Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Extra Virgin's Michael Smith on turning 50, turkey testicles, and eating at El Bulli

Posted By on Tue, Nov 2, 2010 at 11:42 AM

click to enlarge Chef Michael and Nancy Smith
  • Chef Michael and Nancy Smith

Michael Smith and his wife, Nancy, will be spending his 50th birthday -- tomorrow -- in Spain. The co-owners of Michael Smith and Extra Virgin restaurants have made arrangements to dine at chef Ferran Adria's legendary El Bulli restaurant for Michael's half-century celebration. "It took over a year to get the reservation," he says.

It's not that difficult to get a reservation to Smith's namesake restaurant, which is now nearly four years old. He discussed the challenges of operating an upscale restaurant in a changing economy with Fat City. Do Kansas Citians still want upscale dining?

Are you concerned for the future of fine dining in Kansas City?

Well, I can tell you that fine dining revenues are down -- everywhere. But I feel it's coming back. Still, I worry if fine dining restaurants are becoming irrelevant or if this downturn is part of a cycle. As for Michael Smith, we're doing exactly as we projected.

Is it true that you were criticized for having your two restaurants -- Michael Smith and Extra Virgin -- side by side?

There were some people that we know who told Nancy and me that they didn't think it was a good idea. But it's made my job as a chef and restaurateur a hell of a lot easier. Until I had these two restaurants, I had never been able to use almost every single food product I have in the kitchen.

Give us an example.

If I'm trimming up ribeye steak to use on the Michael Smith menu, I can trim off some of the fattier round steak to roll it up, fill it with onions, garlic and herbs and create a braciole as a special for Extra Virgin. There's not a lot of waste in the kitchens.

You surprised a lot of diners in Kansas City by having success with unexpected dishes, like the duck tongue tacos and pig ears.

We sell a hell of a lot of pigs ears. And the duck tongue tacos are a huge seller. One of my customers wants me to add turkey testicles to the menu.

How would you prepare them?

They're very rich. I'd saute them in a pan in a tart lemon butter.

Do you have a guilty pleasure that you enjoy eating late at night?

I can tell you what guilty pleasures I don't eat any more. Pasta. In college, I made myself a big bowl of pasta every night. And I'm still a sucker for anything wrapped in a corn tortilla. But my weakness is chips. We can't have bags of potato chips in the house. Even the little bags that my daughters like to have around. I mean, if they're in the house, I'll eat three of those little bags for breakfast.

Tags: , , ,

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Most Popular Stories

Slideshows

All contents ©2014 Kansas City Pitch LLC
All rights reserved. No part of this service may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of Kansas City Pitch LLC,
except that an individual may download and/or forward articles via email to a reasonable number of recipients for personal, non-commercial purposes.

All contents © 2012 SouthComm, Inc. 210 12th Ave S. Ste. 100, Nashville, TN 37203. (615) 244-7989.
All rights reserved. No part of this service may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of SouthComm, Inc.
except that an individual may download and/or forward articles via email to a reasonable number of recipients for personal, non-commercial purposes.
Website powered by Foundation