Butter Restaurant. Butter serves innovative American cuisine with a green-market inspired menu. Guarnaschelli then expanded this innovative vision to The Darby, a new modern dining hot spot with ever-popular crispy potatoes we now have the recipe to – and yes, we’re about to share it with you. Guarnaschelli brings her flawless palate to other frontiers as well; a regular judge on Food Network’s Chopped, Guarnaschelli resides at the helm of the network, as the host of both Alex’s Day Off and The Cooking Loft. Like any great new icon, we can’t help but check out what this one’s up to…Can you describe what your ideal food day would be? Where would you go?
I really love shopping for food as much as I like cooking it. My ideal day would begin at the market with loads of fresh produce. I’d bring it home and cook with some friends. It might involve some Champagne as well.
What are your favorite places to travel for inspiration? Where do you go there?
I love America, and I am a sucker for great local ingredients. Charleston, South Carolina is a great example. There are so many great chefs there. There is a bona fide food community that revolves around the local ingredients. Some of my favorite places are Fig, Hominy Grill and Husk. I also love Los Angeles. There’s something about wandering around the Santa Monica Market that is so zen. If I could cook those asparagus and artichokes every day, I would. Some of my favorite places to eat include Joan’s On Third and Son of a Gun.
Where would you like to travel for inspiration that you haven’t been to yet?
This is a long list of places that changes all the time. Currently topping my list are Sweden, Ireland and Australia.
What ingredients make everything better? Which do you find overrated? Why?
A pinch of sugar makes everything better. Sometimes vegetables are missing just a touch of sweetness.
A splash of Worcestershire sauce can solve a lot of problems, too. It adds a “cooked in” salt taste.
Garlic can save dishes when they taste a little too sweet.
What restaurants do you consider underrated?
Hearth restaurant in New York City. It has been a longtime favorite of mine.
What is your go-to recipe when cooking for family and friends?
When in doubt, I always say make whoopie pies.
If you’re going to go eat in New York, besides at your own restaurants, what places do you go to?
What are your favorite other cities for food? What spots do you go to there?
See above answer for Charleston and LA.
If you could pick a chef to be in the competitive arena with, that you haven’t yet gone up against, who would it be? Why?
Do enough of these competitions and you start to realize your biggest competition is yourself. I’d rather focus on getting out of my own way than picking opponents.
What ingredient would you like to be assigned?
Artichokes, Scallions, Sunchokes
What ingredient would you dread?
Is there anything in all your dishes, at both The Darby & Butter Restaurant that screams “Alexandra?”
I hope not…My favorite dishes at The Darby are the Charcuterie Platter and Grilled Octopus appetizers.
Could you give us some of your menu favorites from The Darby & Butter Restaurant?
Butter: Cavatappi Pasta and Raspberry Beignets
The Darby: The Tomahawk Steak and House-Made Charcuterie Platter
Is there a restaurant recipe you’re willing to share with us?
See below recipe (Crispy Potatoes with Shallots) for one of our most simple and popular side dishes from The Darby.
What would your last meal be, and who would it be with?
Bowls of pasta at The Uffizi Gallery (in Florence, Italy) with my family
Are there any iconic chefs or restaurateurs you’ve always looked up to?
Sophie Pic, Guy Savoy and Jonathan Waxman
Who would you still like to work with, that you haven’t worked with yet?
This is a long list!
What’s always in your refrigerator and always on your grocery list?
Always in fridge: Lemons, Champagne, Pickles
Always on my list: Shallots, Apples, Bacon
Last, and most importantly, how do you feel about new potatoes?
I love how thin-skinned they are and how quickly they cook. They are surprisingly creamy and light at the same time, making them great for potato salads or just boiled with bay leaves and salt.
*To view Alex Guarnaschelli’s recipe for Crispy Potatoes with Shallots, click here