Chef Brad Farmerie is a man of many talents. The AvroKO Group partner and Executive Chef not only has prepared his favorite dishes for Martha Stewart, but also heads up kitchens in New York and has breathed new life into Napa’s culinary scene with his new American eatery, The Thomas & Fagiani’s. His vibrant cuisine will also be making a splash on the Moscow food scene with his new restaurant Saxon + Parole, which opened late last month and in the air now that he’s serving up his finest for JetBlue’s exclusive ‘Mint’ program.
What sets The Thomas & Fagiani’s apart from your New York res-taurants? Obviously the setting is pretty magical, the weather is incredible and there are now some supportive familiar faces that we love to see coming through the door every night. Something that stands out is the chance to have a close relationship with amazing products and the people that grow it, raise it and produce it. Being able to connect with the story behind amazing ingredients is essential as a chef.
What is your favorite dish to cook? I have a special place in my heart for the crudité at The Thomas, a deceptively simple collection of 16-20 different veggies, mostly from our garden. The vibrancy of the dish is incredible; it is a snapshot of the season in our little microcosm of downtown Napa, picked and prepared that day.
What was it like cooking for Martha Stewart? It’s great! She’s a legend and it is always very complimentary of our food, so it is a nice experience being able to cook for her. I feel lucky that she has invited me on to her show a few times and I appreciate the blend of professionalism and hospitality that is extended to the guests on her show. She really has a formula and success that is admirable.
Has she dined in any of your restaurants, and does she have a favorite dish?
She has visited us a few times at Public, and my only recollection is that she liked a Moroccan braised lamb shank, which is what she first invited me onto her show to cook; it will probably hit the menu at The Thomas in a month or two. She also enjoyed the Turkish Eggs that we serve for brunch.
What other celebrities you have cooked for? Adrian Brody and Meg Ryan both come in to Public a lot for brunch, and Nicole Miller comes in to both Public and Saxon + Parole. She is super nice and really knows a lot about food. Jimmy Fallon, Jessica Biel and Jessica Alba have hit Saxon + Parole a few times separately. In the world of music, Perry Farrell and Jane’s Addiction ate at The Thomas over the summer.
Tell us about the new Saxon + Parole to open in Moscow this October. I think that we have an opportunity to be one of the first to set the bar high for food, wine, cocktails and service. We are taking the Saxon + Parole menu and focusing it through a local lens to build a menu that reads of that region. We intend to hold true to a local and seasonal model, and align ourselves with local producers to celebrate their amazing products, just like we do in New York and Napa.
What new ventures do you have planned down the line? AvroKO Hospitality Group is opening our first fast casual restaurant here in New York called Genuine Roadside this November. We’ve also partnered with JetBlue to offer Saxon + Parole signature dishes and greatest hits as part of their brand new service called ‘Mint’ starting in 2014. Mint is JetBlue’s take on a first class tailored to suit their cool passengers.
How do you keep all of this up? We have an insane team of incredible, creative and inspirational folks that make all of this happen. We’re lucky that we have the best of the best in the field.