Hot, Lukewarm, and Freezer-Burned With Chef Joe Ritchie

Each week we ask a pro what’s hot, lukewarm, and freezer-burned in the food world. This week’s guest: Joe Ritchie, chef at mkt.

HOT: Wood-fired cooking. It’s probably one of the easiest ways to incorporate a distinct flavor into your food, and possibly the oldest form of indirect seasoning known to man. Yet it requires some real technique, not to mention some expensive hardware. Look to see applewood phased out by dried free-range cow pies a la Mongol herdsmen.

LUKEWARM: Pickles and ferments. Another ancient practice that comes in and out of fashion constantly. There are pickled items on almost every menu in the city (including mine), but the frenzy may be subsiding.

FREEZER-BURNED: “Urban sprawl” style plate-ups. Ultimately most restaurant patrons expect their food to taste really good and also look nice. Chefs who spread the individual components of a dish all over the plate are expending way too much effort on all the wrong things. Flavor first!

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