And the feather in Chipotle’s crown these days is Nate Appleman, the 2007 James Beard Rising Star Chef award-winner and Chopped star who until a few months ago was the chef at Keith McNally’s Pulino’s, where he was putting out some awesomepizzas and a legendary late-night burger.
For the past three months, the chef has been working the line at the 8th Avenue Chelsea location of the chain: constructing burritos, testing recipes, and brainstorming on ideas to help the company move forward while maintaining its “food with integrity” slogan. It’s their test kitchen, see, and it’s designed to help figure out how every other Chipotle location can be more effectively run and produce tastier food.
Oh man, what’s he got in store? My mouth is already watering.
“The carnitas at Chipotle are made with pork shoulder, but pigs only have two shoulders—what happens with the rest of that pig? We’re trying to develop more recipes that utilize whole animals or alternative cuts,” explained Nate. When I pressed him on what cuts of pork were going into the chorizo, I got a one word answer: pork.Yes, but what kind of pork? “Uh… it’s… it’s pork,” he responded cagily. Apparently Chipotle holds their cards very close to the chest when it comes to their recipes.
The chorizo, by the way, is fantastic. Mildly hot with chilis with a nice hit of warm spices and a rich, crisp, fatty texture like the kind of good Italian sausage you’d want to crumble over your pizza. Cooked on a hot plancha, it develops a nice crisp browned crust. According to Nate, Chipotle is planning on replacing all of their grills with these high output flat-tops. About half of the locations in New York currently use them.
YUM. More good news, and Chipotle-porn, in the full article.