You can safely assume American fare is all about highly-stacked, heart-stopping burgers all you want, but one look to MeatSmith and you might be rethinking that association. Hailing from Lincoln, Nebraska, the ingenious chef takes parts of the animal that most would not even think twice of saving and turns them into gourmet bites for his diners. From MeatSmith’s official site, Chef Andrew proudly claims, “For me cooking is freedom; there are rules, but once you learn them, you can bend them slightly into your own.” Always having a keen sense of culinary adventure, we spoke to Chef Andrew and got a candid insight behind the success of MeatSmith while enjoying some of his honest, off-beat humour.
What inspired your establishment?
Regional BBQ spots back home, cooking with smokers, and trying to find a more modern way of using them. I try not to overdo it though.
What was the biggest challenge you have had to overcome professionally?
Probably the lack of time to see family and friends, but I suppose that made my transition to moving halfway around the world easier though. I wouldn’t change anything.
What do you believe to be the secret ingredient to a restaurant’s success?
The use of few ingredients, value for money, consistency and listening to your customers. There’s much more than that though. Restaurants in this day in age need to always be thinking of ways to improve.
What common misconceptions do people hold about your job? What’s true, what is not?
I think the public in general is getting a better idea of what it’s like to work in a kitchen. You’re sleep deprived, sore, anxious, hot and much more, but it still beats sitting all day, even if we work nights, weekends, and holidays.
What is the funniest thing you have read about yourself in the media?
Some things seem to get lost in translation; one was so confusing I stopped reading it halfway through. After we first opened, I was mentioned as having the poise of a man child (pretty accurate though). Also, I’ve never rented a day bed at Tanjong Beach Club. Thanks @timdop!
Singaporean influencers have been incremental in adopting early to a variety of social media platforms. Apart from your website, your brand is also shown on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. How important do you think these platforms are in getting your message across?
Extremely. The amount of time we spend on our phones is asinine. I’m guilty as well.
What is your favourite food in Singapore?
I enjoy eating local food on my days off. It’s what brought me out this way in the first place.
Your biggest culinary sin?
McDonald’s McSpicy. Nough said.
History typically plays an intrinsic role in the cuisines a nation eats – how has this affected Singaporean food and/or its food scene in general?
Singapore is still a very young country, but its diversity has already built a cuisine it can call its own. Singaporeans, especially the younger generation, like diversity in their diet, and know quality. It pushes every level of the industry to stay in the game.
A must-try recipe for lazy week night?
Instant noodles. I really don’t cook at home much these days.
Which are your 5 favourite places to enjoy good food globally?
- Taipei, Taiwan
- Charleston, SC
- Hong Kong
- Bangkok, Thailand
Unfortunately, I haven’t been much further than this. I really need to travel more.
Which latest trend restaurant do we have to try?
You probably know better than me.
Do any of your friends or family members influence you in your decision when it comes to what you serve in the restaurant?
Yes, my mother’s cooking has influenced me greatly. Also I have picked up lots of things from friends along the way.
What was the funniest / most surprising / best / most gruesome food delivery experience you have had so far?
I can’t say that I’ve had any of those things happen to me, which is robably for the best.
Which traits and characteristics of service, based on your own experiences, matter most in premium food delivery?
Speed, communication, and packing things away in a matter that makes since, like how salads should not be resting on top of a hot food item.
Complete the sentence: On Saturdays, I am most likely to…
Work. I hope there aren’t many chefs who answer otherwise.
What is your biggest dream for the future, and how are you hoping to achieve it?
To expand the brand I’m with now. I would also love to be able to travel more. I’m hoping to achieve it through hard work. Also, I would love to live in Taiwan someday.
Finally, share your very own signature dish and its recipe with us!
Well, then it wouldn’t be my signature….would it? But in all seriousness, I change my style quite a bit, so there really is nothing that I hold on to for too long.
Wani’s writing has always spoken on her behalf far more than the spoken word. Her emotional relationship with food is almost as intense as her crazy love for HIIT workouts. Having written all things lifestyle, Wani now embarks on her freelance journey, journalling her epicurean trails and sweaty gym sessions with relentless fervor.