On the Line: Chef Ross Warhol
Name: Chef Ross Warhol
Current Location: Alinea, Chicago
Current Title: Stagiaire
Years behind the stove: 5
Brought up in the kitchen of the venerable Daniel’s, Chef Ross Warhol took his formal training at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone where he graduated at the top of his class. Since then he’s held the title of executive chef at the Chautauqua Institution’s stunning Athenaeum Hotel, and more recently spent several months as an intern at elBulli in Spain, an exclusive restaurant whose highly inventive take on modern cuisine has earned it a ranking among the top three in the world for the last decade (S. Pellegrino, World’s 50 Best Restaurants). Currently, Warhol is at Alinea in Chicago under the watchful of eye of the brilliant chef, Grant Achatz. Alinea, an austere and exacting restaurant where food intersects with both folly and intellect, was recently named America’s #1 restaurant. Warhol is there, deepening his own culinary experience and understanding in hopes of one day returning home to share his knowledge and vision with WNY diners.
What most guests don’t realize: Being a chef isn’t always as glamorous as they make it out to be on Food Network. Sure, we have fun, but don’t be surprised to find us scrubbing pots in the dish pit when the dishwasher calls in sick.
Favorite after-work beverage: Hmmm … a gin and tonic is always nice.
Best band to cook by: O.A.R., but there are times you can find me dancing to the Vandersons or Jud Q in the Black Hole.
Restaurant I’m dying to try: The Fat Duck in Bray, London. Chef Heston Blumenthal is such a creative chef, recreating traditional dishes from the 17th and 18th century with a modern twist.
Food no chef should love, but I do anyway: My go-to food after a night of work is cottage cheese and Frank’s Red Hot sauce. I know it sounds strange but if you try it once, you’ll be hooked for life.
What Buffalo’s food scene really needs: Pintxo/tapas bars. Some of the best nights in Spain are spent going to these bars, getting a glass of wine or beer and a few bite-size snacks, and then moving onto the next one.
My go-to food reference cookbook: The Flavor Bible (Little, Brown and Co., 2008). It is filled with tons of information about flavor profiles and what ingredients pair well with one another.
If I were buried in a graveyard of chefs, my tombstone would say: “Pass the salt.”
When you’re away, what Buffalo food or restaurant do you miss most? What Buffalo food don’t I miss? I miss the Buffalo food scene a lot because it is only growing bigger and better. But the three foods I miss the most are Casa Di Pizza’s white pizza, whoopee pies from Delish, and, of course, Mighty Taco.
What’s next? I have been in contact with the Fat Duck and they are on my radar for late fall of 2011. I feel like a kid in a candy store; there are so many exciting things going on in the culinary world and I want to experience them all. Ultimately, I want to bring everything I’ve learned back to Buffalo, where my heart is.