- Young Kwak
- Manito Tap House\'s Executive Chef Branden Moreau is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu program.
INLANDER: What got you interested in Restaurant Week?
MOREAU:Well, I’ve done this event in Seattle. It was incredibly popular.
Are you expecting that same kind of popularity here in Spokane?
Absolutely. I think it’s a great event for any restaurant to do. For me, I want to showcase menu items. I put up my steak and my pork chop. I feel that those are some really great entrees. They’re on my menu all the time and then the mushroom risotto that I’m featuring is a special that I’m doing for [Restaurant Week]. I have three options for each course that happen to be gluten-free. I wanted to take that into consideration. I am a certified food allergy specialist through the Washington Restaurant Association, and that’s something that I take a lot of pride in. I’m very prideful that I cook here, everything’s made from scratch. … I want to showcase things that make the Manito Tap House the Manito Tap House.
How long have you been cooking?
I’ve been cooking for, let’s see. I’m 26 and I got my first job when I was 15.
Was that here in Spokane?
Yes, it was. I’ve worked with very reputable chefs in Spokane, at very reputable restaurants. I went to culinary school at Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon, the Le Cordon Bleu program. My internship through culinary school was at the Venetian, in Las Vegas, at Bouchon, Thomas Keller’s restaurant. That was a great experience and made me the chef I am today.
What was your inspiration for the black boar truffle risotto?
We haven’t done anything with mushrooms for a while and we just got a good hook on local mushrooms and I’m interested in seeing what they can provide for us. Myself and my management team in the kitchen, we sit down at a table and I bring to the table what is available right now and [ask] what do we want to play with? Then, how are we going to cook this? There’s so many ways that people cook food. It’s about finding the correct technique to cook. Even just the potatoes on the plate. What is the texture that we want? Do we want them roasted? Do we want them mashed? Sliced thin? It gets down to that level. It’s not, ‘Let’s mix up a plate and call it good.’
You mentioned beer dinners and pairing food with beer. Are there any beer pairings that you would recommend for this menu?
I don’t know what beers we will have available then, but we do have a certified cicerone on staff, which is kind of like a beer sommelier, that’s our owner [Patrick McPherson], and we have two cicerones in training. There will be no problem pairing beer with whatever you’d like. Don’t be afraid to ask. That’s why we’re here.