Bryan: In New York, though, it’s a culture. People don’t have room or time to cook, so they go out. It’s a career to be a waiter in New York, to be the captain at a top-tier restaurant. People strive to get there. It definitely was a struggle to open a restaurant in Frederick, Maryland.
What city is the most up-and-coming?
Bryan: I think DC is becoming one. More and more chefs are coming here from New York. The economy was sustained here. I think from a business aspect a lot of people were like, hey, we lost all of our money in Vegas, but it looks like DC is doing well.
What are your least-favorite food trends?
Bryan: It’s kind of odd that I’m saying this because I try to buy all my ingredients local, sustainable, and organic, but I think throwing that in everybody’s face—“Hey, I’m buying this heritage piece of pork from Farmer Joe that only eats this-and-that on this one-acre plot of land”—that’s cool for a chef to know, but throwing it in our guests’ faces?
What’s your take on food critics? Helpful or mosquito-like?
Bryan: I love food critics. And I want to say this in the nicest way: I’ve met a lot of food bloggers who I don’t think have dined enough to be ready to critique. I do like people who are out there documenting their experiences, but not bashing somebody to generate a buzz. I’ve come across plenty of those. It’s like, what do you do for a living? You’re a lawyer? Guess what, I’m going to start a blog about lawyers—how about that?
What are the biggest myths about restaurants? Should you really never order sushi on a Monday?
Bryan: I don’t believe in that anymore. FedEx can get here any day of the week.
What are your favorite knives?
Michael: I go on Korin.com and buy knives there. The hand-forged, folded Japanese are the best knives. I only sharpen my knives on one side, like the Japanese do. I think for the home cook, brands like Shun and Global are close to what we’re using in the kitchens every day. Who wants to spend $500 or $600 on a knife at home?
Bryan: I buy a knife for a specific reason. I use German steel when I’m doing butchery because the steel is a little more rigid. Japanese steel tends to be a lot softer and is better for fine cuts of vegetables and fish.
Your last meal?
Michael: I would want a tasting menu prepared by Ferran Adrià, Pierre Gagnaire, Alain Ducasse, Thomas Keller—all the godfathers of cooking and the people we have spent our careers studying. It’d be course-by-course comparison-choreographed by those guys.
Bryan: There are a lot of restaurants in the world I’ve never eaten at. I’ve never been to El Bulli, I’ve never eaten at the French Laundry. But I’d just want to be surrounded by family and be a part of the experience myself. I love to eat, but I love to cook.