Gastropub chef keeps things simple
CHICAGO – April Bloomfield looks like a cop. Her chin juts. Her eyes assess. She’s quiet, short, compact, her manner direct and unfussy. Though there is a compelling argument that Bloomfield has done more in the past decade to change the way we eat than any other chef in this country, in person she is more serene, shy and no-nonsense than evangelical or dourly insistent; though she may have inadvertently inspired more urbane food trends than you could shake a hipster foodie at, she herself seems unassuming, even oblivious.
When I ask her about the pig on the cover of her new cookbook, “A Girl and Her Pig: Recipes and Stories,” she says, “Oh, he came from my supplier.” The pig is cute, pink and though it’s nice to think he’s sleeping, draped over her shoulders, he’s dead. Did she eat him? “We all ate him. We try to treat things with respect. It was a fast photo shoot and we had a lot of food and those things can’t sit on ice for too long, you know.”
She says this with the air of someone who takes little for granted. Bloomfield is 38, grew up in working-class Birmingham, England, and despite the casualness, in conversation you realize she also has the fidgety self-consciousness of a cop – indeed, she planned to be a policewoman and has retained a fondness for order, for things just so. In a 2010 New Yorker profile, her staff referred to her cooking style as “anal rustic.”
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