Joshua Whigham has worked in a vast array of culinary styles during his six-year tenure with chef José Andrés: Latin at Café Atlántico, hyper-modern at Minibar, Middle Eastern at Zaytinya, and now classic and modern Spanish at The Bazaar.
Between stints with Andrés, Whigham worked at Washington, D.C.’s sustainable seafood-focused restaurant, Hook, and at New York’s elegant Italian seafood restaurant, Marea. He’s been running The Bazaar as chef de cuisine since August 2009, creating dishes that are both playful and serious, and traditional and modern. “There’s a good balance between what’s old and what’s new, “ he says. “You’re really able to get a sense of where food comes from and where it’s going.”
Mashed potatoes do a fine job of soaking up the flavors on a Thanksgiving plate. But for a departure from the norm, try boiled “wrinkled” potatoes from chef Joshua Whigham. The technique hails from the Canary Islands, where they’re traditionally served with piquant, vibrant sauces–meaning they’re just as good for sopping up gravy and cranberry sauce as their smashed counterparts are.
How do you celebrate Thanksgiving?
It varies from year to year. I’m either working in the restaurant or cooking and eating with my family. If I go home, I’m eating too much of the food I grew up on for the holidays!
What is your number one tip for someone cooking Thanksgiving dinner?
Relax. It is your family and friends. They really appreciate the gesture!
What’s your favorite pick for Thanksgiving wine and why?
Always bubbles! Yet growing up, it was sweet tea.
The inspiration is taking potatoes and not mashing them. This is a technique fishermen used in the Canary Islands because they were often on boats. Instead of heavy gravy, I use a bright acidic sauce to complement the potatoes and the rest of the dinner.
Brine or no brine? And why?
Brining! This way the turkey will be juicier and seasoned throughout.
What’s your favorite way to use Thanksgiving leftovers?
My favorite way to use leftovers is to eat them.
What was your most memorable Thanksgiving dish and who made it?
I would have to say my mom’s collard greens, in addition to her squash and onions.
What was your favorite Thanksgiving dish when you were a kid and what is it now?
It was and still is my grandmother’s banana pudding with Nilla wafers. That was what we looked forward to when we were kids. As of now, it is to be able to eat with my family and have all those flavors that were from my childhood and share them with my wife.
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dessert?
What does Mom or Grandma still make better than you?
What do you cook at home that you would never think of cooking at the restaurant?
Home is where you might possibly get an idea about a new dish. You must stay open to all possibilities.
What’s your favorite kitchen tool?
A mini offset spatula.
What do you think is going to be the next big trend if dining?
Where American families will all sit together and eat. And maybe turn the TV off!
When it comes to food, what is your guilty pleasure?
Olive oil. My wife is constantly getting on me about how much olive oil I use.
What’s the one dish you’re always trying to improve?
In the restaurant, it would have to be the rice with Idiazábal cheese. If we can’t cook rice correctly, then we need to rethink what we are doing.