When I study up on a restaurant it’s pretty common for recurring themes to present themselves. Maybe it’s a restaurateur’s childhood love of tacos or, perhaps, a chef’s hatred of truffle oil. In the case of Lower48 Kitchen, the Ballpark restaurant that I review in our October issue, that common thread was books. A pre-opening report in Westword revealed that the restaurant name came to co-owner Mario Nocifera after reading Paul Greenberg’s Four Fish. My phone interview with chef Alex Figura included a discussion of Daniel Humm’s Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook, Sandor Katz’s The Art of Fermentation, and other titles that can be spotted from Lower48’s chef’s counter. I quickly realized that this was an especially well-read team, which had me wondering which industry titles sit on their respective nightstands? Here’s what the crew behind Lower48 is currently reading:
Gabe Oliver-Kose, wine director—The New California Wine by Jon Bonne.
Alex Figura, chef-partner—Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast by Ken Forkish and The Third Plate by Dan Barber. “[Barber’s book] is great, it’s about the future of food,” Figura says. “I can hear his voice in my head.”
Lower48 Server—Service Included, Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter by Phoebe Damrosch.
Brittany Campbell, pastry chef—Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. “[Brittany] wanted to read about anything that wasn’t restaurant related,” Nocifera explains.
Mario Nocifera, co-owner—Sacred Hoops: Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior by Phil Jackson. “The book is all about building a team and striving to be the best and compete with a purpose,” Nocifera says. “Identifying a vision is extremely important because vision is the source of leadership. Redefining your vision is crucial year in and year out because vision is directly related to culture.”
Several of these titles should be on any food lover’s must-read list. In fact, I’ve been wanting to thumb The New California Wine for months and, thanks to this reminder from Oliver-Kose, it finally sits on my own nightstand. What are you reading?
—Image courtesy of Lower48 Kitchen