Nicolai Lipscomb is one persistent chef.
He first relocated to Boston from California to snag his first kitchen job. Then he called No. 9 Park chef-owner Barbara Lynch every Tuesday at 3 p.m. for three months, until she hired him.
Ten years later, Lipscomb is now chef de cuisine at Fifth Floor in San Francisco, a position he took after a year spent in some of the top kitchens in Spain, including Arzak and El Celler de Can Roca. Read on for a Q&A with the chef–and get his recipe for mouthwatering grilled flatbread.
To ensure that his Grilled Flatbread with Hummus and Lamb Sausage achieves a crunchy, blistered crust, Lipscomb grills it quickly over a hot bed of coals, covering the flatbread so that the toppings cook at the same rate as the dough. He also recommends rolling the flatbread dough on a well-floured surface, then dusting off any excess before you grill it, as the flour burns easily.
Q&A with Chef Nicolai Lipscomb
Q: What’s one of your favorite things to eat?
A: Once a year I make myself a big ribeye steak with béarnaise sauce and potatoes. It satisfies every craving.
Q: If you weren’t a chef, what would you do?
A: I went to school for electrical engineering, but I didn’t really like it. If I were going to do it all over again, I’d probably go to architecture school.
Q: What do you do on your days off?
A: I joined a rock-climbing gym about six months ago, so I usually spend one of my days off climbing. And I always go to church on Sunday.
Q:Tell us your most humbling kitchen moment.
A: When I got hired for my first kitchen job, I didn’t know anything. The chef asked me to get arugula from the walk-in; I came back with parsley. He asked me to make macaroni and cheese for family meal, and I had to admit I had no clue how to do it.
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