Fulcrum Catches Up with Richard Hetzler
May 26, 2011 Leave a comment
Richard Hetzler, executive chef of the Mitsitam Café at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and author of The Mitsitam Café Cookbook (ISBN: 978-1-55591-7470, $22.95), has had quite the year. Since The Mitsitam Café Cookbook (which took Richard 3 years to complete) came out in the Fall of 2010, the cookbook has received great exposure, including winning the Gourmand “Best in the World” Cookbook Award for Best Local Cuisine. Along with interviews and book signings, Richard traveled to Paris in March for the prestigious Paris Cook Fair, where he performed a cooking demonstration. Richard even had a stint on the Food Network late last year when he participated in the show “Chefs vs. City.” The Mitsitam Café and the NMAI were featured on the episode, which took place in Washington, DC.
And this week, Richard traveled to New York to attend in his first ever Book Expo America, North America’s largest publishing event. Richard participated in a couple of book signings and giveaways, and rumor has it he was even going to bring some delicious goodies with him to New York. I haven’t heard the scoop yet from our marketing team (who is still living it up in New York), but I was able to catch up with Richard a few weeks ago to discuss the excitement of the past year and his expectations for his first BEA experience.
Fulcrum: What was your experience like in Paris for the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards and the Paris Cookbook Fair?
Hetzler: Wonderful. To see something on that scale that was dedicated to food and wine was a great sight to see.
Fulcrum: How has life changed since The Mitsitam Café Cookbook won the Gourmand World Cookbook Award and how has the perception of The Mitsitam Café Changed?
Hetzler: Life has not changed too much yet—I would say it really has not set in yet. I’ve met so many great people that had authored books and didn’t receive recognition for them, and I had the opportunity to do this one book and won such a prestigious award.
Fulcrum: You are attending BEA in New York this year with Fulcrum. What are you looking forward to about visiting New York and being at BEA for the first time?
Hetzler: I will be attending BEA and this is my first convention of this type. I cannot wait. I am honored to attend and see what the show has to offer.
Fulcrum: What is in store for The Mitsitam Café this spring and summer? Any new dishes that you are excited about?
Hetzler: We change the menu seasonally so I am not sure yet, but I can assure whatever we put on the menu will be delicious.
Fulcrum: Do you have a favorite recipe from The Mitsitam Café Cookbook?
Hetzler: My favorite recipes are the moles (see Fulcrum’s recent blog post on making the Chicken Mole Verde Tacos from Richard’s book). They seem very complex, but truly are very simple and have so much flavor. They give you wonderful talking points when entertaining friends and family, i.e. you can discuss how chocolate is used in savory cooking and how it adds a wonderful complexity to the dish.