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2015 Trends with Johnny Spero

Washington DC Dining DC
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Animal fat! Foraging! Fermenting! If you’re going to talk the future of food, your best bet is Johnny Spero—DC’s uniquely badass chef who brings global culinary perspective to minibar by José Andrés. We chatted with him about the trends making headlines, like restaurants going vegetable-forward. “Noma’s René Redzepi has been the spokesperson for treating vegetables with care, especially the ones you can get from within your region,” he tells us. Johnny would know: In 2011, he staged in René’s kitchen, often named No. 1 in the world. On the carnivorous side, fatty meat is in. “At Minibar, we use Japanese Wagyu beef; before the word fat was associated with bad, but people are realizing that’s where the flavor is,” he says.

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Speaking of Japan, he says it’s huge right now, "from ingredients to techniques. It’s so much more than raw fish—it’s time to dig deeper." In DC alone, we’ve seen new izakayas (Japanese pub food restaurants) open in the past few years like Izakaya Seki and Daikaya. Johnny also digs the trend of chefs using rustic methods like wood-fired grills to cook food that then gets presented in modern, avant-garde ways. “It’s elevating the food we do now.” Johnny’s work at minibar, known as much for magic as top taste, landed the restaurant the second spot on Washingtonian’s recently released “100 Very Best Restaurants.”