Zack Mills assumed the role of executive chef of Wit & Wisdom in the Four Seasons on July 22. The 33 year-old Davidsonville native has been an executive sous chef with the Mina Group, overseeing the mid-Atlantic region in the past.
Q: Did you always know you wanted to be a chef?
A: Yes. Cooking has been a part of my life since I was little. My family and my childhood inspired me to pursue cooking on a professional level.
Q: What was your first job in food?
A: I was 16. I worked for a catering company called Main Ingredient in Annapolis.
Q: What do you see as your greatest culinary achievement so far?
A: Well, recently I had the pleasure of working with chef Michael Mina [of Wit & Wisdom]. I was able to learn from him and helped him to open a number of restaurants.
Q: How do you describe your style of cooking?
A: I would say my cooking is simple. Not overcomplicated, maybe four or five beautiful ingredients on a plate, and local.
Q: Where did you complete your training?
A: I studied at the French Culinary Institute in New York, but I would say Andrew Evans was my first true mentor. I also learned from Michael while I worked with him.
Q: Do you plan to introduce a new menu now, or in the coming months?
A: Yes and no. We recently made a format change to the menu, and I’m slowly putting new items on the menu here and there. There will be more of my new dishes in mid-September.
Q: What dish are you most looking forward to?
A: The first dish to hit the menu is a chilled foi gras that has really nice summer flavors. Also, a pork belly roasted in the oven. It’s a sort of higher end barbeque.
Q: What are a few ingredients you can’t live without?
A: Bacon. Rice, I’m a huge rice guy. Eggs. I’m not a breakfast guy, but I love breakfast for dinner.
Q: After working all day in the kitchen, do you enjoy cooking at home?
A: Sometimes. I cook once or twice a week at home. I definitely cook on the days I’m off.
Q: When you’re not in your own restaurant, where do you like to eat?
A: I’m a mamma’s boy, so I love mamma’s home cooking. It’s nice to come home, and my family is local, so I’m able to do that. Right now my wife and I live in D.C., in Chinatown, so I also like to hang out around there.