April Bloomfield's Culinary Empire

Uploaded by vice on Aug 31, 2012


APRIL BLOOMFIELD: I don't ever cook stuff that I
don't want to eat.
I cook for my soul.
I cook for my heart.
If I don't feel it's right, I won't put it on.
I have very high standards.

I'm April Bloomfield.
I'm the co-owner of the Spotted Pig, the Breslin, and
the John Dory.
This is Ken Friedman, my partner in crime.

I realized that I wanted to be a chef when I was
just turning 16.
I hadn't got into my chosen profession, which was I wanted
to be a policewoman.
I saw my sister walk in, and she had her chef whites on,
and come back from a shift, looking a bit grubby but very
professional, and I was like, maybe I'll do that.
I like that uniform.

We are at the John Dory Oyster Bar 29th and Broadway, and
we're about to tuck in to some cocktails.
So this is Peter Cho, he's the head chef at the Breslin.
This is Scottie Boggs.
Scott is a farmer.
This is Christina, she's the Sous Chef at the John Dory.
So, we're just going to have a few nibbles.
We've got some oysters coming.

What have you got?
Does that have alcohol in it?
Wow, that's amazing.
I'll have what she's having.
I moved straight to London.
I worked in a restaurant called Kensington Place.
I went to another called the Brackenbury It was the
forefront of the gastropub movement, I suppose.
The chef there was a very, very
professional dedicated chef.
He'd use every part of the animal.
He'd scrape the bones clean.
Who doesn't love that, so you learn not to waste stuff.
Throughout my career, I've just learned how to do
different things in different restaurants.
Peter, have you tried this yet?
This is a mussel corn chowder with some Andouille sausage
from Calabria.
It's made with Calabrese chili peppers.
It's super spicy and porky.
It just goes so well with the corn and the mussels.
Cheers, guys.

We're going to go to Rucola, Joe Pasqualetto.
He actually has a fantastic restaurant in Brooklyn, very
rustic cuisine.
Italian, of course, his last name gives it away.

I run my kitchen, you know, I like to think I run a tight
ship, but we like to have fun at the same time.
We like to have a laugh and a joke.
But when it comes to the food, it's all very serious.
You have to treat the food with respect.
Hopefully, I lead by example, and I touch it in a certain
way, and I put it away in a certain way, and I season it a
certain way, and cook it in a certain way.
And hopefully, that translates to a nice
orderly and healthy kitchen.
This is Jamie she's the GM, wonderful GM at The Spotted
Pig, and head chef, Ralphie, at The
Spotted Pig is here also.
Who's running the restaurant?
APRIL BLOOMFIELD: So after the Brackenbury, I went to the
River Cafe.
I loved the River Cafe.
I stayed four years there, and became sous chef.
I wrote menus, did ordering, and tried to teach and learn,
and it was definitely something that made me more
secure in my decision about being a cook.
And then I got offered a job to come to New York.
The rest is history.

KEN FRIEDMAN: I was looking for a chef, and I kind of
asked around.
And I wasn't really sure what I wanted.
But I wanted somebody interesting, not just a local
chef that kicked around from restaurant to restaurant.
Jamie Oliver came to town.
I tried to see if I could get him to be the chef.
He said, no, you can't afford me, there's no way.
I'm a big star in England. "Are you thick?" I think is
what he said.
APRIL BLOOMFIELD: "Are you a twat?"
KEN FRIEDMAN: Yeah, I think it was more like-- yeah.
He said there's a woman who works at The
River Cafe in London.
He said, you might be able to get her.
She's like the next-- or she'll be the next head chef
there eventually if she stays.
I already knew that I wanted her even before I met her.

APRIL BLOOMFIELD: I think what we have is very special.
It think it works.
Ken is so good at what he does.
KEN FRIEDMAN: What do I do?
APRIL BLOOMFIELD: You move pictures and water plants.
We kind of just let each other do their own
thing, and it works.
We trust each other.
And we talk if we have a problem, which is very rare.

It tastes like curry.
RALPH JOHNSON: Quite truthfully, before here, I
never worked anywhere for more than a year and a half.
And it's been a wonderful experience being in New York
and working for April and finding my path as a cook.

MALE SPEAKER 1: Tomato potato salad.
APRIL BLOOMFIELD: Tomato potato.

Hey, babe.
Thank you.
APRIL BLOOMFIELD: It's so delicious.
Bravo, bravo!

No screaming like girls, please.
Anyway, so we're going to go ahead back to Manhattan, and
we're going to go to The Breslin.

So we're going to go over to the Breslin right now, and
we're going to make some chicken liver on toast, yum.

So the Breslin is a bit different.
It's a bit more kind of sharp corners, a bit more glassy,
kind of moody, in a good way.
And the food is a lot more hearty.
It's definitely a place you want to hang out in the winter
it's snowing outside, and you want a nice glass of whiskey,
and a big pig's trotter or something.
So I have some chicken livers, and I have some caramelized
onions, little bit of olive oil, some
salt, and some chili.
And then I have some parsley with their stalks on, freshly
sliced lemon and some port and Madeira.

I like to be present.
I like to be in my kitchens.
I like to create.
I like to teach.
All those flavors I mingle up-- sweet, salty.
The three restaurants that I have right now, the Pig, the
Breslin, and the John Dory, they have their own
personality, which I like.
And I think it's important to have personalities, not just a
cookie cutter.
It keeps me inspired, and it keeps my chefs inspired.
It gives them something else to move onto.
Helps keep people, stay in the family.
Like my chefs, if they feel like they want to have a
different experience, we can just move them to the John
Dory or the Pig.
I think it benefits everybody.
It's important to express your vision.
That's what they're there for.
You have a lot of responsibility to your staff
to help them grow as cooks.
So yeah, it's important to be there.
If you're not there, then what's the point of them being
there kind of thing.
Yeah, I like to work in general.
I come from a working class family.
I'm very proud of that.
At the end of the day, I feel tired, because I've been
working hard, and my feet are hurting, in a
sadistic kind of way.
But I do.
I'd rather work hard than not work hard, and be lazy.

MALE SPEAKER 2: Chicken liver toast?
MALE SPEAKER 3: Oh, wonderful.
Thank you.


APRIL BLOOMFIELD: Hey guys, we have a bit of pickles.