A Q&A with our new chefs at Brûlée
November 6, 2014
If you’ve been sensing some extra excitement around our Philadelphia offices lately, it’s probably because of our brand-new partnership with Philadelphia catering company Brûlée by Chef Jean-Marie LaCroix. Oh, sure, you might argue that any new partnership will start with a bang, but we’re pretty sure this one will last for a good, long while, much the way you get excited when you meet a new friend with whom you have so much in common: You just know there won’t ever be an end to good conversation.
Brûlée shares our commitment to sustainability, local sourcing, and innovation. We thought we’d take some time and introduce you to the two chefs who will be looking after The Hub’s offerings from here on in, Chefs J.C. Nunez and Thomas McMullen, with a Q&A.
The Hub: Thomas and J.C., you’ve both served as executive chefs for some of Philadelphia’s most prominent public spaces. Tell us, how do you think that experience translates to a meeting-and-event venue like The Hub?
Thomas: Being a chef for a large volume caterer with a focus on the best food is challenging but I deliver on the promise. Serving restaurant-style à la cartecarte meals for 400 people is what I bring to the table.
JC: My experiences have thought me how to take my passion and put it on a plate. No matter who the guests are I give my all in the kitchen.
The Hub: Thomas, your work at Longwood Gardens has made an impression on us for many reasons, but we’re most interested in its certification as a 2 Star Green Restaurant. Can you tell us more about what that certification means, and why you felt it was important for 1906 to receive this certification? How does this commitment to sustainability affect the menus you plan?
Thomas: The certification is based on the sustainability of both the facility and the kitchen. We had a compost system on-site and used produce grown on-site that all contributed to the certification.
I still incorporate local ingredients whenever possible in my recipes. During my time at Longwood Gardens I built relationships with several local farmers for produce and dairy. I brought those relationships with me to Brûlée! I still order from several including Leidy’s Farms and Murray’s Chicken Farm.
The Hub: J.C., you’ve worked with some real stars of the Philadelphia culinary stage: What is the most important thing that you learned from the “culinary father” of Philadelphia, Chef Jean-Marie Lacroix?
JC: Above all things in the kitchen, Chef Jean-Marie Lacroix thought me how to be a gentleman. When he walks into the kitchen he shakes everyone’s hands, from the dishwasher to the sous chef. This interaction takes the working environment to another level.
The Hub: Brass tacks, now: What are each of your favorite ingredients, and why? (We promise, The Hub is not Kitchen Stadium.)
Thomas: Pork Belly. It can be prepared in so many different ways and take on different flavors. There is so much you can do with it. In particular, my favorite is applewood smoked bacon. (NB: One of the offerings we’re looking forward to the most at The Hub from Brûlée is the Sweet and Savory BACON BAR. Whee!)
JC: I have to say garlic. It is very versatile and can be incorporated into a variety of cuisine styles. Every type of cuisine uses it differently- It can be sautéed, used raw or even black garlic, as it’s called for in some Chinese dishes.
Obviously some really good things to look forward to from both of these gentlemen. We can’t wait to see what they dish up, starting December 1. For more on Brûlée’s offerings at The Hub, keep an eye out for their menus, launching soon.