Dublin-born chef Darren Pettigrew was trained in London at the Da Vere Grand Connaught Rooms and grew up working in the kitchens of New York. Throughout his career he has donned the stove at countless established restaurants in New York honing his skills in the kitchen and continually pushing the envelope with more creative takes on everyday dishes. He previously owned seafood restaurant Stella Maris at the South Street Seaport for five years. He also spent a number of years working with famed restaurateurs Peter and Harry Poulakakos at their Financial District properties. Now he serves as the Executive Chef for the SRP NYC restaurant group, developing innovative menus for their various concepts.
Alfie’s Bar & Kitchen, the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood favorite that just celebrated its eight-year anniversary, spotlights a brand-new and refreshed New American Gastro Pub menu from new Executive Chef Darren Pettigrew. The restaurant is owned by seasoned restaurateur, Sean Hayden, whose career spans 25 years and serves as a partner of the SRP NYC restaurant group that operates Valerie, Dalton’s, and Jasper’s Tap House & Kitchen. Hayden saw a need to create a true restaurant experience for the community and was the first to bring a more sophisticated American kitchen to the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. Now Chef Pettigrew will be providing Alfie’s beloved customers with an inspired dining experience complete with elevated New American dishes, spotlighting locally sourced organic ingredients.
Broadwayworld.com had the pleasure on interviewing Chef Pettigrew about his career and Alfie’s Bar & Kitchen for our “Chef Spotlight.”
What was your earliest interest in cooking?
My earliest interest in cooking was making apple pies as a kid with my mother. Playing with dough made with lard and helping to peel Irish crab apples. The native crab apple grows wildly amongst the wild hedge rows and woodlands of Ireland. Probably the most bitter fruit I’ve ever tasted but makes for a great pie!
Who were some of your career mentors?
I’ve been very fortunate to have had many real mentors and talented people to help guide me throughout my career. Starting with Chef Cormac Healy at the National Yacht Club of Ireland. Chef Eric Lind; Chef Ebhenhart Mullers my left hand man, formerly of Lutece. Most recently, Master Chef Rich Rosendale.
What culinary styles have influenced your career?
I’m classically trained, so certainly French, Italian and Spanish, but a recent trip to Japan has turned the way I think about food on its head. Japanese food is very simplistic and pure in essence, but extraordinarily difficult to execute. I trained with a great group of Japanese chefs in rural Japan at the dream lab. Their dedication, technique and precision was something to be admired.
What do you consider the most distinguishing feature of your work as a chef?
Reforming totally new teams, learning to be more resilient and understanding how to constantly adapt to a forever changing landscape. In addition to learn how to handle all the other curve balls being thrown at us week in