Josh Monopoli, chef de cuisine of Black Cat & Bramble & Hare, on trustafarians, farm-to-table and food hangups
Weirdest thing you've ever eaten: I've had rooster testicles, smoked tripe stew, brains, whole-roasted lamb hearts stuffed with tongue and kidneys and pigskin banh mi. But the weirdest thing would have to be pork lung. I'm not going to say where it came from, in case the feds are listening, but I had my hands on one set of beautiful lungs. After some searching online, it seemed a soup was in order: ginger, anise, mushrooms, Tasmanian pepper berries, and I think some other stuff slowly cooked with the roasted and diced lungs. Weird? Yes. Good? Eh, I'd make it again.
Favorite dish on your menu: Sourdough doughnut stuffed with duck-liver mousse topped with grapefruit marmalade. It's like a big fluffy ball of rich, creamy, tangy love.
Biggest menu bomb: I tried to make tableside tofu...and never got there. Trying to get to where it tastes good is quite a feat, but I'm gonna do it some day.
Most humbling moment as a chef: Introducing my parents to chef Linton Hopkins, the exec chef-owner of Five Forks Restaurant Group in Atlanta, and having him tell them how much he appreciated me being a part of his restaurant.
What's your dream restaurant? A small, fifteen- to twenty-seater, where there's just one seating every day. It'd be very casual, with personal service, and everyone eats ten to fifteen courses of food, some plated all sexy, while some would be served family style. It could work.