Here, the roasted chicken with potatoes and romanesco is to the left, egg pappardelle with lamb ragù to the right.

Adey’s cooking and his cocktails were as simple as his short shopping list. But, as his dishes and his cocktails proved, simplicity doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor.

Bonjwing Lee

The Next 75 Miles Story

Brian Dunsmoor

Brian Dunsmoor

Next up, Bonjwing travels to Los Angeles to meet with Brian Dunsmoor. Inspired by his Southern upbringing and what he found at Santa Monica's farmers market, Dunsmoor cooks up a perfect fall, albiet spicy, meal.

See Brian's Haul