The Restaurant Connection: Andy Brown

Chef Andrew Brown of Opa prepares keftedes (Greek meatballs) during the fourth and final weekly chef demo sponsored by the Center City District. Recipe: Click here.
Chef Andrew Brown of Opa prepares keftedes (Greek meatballs) during the fourth and final weekly chef demo sponsored by the Center City District. Recipe: Click here.
Posted: March 22, 2012

Bio: 37; from Upper Darby, now in Pennsport with wife and son, Oliver.

First foray: "I started working in Garrity's in Sea Isle when I was 14, washing dishes. My dad worked at the restaurant beforehand. He got me the job because I needed something to do for the summer."

Restaurant connections: Summer jobs turned into bigger gigs at White Dog Café, Alison Two, Carmine's, Django, London Grill and New Wave Café. Now he's executive chef at Midtown's modern-Greek Opa (1311 Sansom St., 215-545-0170, opaphiladelphia.com).

What's new: The menu. "We're adding more green, lightening it up for spring."

Family biz: His mom's side owned a wholesale produce business and taverns. His grandfather was a butcher. These days, "all my cousins are chefs. It's crazy. We have a turkey fry-off every Thanksgiving. But when we get together as a family, we're not trying to bust each other's stones. We'd rather have a beer and a piece of turkey."

Going Greek: Opa's owners' mom taught him her country's basics - pastitsio, tzatziki - in "Greek boot camp."

Spring fling: "I'm really looking forward to green garlic, garlic scapes. I think it's going to go great with Greek food."

Dollar deal: Bought his favorite kitchen tool at a dollar store in Jersey - a tiny garlic mandolin. "It's really dangerous. I can't believe no one's ever cut themselves on it."

Best meal ever: Simple, perfect Dover sole in an English Channel-side restaurant in Deauville, France, on his honeymoon.

Fantasy food: "I really, really wanna go to Tokyo to eat anything that I can: the weird eggs, the best fish in the world, the sake."

Chaser: "Drinkwise, I'm an equal-opportunity employer. In the wintertime, I like a sidecar with Maker's Mark. Summertime, I like tequila gimlets, as long as it's reasonable tequila. I love good beer, but I also like a High Life after work." n

Learn more about Philly-area chefs and restaurants at The Restaurant Connection, philly.com/restaurantconnect.

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