New Chefs Rising: Greg Baxtrom of Olmsted in Brooklyn

New Chefs Rising: Greg Baxtrom of Olmsted in Brooklyn


Am I starting? *Uh, yeah.* I just start going? *Have at it.* All right. My name is Greg Baxtrom. We are at Olmsted restaurant in Brooklyn. At Olmsted, there’s a garden out back. Almost all of our guests choose to eat outside for a little while. It only really lends itself for us to grow the equivalent of one dish. It’s not to say we’re growing everything. It’s just something nice for the guests to be a part of. So we are going to make our carrot crepe. So essentially it’s a stew of carrots and little neck clams. It’s just the same amount of carrot juice as it is clam juice. And then we’ll reduce that until there’s only the pulp left from the carrot juice and we’ll melt butter and cream. So originally, I’m from Chicago. and I was living on Halsted, the school I went to, Kendall College, was on Halsted, Alinea opened up on Halsted. When it opened, I started as an intern. Chef Achatz is the biggest influence food wise. Grant, for some reason, really took the time to mentor me and keep an eye out for me and not let anything slide. Most of my time working there, almost every station had a sous chef or someone that someone cooked and you passed it to the sous chef and they would plate it. The person I passed to, most of my time being there, was Chef in the first 2, 3 years of the restaurant being open. So if it wasn’t more than perfect, it just wasn’t acceptable. You can see that the carrot juice is starting to separate from the pulp. We have our batter and then our sauce is going. So what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna glaze a few carrot obliques. Everywhere I’ve worked is and was hyper-fine dining. I think the thing that’s taken me by surprise and that’s sort of been difficult to to navigate through is formulating that culture. The thing about the sauce, too, is if you don’t continually whisk it, all the pulp will stick to the side of the pot. The sauce will still taste the same, but you won’t get any of the color from the carrot pulp. So now we’re just gonna add the cream. Add the butter. So now the sauce is sort of thicker, the cream has reduced by half. My standards haven’t changed at all, but I’m not charging $200. I’m charging $24. Trying to balance the work ethic that comes from these fine dining restaurants, cultivating a work environment where everyone feels comfortable to genuinely have a good time and feel like they have a voice and feel like they’re a part of something great. The only other thing, as far as the sort of salad on top, is the sliced lemon, sunflower shoots, the stems and the sprouts, and then some shaved carrots. Our aspirations are high. We just don’t want that to come across as intimidating. So this is our carrot crepe. Littleneck clams, carrots, and sunflowers.

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