The man in charge of two of New York’s hottest kitchens (ABC Kitchen and ABC Cocina) is passionate about seasonal cooking — and not just because it’s trendy. A strong advocate of farm-to-table practices, chef Dan Kluger is teaming up with a handful of other master chefs for the New York City Wine & Food Festival’s Greenmarket Brunch on October 19.
During this annual event, local farmers are paired with chefs (this year’s lineup includes event host Geoffrey Zakarian) to create dishes showcasing the growers’ unique ingredients. Kluger took some time out of his schedule to chat about the festival, his favorite New York markets and his newly opened ABC Cocina.
Which events do you think give festival-goers the best taste for the city’s dining scene?
It’s tough as it’s always going to be a tasting portion. An event like the NYCWFF is great because there are so many great chefs and mixologists there. As a festival-goer, you get a glimpse of what many chefs are doing and a feel for their menus all while helping to support a great cause.
The Greenmarket Brunch event at NYCWFF sounds right up your alley. What can we expect from that?
It will be fun for all of the chefs to collaborate with the farmers. This event really gives us the opportunity to showcase their products and how we use them. Rick Bishop from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm says he feels like I’m taking him to the prom.
You opened ABC Cocina in the spring — how is that going?
The spring is one of the best times of the year to open a restaurant. We took things slow while working with spring produce. Now that we have been open for a few months and are in a better groove, we have all of this amazing produce to work with, so it’s been great so far.
As a big proponent of seasonal ingredients, what are your favorite markets in New York?
Our staple is Union Square Greenmarket. We typically go on [multiple] runs as our carts can only carry so much. We’re lucky to be located so close. I also like going to Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket in Brooklyn. It’s a nice space and a slightly different mix of farmers who are not at the Union Square Greenmarket on Saturdays.
Which events at New York City Wine & Food Festival are you most excited for?
We’ll be doing two this year [Greenmarket Brunch and FOOD & WINE Best New Chefs 25th Anniversary Party] and I’m looking forward to both — especially the Greenmarket Brunch with chef Geoffrey. Farmers and produce don’t get much better than Rick Bishop, so it will be a good one.
Photo Courtesy of Joey Popovich