At iNG, Chef Tim Havidic brings style and substance to the kitchen. His innovative flair and creative eye have helped turn iNG into one of Chicago's premier dining destinations for modern and unique cuisine.
Here Chef Havidic answers some of fans' top questions about life as a chef and what really goes on in a restaurant kitchen:
1. How do you keep your dishes creative and unexpected? What inspires you?
Everywhere! If I limit my sources of inspiration, then I'm limiting myself. When I see a new ingredient or an old one I haven't worked with in a while, I think of ways to change it into something innovative, interactive, fun, and of course, delicious.
2. What is your favorite dish to prepare?
I don't have a favorite dish per se, but I love making stocks. They are the base of all sauces and braised items, so they really are the foundation for a great meal. When a stock is excellent, you know your finished product will be that much better.
3. Was there a moment (or perhaps a meal) that motivated you to become a chef?
I was 14 when I knew I wanted to become a chef. I was in high school and I had the opportunity to cook with CMC Steve Jilleba. Working beside him as his commis (chef apprentice) really motivated and inspired me He was so passionate about every little thing he did, and by the end of the experience, I knew I wanted to become a chef someday too.
4. How do you stay energized and engaged during such long shifts?
I usually go for a run or work out in the mornings before work. It gets the blood pumping for the day ahead. I'm also a big fan of coffee for the pm push.
5. Has post-modern cuisine always appealed to you?
Yes, since I saw Ben Roche preparing his crazy desserts on Food Network I was hooked.
6. Who is your chef inspiration or mentor?
A: My mentor would have to be Chef Tom Schneller. He was the first butcher I apprenticed under, and he was the chef who taught me the most about butchering. That's why I gravitate towards butchery and the perfect cut of meat in my cooking.
More personally, the chef who inspired me to cook would be my grandfather. He was a chef in the military, and I would watch him cook and help whenever I could.
7. What would be your last meal and who would prepare it?
Dover Sole Colbert by Chef Howard "Corky" Clark. I was his teaching assistant In culinary school and he would always tell me about this dish. I would love for him to make this!
8. What is your worst pet peeve when dining out?
For the service team, it would be dirty silverware. For the chefs, it would be cold food.
9. What is your must-have kitchen tool or gadget?
10.What is the funniest/most embarrassing mistake you ever made as a chef?
The second week working at moto I was prepping the fish station and running Garde Manger. The fish station ran out of confit leeks that I made just as 25 people were due to come in. Chef Chris Jones was screaming at me "Tim! Where are all of your leeks? Oh, Tim, you failed me!" I was devastated, lesson learned though!
11. What is next for postmodern cuisine? What do you see in the culinary future?
Over the past year I've seen an upturn in chefs looking towards nature for inspiration, such as by turning logs or big stones into plates, edible sticks or even beach scenes. I think that it will keep moving in that direction. The days of white round plates are over. Recreating a nature scene will stick a round for a good long while. It puts the diner in a certain atmosphere such as a farm or a beach, which gives them a completely different experience than if they just received food on a regular plate.
In the culinary future, I see chefs becoming more in tune with nature and seasons. Chefs are becoming more and more interested in whole animal butchery and produce that is as local as possible. Chefs are trying to shorten food miles and introduce a farm-to-table experience at every turn.
Two years ago Moto installed a state-of-the-art gardening system in the restaurant for moto and ing specifically to shorten food miles. It's awesome to be able to work with truly local ingredients, and we love to telling diners that their food was literally grown inside the restaurant! You don't get any fresher than that.