Chef’s Corner: It Does a Body Good: Milk Money executive and sous chefs talk turkey

Milk-Money-SymbolWith a menu that features deviled eggs and ranges from patatas bravas to dhal, you can expect no lack of flavor when you dine at Milk Money. Executive chef, William Lehman, and Milk Money’s sous chef, who for confidentiality wants to be referred to as @grumblesthacook, make sure of that. Lehman began cooking at age 16, then took the leap from Cape Cod to PVD to attend Johnson & Wales University. After building an impressive resume at multiple PVD restaurants, he found himself at Milk Money. The sous chef started his journey in Brooklyn as a dishwasher with dreams of becoming a cook and having space to farm and raise chickens, so he worked his way up the ladder to Milk Money.

Gabrielle Halliday (Motif): What menu item would you recommend to someone who has never been to Milk Money?

Milk Money (@grumblesthacook): Half chicken!

William Lehman: This man has a way with chicken! I think it’s because he spends so much time with them.

MM: I feel like I should have mastered anything chicken and egg related, so we do a rub on roasted half chicken and right now it’s served with a delicata squash salad. If you’re coming with a group and you want to share something, that’s the place to start.

GH: Where do you eat most often on your time off? What do you order?

WL: When I’m drunk, I want pizza, haha. But I eat at home. My girlfriend is also a chef and she’s working on setting up her own catering company, so she does a lot of cooking at home. I cook a decent amount, but not as much as her. That’s definitely the place where I eat the most outside of here.

MM: Honestly, I would say the same thing. I’m lucky enough to have a partner who is dabbling in cooking as well. She’s not a chef. She’s a photographer, but she works from home, which allows her to be able to cook. When we go out to eat, I like to go to North or breakfast places like JP Spoonem’s or Ed’s Roost, which as far as I’m concerned is the best breakfast in Rhode Island. Gotta get the corned beef hash!

GH: If you were an herb, which herb would you be?

MM: I would have to say thyme because its long, spindly and hearty. It can be used in just about any culture’s food. It also handles winter well, but doesn’t prefer it. That’s me.

WL: I would be lemon verbena because I’m delicious if I’m treated right, but maybe a little bitter, too.

GH: It’s your last weekend on Earth, what food city are you visiting? What food item are you going for?

MM: That’s very easy. I’m going to Jamaica and there’s this guy named Tony who has a soup and chicken cart where he serves smoked jerk chicken and a rotating soup. I would eat that the entire weekend.

WL: I would go to Italy, for sure! There’s a little coastal town called Viareggio where I had a ridiculously long lunch one time. The seafood was insane! They served it in a seafood stew. Mussels, squid and bits of fish in a broth poured over crusty bread and a lot of wine.

GH: Name one person, dead or alive, who you would love to cook with. Why?

MM: Kenny Shopsin. He recently died, and he owned this general store/ delicatessen in New York for 30 or 40 years and was featured in a documentary called I Like Killing Flies. He was the type of person who stuck to their guns doing what they want, doing it their way, and was successful with it and killed it in his own lane. I would definitely do a brunch weekend with him.

WL: Paul Newman would be cool so I can get all of his salsa and salad dressing recipes.

GH: What’s your Rhode Island guilty pleasure?

WL: All of Rhode Island is a guilty pleasure, haha.

MM: Clamming and quahogging. I took every nice day that I could over the summer to go clamming. If I couldn’t be in my garden, then that’s where I would like to spend my time.

WL: Not driving very far. Everything’s less than 10 minutes away!

GH: What’s the recipe for a great kitchen?

MM: You try to build an environment where people feel accepted and comfortable and able to be themselves. If there was a recipe for making things work and making good food, it comes from the chemistry and bonding in the kitchen and everyone holding themselves to the same standard. I think cooperation and collaboration in a hard work environment is what makes good food, and it doesn’t matter where you’re making it as long as you’re enjoying it with good people.

GH: What’s different about your negroni?

WL: A lot of people think that the golden ratio for a negroni is 1:1:1 of campari, sweet vermouth and gin, but I like a 1.5 ratio on gin. That, to me, is key!

Chef William’s Perfect Negroni

1.5 oz Gin

1 oz Campari

1 oz Sweet vermouth

  1. Add all the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Stir until chilled, then strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.
  3. Garnish with an orange peel. 

Be sure to follow both chefs on social media: (@topgun_349) & (@grumblesthacook)

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