Tripveel sat down with Executive Chef Scott Walton of Acorn Restaurant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Where did you grow up and where have you traveled to that has helped inspire and shape your cooking philosophy?
I grew up in the Midwest, about an hour and half southwest of Chicago. My travels to Southern Indiana and Kentucky growing up (my parents and most of my family live there) probably shaped my love for simple, country seasonal cooking.
Tell our readers an interesting fact or two about yourself.
I have never eaten a composed plate in my restaurant. I cook and taste all the parts, but never sit and eat them all put together.
Tell us about your absolute favorite food and why readers should try it if they haven’t already.
I absolutely love the Mexican street food in Chicago.
What are three ingredients that you simply couldn’t live without?
Salt, butter and raging hot chili peppers (all varieties).
We love the art behind plating. What do you love about designing the perfect dish?
I love the imperfections of the ingredients. I absolutely love quirky, misshaped “ugly duckling” products and when they come together with simple execution, it’s perfect.
Tell us about one of the most creative dishes you’ve created?
That’s almost an impossible question to answer, but we did do a clear glass fried parsnip chip, as an accouchement to a dish.
Share your most recent awards and accreditations with us!
The most recent accolade I can share and probably the proudest moment in my career was the invitation to cook at the James Beard House last year.
What are some of the latest trends you’re seeing in top restaurants across the globe?
I think it’s the idea of casual and fine dining; what I mean is the quality of the service and food without the pretentiousness. I love fine dining but without being an absolute destination restaurant or in a city of seven million people to fill you six or seven nights a week, it’s almost impossible to survive. You have to be creative when owning a restaurant in a hip, yet old school neighborhood in Pittsburgh in order to accommodate both baby boomers and millennials.
What’s your favorite cocktail or liquor?
What do you love about being Executive Chef at Acorn Restaurant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania?
I love the fact that myself and my team have an opportunity to create memorable experiences for a hundred people a day.