Thursday, May 3, 2012
I hope you had an opportunity to read Part I of Tinsel & Tine's interview with movie theater turned restaurant owner Tom Brandt. If not, here's the link: Brandt Part I.
The focus of the first post was on Tom's career and family history owning movie theaters and his love of film and the cinema. Part II focuses on Brandt's passion for his newest venture, Oaxaca Kitchen (New Haven, CT), the restaurant he co-owns with chef Prasad Chirnomula.
T & T: What makes Oaxaca Kitchen unique besides Chef Prasad?
Pato a la Brasos
We also feature a selection of designer Tacos filled with choices such as: Baha Red Snapper, Pork Belly and Duck Confit. And we create our own hot sauces in the kitchen ranging from not so hot to “Ouch”. The deserts are also spectacular featuring the Ultra Moist Tres Leches and The Pepita scented Caramel custard.
T & T: I'm salivating! I'd have to order all three tacos. Were you wild about Mexican Cuisine before Oaxaca Kitchen?
Gaucamole in Oaxaca Kitchen
To this day, I always have a supply of green Hatch chilis in my fridge ready to be served with just about everything. Yes, I am addicted to the heat.
Prasad and Tom in Oaxaca Kitchen with Plantains and Roasted pork belly
T &T: So even though Prasad is the Executive Chef, you also like to cook, right?
Sue with Chef Prasad at James Beard Dinner hosted by Prasads Thali restaurant
T &T: You seem to be hands on at Oaxaca, what do you like about the restaurant industry?
T &T: The name Oaxaca (which I looked up on Wikipedia, is a town or district in Mexico) is very hard to pronounce - did you worry this could be a detraction for the success of the place?
T &T: You told me you see the similarities between the theater and restaurant business; that mainly at the core they are both about entertaining the public outside of their home. But what hadn't you thought about before embarking on restaurant ownership?
T &T: Would you consider investing in another restaurant? And if so, what type of cuisine or theme? Or would it depend on meeting another amazing chef?
Tom's favorite dish at Oaxaca is the Mole Rojo (previously mentioned). And at Thali, he can't get enough of the Konkan Crab appetizer, which is lump crab meat mixed with coconut milk, ginger, garlic, mustard seeds and Serrano Chilis.
One of the Thali restaurant is located on Yale University's campus and the students really go for the Dean's Dosa, a 5 foot long ultra thin crispy crepe filled with curried potatoes. "When it is served, it resembles a piece of folk art.", says Brandt.
6' long Deans Dosa crepe with curried potato filling at Thali Too in New haven, CT
Oaxaca Kitchen Bar
TB cont: There are many movies with memorable food scenes. It would be a fantasy for many people to experience the re-creation of those meals by professional chefs in addition to screening the movie in advance of the meal. You inspired me to work on this kind of event. I am considering starting with the food from the movie “Like Water for Chocolat” and continuing from there.
Needless to say, this concept is a fantasy for me! I love the idea of lending my passion, energy and blog in some capacity to help create these food and film events.
So stay tuned readers, this could be Tinsel & Tine's big break!