I knew I was in for a treat when The Queen Vic‘s Chef Ian Reeves asked if I could Marco Pierre White-ify the photos [which, alas, I miserably failed in due to technical difficulties]. In other words, shoot them in that iconic black-and-white, cigarette-dangling-from-the-corner-of-the-mouth, literally dripping with bad boy swagger style. You know…like back in the days when chefs weren’t “famous” for peddling Teflon pans on TV, but were instead infamous for true rock star-worthy antics like physically tossing unappreciative rubes of patrons out of their restaurants [which Marco has done plenty of]. For those of you not in the know–and what kind of a self-respecting foodie do you fancy yourself to be if you do not, for shame–Marco Pierre White is THE eponymous British chef, the youngest chef to earn three Michelin stars, and a veritable maniacal workaholic. He also is probably one of the few men who have made Gordon Ramsay cry in the kitchen–small consolation, Hell’s Kitchen contestants.
So, when Ian Reeves cited Marco Pierre White as one of his major influences, I knew he had good taste! He was also a really good sport, a jocular and jolly fellow, and a frequent user of the “luv” appellation [like, “are you hungry, luv?”]. In other words, he was the perfect host and a brilliant interview subject.
Chef Reeves has been cooking for a decade, with no formal training, “just working his way up in kitchens.” Born and raised in Gloucestershire, England, he touts the home economics course he took in what we Americans would call high school, as well as his Grandma and mother’s cooking as great learning experiences. The holidays he spent in Brittany also contributed to his culinary stylings. In the UK, he worked in country house hotels and honed his skills in “upper-end modern European cooking.” In 2005, he worked as a Chef De Cuisine in Vikram Garg’s Indebleu, where he picked up some of the Indian influence that shows up in The Queen Vic’s menu.
“I would say that one big focus of The Queen Vic is roasted meats, slowly braised. We break down half a side of beef, or pig, every couple of weeks right here on the premises. We have four blackboards in the restaurant, with ten specials on a daily basis. I often incorporate Indian or Northern African dishes, like stews, on the menu. I also have a good basis in Italian and French so we do things like gnocchi.” After a recent stint back home, Chef Reeves came back to the US with his wife. “I am really glad to be here. There are a lot of opportunities.”
At Fashion District, Chef Reeves and his wife will be serving a braised and pulled pork with a Szechuan sauce in a lettuce wrap, with a cucumber/carrot/cilantro/roasted peanut garnish.