Ten Questions With…
Chef Paul Kahan
avec, Blackbird, Publican
Chef Kahan likes good food. He creates amazing, delicious dishes. He seems to be one of the pivotal components within the architecture of all things culinary in Chicago. At Blackbird, he crafts forward thinking plates with finely tuned technique, at avec, the fare is sublimely simple with a lovely Mediterranean kick, and at the Publican he plays with pig. Yeah, he won the James Beard Award for Best Chef Midwest, too. He is a powerful force, but exact, and executes simply tasty and entertaining meals with great prowess.
Thanks for agreeing to be a part of the Lush Wine & Spirits blog. Please answer the following questions in whatever way you see fit. We want your voice, personality, and opinions to come through!
1) What is the best thing you’ve drank in the last week? What about in the last year?
For me, it is as much ‘where’ as ‘what.’ Last week, Gouden Carolus Hopsinger. Last year, in Belgium at Mort Subite, Westmalle triple on tap.
2) What do you think is the most underrated grape varietal or region? Overrated?
Underrated, the islands…Tenerife of Spain and Corsica of France and Sicily of Italy. Over, Cali, Cali, Cali.
3) Who are your favorite food and wine writers?
Mike Rhulman, William Rice and Whimpy from Popeye
4) What are your three favorite food cities?
San Sebastian, Paris, Chicago
5) Top three restaurants you revisit all the time in Chicago?
6) What is your most memorable dining or drinking experience?
Always based on people and travel as much as food and drink…we have great friends in Appenzellarland in the Swiss Alps that have really provided my wife and I with some amazing food and wine experiences.
7) Between wine, beer, and spirits – when do you reach for each? If you HAD to do without one, which would it be?
I love beer and wine equally. Spirits would be out.
8) What is the best thing about your job?
I really love everything about being a chef/owner. We have a great team that allows me to focus on food concepts and our three kitchens. I love the people that I oversee, and I love the entire creative process. Eating and drinking are pretty swell too.
9) If you had to describe yourself as a certain wine, what would it be? (i.e. Australian Shiraz – spicy, bold, and seductive. German Riesling – sometimes sweet (but hard to predict if it will be), elegant, and requiring of patience.)
Cotes Du Rhone. Down to earth; not too fancy.
10) You’re on death row (sorry). What’s your final meal?
I have a nervous stomach. Get it over with. Pull the lever.