Hot Chef: Aaron Gottesman is keeping it in the Sbraga family

Aaron Gottesman is a chef in the small but popular Fat Ham in University City.
Aaron Gottesman is chef de cuisine at Fat Ham.
Credit: Vanessa Beahn

Chef Aaron Gottesman went from Kevin Sbraga’s namesake Center City restaurant to Fat Ham, the much more intimate Sbraga affair in University City. Gottesman is keeping it in the Sbraga family as the chef de cuisine at a place that is busy just about every night of the week. Chances are you can find at least one person in the dining room at all times that came to Fat Ham after hearing about the hot chicken — and we’re warning you now, they mean “hot” as in “your mouth will be on fire.” Good thing there are plenty of options on that extensive whiskey list to wash it down with.

How was the transition from Sbraga to Fat Ham?

I wanted to try to run this restaurant as similarly as I could to Sbraga. A lot of the systems that are put in place here work. It’s still a different space but everything is going really well. Having limited space is nice. The busier it is, the more people want to be here. It’s great to see that people are willing to wait, which is better than having a big space with a lot of empty tables.

 

Fat Ham is part of this new restaurant push in University City. What do you think of the area?

I had really no experience with the restaurants in this area of the city. I never made a point to come over here before they opened the restaurant. But there are so many people here with the schools — both employees and students — that there’s a market for the restaurants. There’s a lot of room our here for new stuff. Zavino just opened a new location here, and same with Federal Donuts. That really shows where this area is going.

 

Where are you grabbing a drink after work?

I’d say that a lot of people within the [Sbraga] organization go to Pub and Kitchen. It’s a good in-between spot for both restaurants. Generally we go to St. Declan’s [Well] since it’s right here. They know all of us, and we know them. It’s easy to pop in there after work since everyone lives in different neighborhoods.

 

What’s your neighborhood?

Queen Village. I go to Ela a lot. I know Jason [Cichonski, the chef and owner] and it’s basically right across the street from my apartment.

 

Do you have a favorite ingredient to use for this time of year?

I love peas. I’m working on a chilled pea soup for the spring menu.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

National

PHOTO: New Zealand Heral uses wrong image to…

The New Zealand Herald made a terrible mistake of using the wrong image to illustrate the tragic death of Staff Sergeant Guy Boyland – a New Zealand-born Israeli soldier who…

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.