Chef Brandon Baltzley of Ribelle restaurant in Boston is our guest chef for our Spontaneous Combustion dinner on October 28, 2015. While many in the U.S. know him from his book, Nine Lives, we thought we would introduce him to Copenhagen by asking a couple of questions.
What are you looking forward to the most in coming to cook with us?
Collaboration is a huge part of my pantry. Bouncing ideas off of one another is a crucial part of making a good dish great. I think cooking at Amass is a huge opportunity to work with like-minded cooks in order to create some amazing new ideas on a plate.
You’re known for not planning your dishes until the day of service. How does that work in practice and what are the challenges in cooking on the day?
I like working out of spontaneity. I find dishes to be overworked and overly thought-out when there is too much planning involved. If we approach a dish at Ribelle, it is usually with little to no planning. That’s not to say the dish may not evolve over time. We fine tune things all the time, but it’s also difficult when we only have a finite period of time to make an idea into a great dish, as the shelf life of a dish on our menu lasts about three weeks.
How do you keep yourself motivated every day as a chef?
The people around me keep me motivated. Their drive drives me. If I didn’t surround myself with the best than I’d have a hard time getting up everyday. The creative expression is a big factor as well. My mind moves constantly so I have to as well
Sustainability has been a large part of your cooking profile. Why is it so important to you?
I think as humans we have a role to live our lives sustainably and as chefs, we have a role to teach others about it. We use whole animals, sustainable fish, forage responsibly, compost, and use as little water as possible. It’s our world now, but I’d like it to be around for my grandchildren.
What do you think are the biggest challenges for the next generation of chefs and restaurants and how can we solve them?
I think our food systems are changing at an alarming rate. I think chefs of the next generation are going to have an important role in new educating others, not just in the kitchen, but also in universities, symposiums, and even in politics. I think there are very large shoes to fill in a sense of what certain chefs are trying to do today, and even larger ones when environmental issues come in the future. We have to do our best to train our cooks to be the chefs who we couldn’t be ourselves.