Delicious DIRT’s Exclusive Interview With Michael Kornick

Wanna get ELEVATED? Now you’re in luck because Delicious DIRT is beginning our series of flavorful interviews exclusives.  We’re getting up close and personal with some of our favorite big shots.  You’ll read it, you’ll watch it, you’ll hear it and if you’re lucky, you might even taste it.  By now you know we love flavorful JUICE as we’re huge food nerds.  Stay tuned as we serve up much Delicious DIRTFOOD MAFIA style!

The DIRT Team could not be more grateful for Chef Michael Kornick.  As you know, MK is executive chef + partner in mk, DMK Burger Bar, Fish Bar and partner in N9NE Group Vegas.  MK is not only a genius conscious chef, he is also a passionate family man who cares deeply about family, friends, dogs, community, politics, giving back, sustainable food / wine  + oh so much more.

A true Chicago man through and through, MK is an interesting and articulate dedicated chef who goes above and beyond to support local sustainable treasures more than most.  His culinary philosophy centers around serving locally produced conscious foods and wines.  Thank you for being you MK! Below, get to know this big shot as we go inside the mind of the man behind some of our all time #favorite meals.

President Obama + Lisa & Michael Kornick @ mk, Photo by Todd Bannor

Did You Know? Juice We LOVE:

**This spring, MK hosted Obama’s kick-off to the 2012 election campaign at mk the restaurant. His resto was chosen to hold the DNC’s first key fund-raising dinner for the 2012 Obama Democratic National Committee campaign.  AMAZE.  At $35,800 a plate, the event sold out at 50 people and served only sustainably produced food and wine.  Kornick told us, “President Obama asked how we’ve been, chatted a bit and kissed Lisa hello.  Truthfully, I thought that was the end for her.”  LOVE it. The Kornicks were avid on the campaign trail in ’08 and told the President, “We’ll be back out on the street to campaign with the kids again this time around.” GO BO!

**MK also sponsored a night at last year’s SOLD OUT 1st Annual Chicago Food Film Festival where he helped serve what you saw on the screen! DMK Burgers for all!  Don’t miss the 2011 NYC + Chi Food Film Fests this fall where you can TASTE WHAT YOU SEE ON THE SCREEN. MK might even bring some Fish Bar action in this time around. You. Never. Know.  Stay tuned…

**Heads up: Toque is Sept 8th.  This important culinary event raises money for Children’s Oncology Services (life changing important organization + past Invest For Kids recipient).  Chef Kornick is the chef chair of Toque which raises funds to send children with cancer to summer camp -> Camp One Step.  Toque’s success  helps children with pediatric cancer to just be kids by sending them to one of their camp.  Get to Toque + give back while enjoying delectable dishes created by Stephanie Izard, Michael Kornick, Mindy Segal, Mark Steuer, Graham Elliot Bowles,  and many more of your favorite Chicago chefs! Other Toque participating chefs include but are not limited to: Erick Williams (MK), Tony Galzin (MK), Chris Pandel (The Bristol), Cleetus Friedman (City Provisions), Frank Brunacci (Sixteen), Ryan Pitts (RL).

Food Mafia Godfathers Michael Kornick + Hubie Greenwald @ Food Mafia Video Shoot, Photo by MBK

Thankfully, Michael Kornick himself was kind enough to let Delicious DIRT inside his heart and mind (BELOW).  And what a pleasure!  CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE

Delicious DIRT (DD): How do you like & dress your Chicago hot dog?
Michael Kornick (MK):
Everything “Chicago Style” = mustard, onions, relish, dill pickle, tomato, sport peppers, celery salt, 9 to 1 natural casing steamed never grilled, poppy-seed bun. 
Where from?
Wiener’s Circle, Gold Coast Dogs and for simple tradition Gene and Judes.

Fried Lemon Rings @ Fish Bar = #DeliciousDIRT, Photo by MBK

DD: How do you like your pizza (thin, thick & what toppings)?  Where From?
: Top 4. Thin only, in Chicago, Great Lake, Piece, Ranaldi’s, Giggios (Evanston) in NYC, John’s on Bleeker, Patsy’s in Harlem, Co. on 23rd and 9th. In L.A. Pizzaria Mozze, In Las Vegas, Nove Italiano and I am almost considering going to Arizona for Pizza Bianco.

MK on set @ Food Mafia Video Shoot, Landmark, Photo by MBK

DD: How’d you get into food business? Tell us about your first jobs and the origination of your genius.
Thought I wanted to be a chef by the time I was 11 or 12, cooked a lot at home, first job at Wildberry in Highland Park Il. 1977, then Arnies North, and others in the suburbs.

DD: What’s your favorite part about food & resto biz?
I love the craft of cooking and the food and wine experiences I have enjoyed in my own restaurants and throughout the world. The most compelling and important aspects of my longevity in the business have been the people I have had the pleasure to serve, the honor to work with and the friendships I have made through the industry. The connection to our individual histories our communities and our ability to contribute to the cultural and social development of our great City.

DD: Least favorite?
The struggle to compete against the large brands with national buying power and often little interest in educating the consumer, little integrity about truth in menus and little interest in developing and raising quality versus profits.Consumers in this country settle for the poor and cheap food and beverage quality continually.

Salmon Carpaccio, Lobster Roll + Octopus A La Plancha are true #DeliciousDIRT @ Fish Bar, Photo by MBK

DD: Name your all time top 12 favorite things about food?
: You mean objects, not people, places or activities? I will focus on food and cooking related things.
A. Food
; Salt & pepper or chilis (of which all cooking relies), eggs, lobsters, sea urchin, squab, parmigiano-regianno, guinea hen, striped bass, fins de claire french oysters, English farm house cheddar. French black truffles and Alba white truffles, and last but not least, my memory of 000 Iranian Beluga Caviar, before endangerment.
Things; First and foremost Ranges (for without instant indoor fire, cooking would be a bitch), glass, steel tools such as knives and whisks, refrigeration, food processors, vita-mix blenders, airplanes, (we would have quite a different diet in February in Chicago without them), ice cream batch freezers, non-stick surfaces, French oak barrels.

DD: What 7 movies do you love the most?
: Impossible to limit to just 7, Could watch over & over? 7 Directors, are easier. Michael Curtiz, Casablanca, Francis Ford Coppola,The Godfather 1&2, Guy Ritchie, Snatch, Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill Vol.1&2, Pulp Fiction,  Woody Allen, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Sleeper, Annie Hall, Stanley Kubrick, A clockwork Orange, The Shining, Dr. Strangelove, Mel Brooks, Young Frankenstein, Blazing saddles,  Harold Ramis, Stripes, Caddyshack, Animal House.

DD: How do you start & end each day?
Start: Green tea, 4 teens off to school, NPR morning edition.  End:  walk my puppy Goldie.

DD: What do you cherish most in your life & why?
My family and friends, everything else is easily replaceable.

DD: If you were going to die next week, what foods would you NEED to have & from where?
A whole week, that’s a lot of grub; Oysters from Brittany, Dublin bay Prawns (Langoustines) from the Irish Sea, Dover sole or Turbot, goat cheeses finished at Marie Cantin in Paris, English Farmhouse Cheddar from Neals Yard Dairy in London, A roast Chicken at L’amis louis with a bottle of 89 Haut Brion. Eggs and truffles, toasted baguette at Georges V, paris, Barbacoa tacos from La Pasadita, Tripe sandwich at the market in Florence, Red and White pizza at Il Forno on the campo di fiore, Baby japanese squid (with the guts) from Yoshi  at Sushi Yasuda NYC, Raku’s cold green tea noodles and fried fish, Las Vegas, Mindy’s Hot Chocolate, Ganache and Caramels from Maison au Chocolate in Paris, Tripe alla Parmigiano at Babbo NYC, Fried whitebait at Esca, NYC Progression of fluke at Le Bernardin NYC, Pumpkin soup with burnt flour at La Ferme de Mon Pere, Marc Veyret, Megeve France.

Michael Kornick, Fish Bar, Photo by MBK

DD: Give me the who what where why on mk, DMK, & Fish Bar.
mk: Who: Lisa and me. What: A real restaurant, providing ambiance, food an beverage served attentively. Hospitality from the heart. Why: Culmination of my experience and dream of ownership. Where: 868 n. Franklin.
DMK: Who: David Morton and me, DMK Burger Bar. Why: a big void in the Marketplace. What a great restaurant, specializing in great burgers and craft beers with great hospitality. Where: 2954 N. Sheffield Ave. 
Fish Bar:
Who, David Morton and me. What: an east coast clam shack marries a New Orleans oyster bar= Fish Bar. Why: very few if any casual places for sustainable fresh fish in an inexpensive setting serving pristine oysters, fresh lobster and fried clams. Where: 2956 N. Sheffield Ave.

Crabby Patty @ Fish Bar, Photo by MBK

Chef Michael Kornick — Chef and Partner mk, DMK Burger Bar, Fish Bar.


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