Part two: Chef and Tell with Brandon Biederman from Steuben's
This is part two of Lori Midson's Q&A with Brandon Biederman, exec chef of Steuben's. To read part one of that interview, click here.
Rules of conduct in your kitchen: Be smart, be safe, be clean, be on time and be respectful. Eggs are white; shoes are brown. If the fries are in the takeout window for more than fifteen seconds, they get tossed. I punish my sous chefs by making them hug each other. And, most important, don't touch my damn stuff.
Favorite restaurant in America: That's a difficult question, but I guess it would be Fleur de Lys in San Francisco. I had an awesome meal there right after they reopened after a fire, and I can still remember it. I remember standing in the kitchen with Herbert Keller, the chef, drinking coffee and talking shop. We were there for hours lingering over a ten-course meal -- and every dish we had was awesome. The service was incredible, too.
Best food city in America: Denver. We've got a really happening restaurant scene right now, and it's only getting better. Don't get me wrong: I love San Francisco, Chicago and even Las Vegas. But right now I'm into Denver. It's really diverse, and our chefs are taking a lot of chances and trying to squash the myth that Denver's a cowtown -- which it's not.
Favorite music to cook by: Blues, rock, Grateful Dead and the Black Keys -- essentially everything that all my sous chefs hate. They like rap, but I'm in charge of the radio, so there's no rap. In fact, I won't let anyone else touch the radio.
One food you detest: Sweet pickles. I just can't handle them; I don't know why.
One food you can't live without: I grew up eating peas, and I still eat peas. I eat tons of them in everything I can. They add a lot of flavor, and I like eating things that are green.
Biggest kitchen disaster: On the Sunday before Labor Day in 2006 at Steuben's, the shit hit the fan. We had only been open for a few months, and we were totally unprepared for the slam of the Sunday before a holiday. We were understaffed, underprepared, underprepped -- undereverything. The wheels came off; it was horrible. The front-of-the-house people were walking around handing out gift cards to people. Definitely not the highlight of my career.