Chef Anderson, formerly of Alinea and Moto in Chicago, will be opening a new restaurant concept at Nashville’s Hutton Hotel later this Fall. We had the chance to sit down with him at the Music City Food + Wine Festival in Nashville and talk about the new restaurant, Southern food, and music! Check it out below!
When and how did you decide to become chef?
That’s a tough question. I guess I have always loved cooking and what I do, but I never really knew I was going to be a chef until later in life. I started cooking in restaurants at the age of 16. When I had my first daughter at 23 is when I started to take it a little more serious as a career. I have always loved the artistic side of cooking. I grew up watching the original Iron Chef and all of the unique ingredients they used was always intriguing to me. That’s what set me on my culinary path to France and Chicago to learn all the techniques and work underneath great chefs.
Why leave Chicago for Nashville?
I am originally from the South. I was born and raised in North Carolina. I worked under some of the best chefs in the world in Chicago and France, that is why I went there. I was really into the Michelin Star system. But I just wanted to come back closer to home. Even when I was in Chicago and working for the esteemed restaurants, one of the biggest things I noticed is they leaned towards French, Spanish, and Italian and I am Southern and American. I didn’t understand why we were not using country hams, or poaching vs. deep-frying and why we were using swiss chard over collard greens. It just didn’t make any sense. To me I felt like they were doing that with truffles and foie gras just to make it sound exotic and for people to pay more. But if you go to France or Spain, you get their food. I want to do that with Southern American food and elevate it. I think the South has a huge appreciation for our food. It’ s just about a new way to showcase it.
The 1808 Grille at the Hutton Hotel is undergoing renovations and is set to reopen this Fall, can you give us any insight as to what to look forward to?
Hopefully greatness. I am glad that I was able to design the kitchen and get on the project from the ground up versus just taking over a property. It was a way I could design my own menus and be able to do fine dining as well. I am able to do tasting dinners along with upscale casual. I get to be seen in different lights here, not just for fine dining alone.
You were the first chef to earn a star with a southern influenced tasting menu, What’s one thing every southern kitchen should be stocked with?
What’s the best thing to eat that’s deep fried?
Everything! You could deep fry a shoe and it’ll taste good.
Let’s say I am a chef and I am looking for a chef job. How do you get your name out there in the restaurant industry?
Hopefully you did something as a cook to get you in a position to get a good enough job so people are interested in what you are doing next. In other words if you were a sous chef that worked underneath a great chef or a James Beard restaurant, whatever it is that gets you to the point that investors and other restaurants want to have you as a chef. You have to prove yourself first.
Favorite music to listen to while you cook?
Old school rap like Three 6 Mafia, Project Pat, and DMX. I like country, but more of the old school bluegrass, not today’s pop country.
What are your top three US cities for food?
Nashville, Chicago, New York
What was your favorite food to eat as a kid?
Macaroni and Cheese
All-time most memorable meal.
That is a hard one, it just depends in the moment. I have a lot of great memorable meals, it is hard to say one is better than the other.
Finally, If you could eat or have a drink with one person dead or alive, who would it be and what would you have?
Snoop Dogg and Hennessey
ABOUT HUTTON HOTEL
Hutton Hotel is the touchstone of Nashville hospitality pairing inviting ambiance with unparalleled service. Mere steps away from the heart of Music City’s bustling nightlife and attractions, Hutton Hotel continues to deliver on the very promise it ushered in. Hutton Hotel is located at 1808 West End Ave., Nashville, Tenn., 37203. For more information please visit www.huttonhotel.com, call 615.340.9333 or connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.