Here at The Dig, we like to consider ourselves food experts (or at least foodies), but what really goes into the merging of flavors and sprinkling of spices that create the gorgeous dishes we’re so used to floating out to our dining tables? We went straight to the source and asked professional chef, Alex Friedman, what really happens in the hustle and bustle behind those flapping metal doors?
Alex Friedman has worked for, and even started, multiple restaurants during his time as a chef. He currently works at The Kitchen in Snellville, a brand new farm-to-table destination dining restaurant. For a taste of the elaborate, creative dishes he’s dreamt up, The Kitchen is open Wednesday – Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons for their special Sunday Brunch. Full hours and details regarding events and menu updates can be found at thekitchenatsummitchase.com.
What exactly does “farm-to-table” mean? And why do you prefer to create menus and dishes with this concept in mind?
Honestly, farm to table means something different to everyone. Technically, all natural food comes from a farm somewhere, so every restaurant is farm to table. Some restaurants use local strawberries in one place and call themselves farm to table. The term has become slightly played out. For me, it’s about supporting local Georgia farms. It’s about showing people that the chefs aren’t the rockstars, the farmers are. It’s about using the freshest ingredients in a way that showcases their beauty and flavors. My menus reflect beautiful yet simple food that allows the ingredients to be the star of the show, not the process.
Is the extra time that goes into preparing a dish completely from scratch worth it? Why or why not?
Of course it is. Besides the fact that it’s healthier because it’s unprocessed and from scratch, you can taste the difference. You can taste the love, time, and attention given to each dish.
How is The Kitchen different from other restaurants you’ve worked at?
Every restaurant and kitchen is different, but also eerily the same. I’ve spent most of my career working for smaller, independent restaurants so there is a familiarity to each of them. The Kitchen is unique in the sense that I am changing the menu more often than my previous restaurants and I have the opportunity to meet and work with new farmers in a different local area.
What should guests expect during their first time at The Kitchen? (menus, flavors, service, atmosphere, etc.)
Expect the unexpected. There will be dishes and ingredients you recognize and some you don’t. The service staff is well trained to walk you through the menu if you don’t know what something is. This should be an experience the expands your culinary knowledge. The flavors are clean and natural. The dishes focus on the ingredients and the beauty that comes from the farm.
What is your current favorite dish to eat off The Kitchen’s menu? To make?
I like to cook. I don’t really have a favorite. A dish I love today, I’ll be bored with tomorrow.
Can you give a sneak peek at an item that may end up on The Kitchen’s menu
in the future?
Not really, because I don’t know. I have a few fan favorites I brought with me and a few more up my sleeve, but you’ll just have to wait and see.
As a chef, what does your role look like when opening a restaurant?
It’s different each time. I’ve opened 5 restaurants over the last 23 years and it’s never the same. In a nutshell, you’re kind of responsible for anything and everything. From construction to hiring, menu development to sourcing, and of course PR. For some reason, the chef is always the face. There’s always a lot to do and more waiting on your list. But it’s fun, it’s a challenge. I really enjoy the process.