ICE publishes an issue of The Main Course, our school newsletter, every April. In addition to info about our programs and our recreational cooking class listings, it included an interview between Editor Kiri Tannenbaum and The Spotted Pig Chef April Bloomfield about her restaurant and her new book, A Girl and Her Pig. We’re sharing the interview here on DICED. Earlier this week, we told you about April’s experience writing the book. Now, we are sharing her thoughts on life in a successful restaurant and finding inspiration.
Your restaurants have been known to attract celebrity clientele, how does that change what goes on inside the kitchen?
Nothing. We treat them as regular customers. I don’t go to the tables. I don’t do anything special.
You’re not nervous?
I get more nervous when chefs come in, but they’re probably more celebrities than celebrities.
What about President Bill Clinton?
That was a nice experience. I got to meet him and it was nice to have that experience of him coming to your restaurant and the restaurant being very quiet when he walked in. That was kind of exciting.
You know he’s a vegan now?
That’s what I heard.
I guess he wouldn’t be eating the burger this time around?
No. Probably not. He has been in recently and I’m not going to disclose what he ate.
When you think back on when you first started out, did you ever imagine you’d be in New York City with three restaurants cooking for presidents and celebrities?
Not at all actually. I’m not one to look ahead and project what I might be doing in five or ten year’s time. I took one restaurant a year at a time, or two years at a time, and then figured out where I wanted to go. So, that was never in my future at all.
How did you wind up at The Spotted Pig?
I was working at The River Café and I got offered this job through my friend, Jamie Oliver. Even though I loved my job, I was ready to move on. I still could’ve been there right now actually; I loved my job so much. But I wanted to progress and I wanted to get better and push myself and so I took the job merely to have a different life experience and to see and eat different food and to meet new people.
From where do you draw inspiration?
Oh, boy. Cookbooks, places I travel, restaurants I eat in, markets, shops, and supermarkets. When I go to a different country I like to go to their supermarket just to see what they have or go to their greenmarkets. If I happen to be in a place where I have a kitchen, then I’d obviously shop there and try to cook with their local produce.
Speaking of travel, do you have any plans to do any restaurants outside of New York?
I’d love to do one in San Francisco or Montreal. I’d also love to go back to London. But no, no plans yet. It would be hard to juggle all that.
Come back next week for the last installment from the interview, including a look at how Bloomfield runs her restaurants.