For this week’s Hot Chef column, we’re going crazy and interviewing two chefs, Eduard Frauneder and Wolfgang Ban, the chef/owner team behind the recently opened Edi & the Wolf in Alphabet City. Edi & the Wolf was inspired by “Heuriger,” the casual, neighborhood taverns popular in Edi and Wolfgang’s native Austria. The duo talked to Metro about sharing a kitchen — and a menu.
Being co-chefs, what is the one thing you disagree on most in the kitchen?
Edi: We’ve known each other since culinary school in Austria, so over the years, we’ve ironed out most of our differences. We tend to disagree on what to cook for our staff meals. I like pasta, but Wolfgang typically wants a meat component. We compromise and end up alternating most nights.
Wolfgang: We mostly disagree when developing a menu, but yes, I do always push for meat when it comes to family meals! Come on Edi, we’re Austrian after all.
What’s your favorite thing to cook on the menu?
Wolfgang: I love to make the Wiener Schnitzel, which comes with potato salad, cooling cucumber salad and lingonberry jam. It’s airy and crisp and is definitely a house favorite.
Edi: My favorite thing to cook is the Sea Bass, which is served with squash, sunchoke and flash-pickled cipolini onions. It’s a rustic dish but still elegantly executed, which I think exemplifies our overall concept.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of sharing a kitchen?
Edi: The advantage is that you learn from every cook in the kitchen. A shared kitchen means a cross-pollination of ideas, sharing and lots of trial and error. A one-person kitchen can be a lonely place. I like the social, creative elements of a shared space. The disadvantage is that menu development takes longer because there are so many ideas.
Wolfgang: I was going to say the exact same thing — it’s great to have more than one personality in the kitchen. We both enjoy the back-and-forth and constant brainstorming. It only makes our dishes stronger. The drawback is when there are “too many cooks in the kitchen,” but we make it work.