Known as one of the most accomplished chefs in New York, and the 2014 James Beard Award winner for Best Chef: NYC, April Bloomfield’s culinary reputation most definitely precedes her. This year, Bloomfield has been nominated for another James Beard Award, but this time for her renowned West Village restaurant The Spotted Pig, which is one of four New York restaurants in the running for the Outstanding Restaurant award.
In addition to being at the helm of two other reputable New York City establishments—The Breslin and The John Dory Oyster Bar—the Modern American chef still found the time to write her well-received 2012 cookbook, A Girl and Her Pig. Her follow-up, A Girl and Her Greens: Hearty Meals from the Garden, hit shelves last week and is already gaining renown from fans and critics alike. On the heels of its release and before the announcement of the James Beard Award winners in Chicago on May 4, we caught up with the British chef to talk about the James Beard nomination, her cookbook, and more.
What did it feel like to win the James Beard Award for Best Chef in New York last year? APRIL BLOOMFIELD: Amazing! It is such an honor to be recognized by my peers. We all work so hard every day. It is really just very humbling.
This year, The Spotted Pig is nominated for Outstanding Restaurant. How would that win be different than winning as an individual chef last year? AB: If we [win], it will be great to see our staff and employees be recognized for all of their hard work and dedication. When I won best chef and got up on that stage, I said that I wouldn’t be there if it hadn’t been for the people I work with every day. It’s been true since the first day we opened The Spotted Pig to today. It takes a great, hard-working, and attentive team to be successful.
Have you been to the other restaurants nominated in your category—Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Highlands Bar and Grill, Momofuku Noodle Bar, and Per Se? AB: Yes, all of them!
Switching gears a bit—congratulations on your new cookbook, A Girl and Her Greens! After the success of A Girl and Her Pig, what made you switch gears and focus on vegetables? AB: Thank you! Well, the thing is, even though I'm known for cooking everything porcine, I really do love vegetables. I wanted to show this different side of my cooking. Vegetables sometimes don’t get the attention they deserve and I really wanted to put the spotlight on how delicious and versatile they can be.
Can you tell us one or two of your favorite recipes from the book? AB: The salad sandwich, because it really brings me back to the summer days of my childhood, and morels with madiera on toast, which really needs no explanation—it’s simply delicious.
Do you plan on writing more cookbooks in the future? AB: I [will] continue to write more cookbooks. The next one will focus on fish, another category of ingredients that I really love cooking.