Interview with Chef Mitch Prensky of Supper

Chef Mitch Prensky

Mitch Prensky
Chef / Owner of Supper
926 South Street Philadelphia, PA 19147
www.supperphilly.com

Brief Bio Chef and Proprietor Mitch Prensky and his wife and partner, Jennifer London Prensky, are one of Philadelphia’s most respected “culinary couples.” As the owners and operators of The Global Dish Caterers, a singularly successful event planning company, and Supper, one of the city’s most ambitious and well-regarded restaurants, they have long been at the cutting edge of the restaurant scene, using their talents in the kitchen and their skills as entrepreneurs.

In 2008, Mitch and Jennifer opened Supper to rave reviews and a loyal neighborhood following. Their fresh approach to cuisine, known in foodie circles as “urban farmhouse,” won them a prestigious “Three Bell: Excellent” review from The Philadelphia Inquirer and a place in Philadelphia magazine’s annual “Best of Philly” issue in 2009 & 2010 as well as a top 25 ranking among that magazine’s “50 Best Restaurants” three years running. Supper was also recently praised in The New York Times as, “perfectly capturing the spirit of Philadelphia dining.”

As early as 1995, Mitch and Jennifer were preparing to open a fine dining restaurant in Center City Philadelphia. While they were in the preliminary planning stages, they found themselves frequently approached by friends and acquaintances to cater private dinner parties. Together, they found that designing custom menus and creating one-of-a-kind experiences for their guests was an interesting and challenging niche of the fine dining industry that they hadn’t yet explored.

To continue their work in catering and private event planning, they created The Global Dish Caterers. The company’s vision, to act as “event artisans” by creating a “personal restaurant” for each client and serving the highest quality of food with inimitable hospitality and flawless ambiance, made The Global Dish an instant success and garnered Mitch and Jennifer enormous awards and praise for outstanding food, service, hospitality and originality.
Mitch Prensky is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute and alumnus of such prestigious Manhattan restaurant kitchens as L’Ecole, Le Chantilly and Mesa Grill. His continuing education in haute cuisine has led him to stints at March and Daniel, also in New York City. Chef Prensky has worked as corporate chef for Vann’s Spices, and is a member of The Chef’s Collaborative for Sustainable Agriculture and The Philadelphia Fair Food Project.

Why is the pairing of food & beer important to you? I have always preferred pairing my food to beer. Beer is food. In order to get a great flavor profile from a beer the brewmaster infuses the malt, hops and wheat with any flavor that he is looking for in that beer. Unlike wine where the natural aging of the grape gives perceived nuances and aromas of a certain food item (i.e melons, berries, etc.) Since I am an American Chef cooking seasonal American food in this country, I look for beer and wine pairings that have a sense of place. To that end, beer naturally complements my style of cooking

What got you started on pairing food & beer? As a beer drinker and a chef I find that it has always been an easy thing to do. I have been pairing beer with my food for the past 25 yrs.

Who are the chefs you admire? I admire chefs that don’t play with their food and aren’t enamored of the latest toy or gadget that’s out there. Guys that cook seasonally and locally with not too much fuss. People like Jonathan Waxman, Frank DeCarlo, Paul Bertolli, Thomas Keller, Tom Colicchio. But also food innovators like Edna Lewis and Alice Waters.

What are some of your favorite pairings? Spicy fried chicken with Ommegang Farmhouse Saison, Smuttynose IPA with Rogue Smokey Blue Cheese, Allagash white with pan roasted sea scallops, beets, yogurt and cucumber.

Favorite style / beer to pair with? I like the bitter notes in IPA’s. I find that they pair well with rich cheeses and funky offal meats like tripe and sweetbreads. I also like pairing a hoppy beer with our lamb merguez flatbread.

Favorite all time beer? Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA

Feature dish in which you pair beer with food or use beer in preparing the dish? Our BBQ pork loin: The loin is stuffed with housemade country sausage, then wrapped in Nueske’s bacon. We serve this with collards that are braised in beer with bacon and ginger, Anson Mills grits gnocchi and a Black Jack BBQ Jus that uses Dock Street Man Full of Trouble Porter and Stumptown coffee for its base

Thoughts on the future of food & beer in fine dining? It’s only going to get better from now until god knows when. Beer makers are presenting chefs with so many options and my job as a chef is to figure out how to honor the integrity of their work. The sky’s the limit.

Favorite restaurant in a city not your own? Peasant in NYC.

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