I’ve been drooling over the lineup for the New Center NOW’s fifth annual “Beyond Bubbie’s Kitchen” event on Sunday, Feb. 9, and getting to interview one of the talented chefs cooking for the event isn’t helping any. (I still have pregnancy weight to lose, people!) Jeremy Kean (at right in the photo below) is one half of the duo behind Whisk, a pop-up restaurant that, after a brief break, is popping up again in two locations for Valentine’s Day. I asked Jeremy about his BBK menu, the pop-up concept and his work training young people in the kitchen.
What are you serving at “Beyond Bubbie’s Kitchen”?
A duck confit latke with apple meringue. The meringue has a nice creamy texture, so it’s like applesauce and sour cream. It will be sweet, creamy and tart, and I’ll torch it at the end. I’ll be serving lots of them, so I thought this would be the best way to update a classic for a large crowd.
Tell me about Whisk. It was a pop-up and now it’s semi-permanent? You’re now brick and mortar?
We started as a pop-up as a way to have a temporary restaurant once a week to express ourselves through food. We didn’t have a set menu when we started. And then we started taking in guys from the Haley House Transitional Employment Program, which provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to be hired onto the Whisk team. I feel like we’ll always be a pop-up. We love doing events, but now we can better serve an area. Now we can go to a neighborhood that’s up-and-coming and use that as a home base and hopefully improve the neighborhood by our being there.
Your training program reminds me of the one Jamie Oliver has at his restaurants in London. But I understand yours goes a bit deeper, having taught orphans in Indonesia to cook?
Oh, well, that’s me, not Whisk. Years ago, I moved to Bali, Indonesia, and lived in an orphanage. I taught Western cooking to the orphans who didn’t have any male role models. That experience led me to wanting to teach, which is why I worked at the Haley House. I wanted to connect these things—an emotional outlet combined with creativity—and it’s all come to fruition.
What’s your favorite thing to cook for yourself?
Comfort food. Nothing fancy, no plating. It could be as simple as a bowl of cereal. Mac and cheese. A bowl of kale and rice. Nothing complicated!
Four Questions is a weekly interview column featuring interesting people connected with the Greater Boston Jewish community. Find past columns here. Have an idea of someone we should interview? Email Molly!
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