Before taking on the head chef role at Joshua Henderson's Hollywood Tavern, Angie Roberts spent a total of 11 years in hotel kitchens, most recently at Hotel 1000 where she happened to impress the Skillet founder with the quality of her room service. When Hollywood Tavern opens this fall, Roberts says she's most excited to create an elevated diner experience. And by "elevated" she means making her own soft serve and American cheese. "Our goal is to have something where people go to more than once a week; where it's comforting and unique in its own way," she says.
Roberts originaly wanted to attend pastry school, but decided to go the savory route because the chef she was working for at the time told her, "every great pastry chef needs to learn the savory side of food first." Roberts then worked at W Seattle under Maria Hines for six years and then at Hotel 1000. Both places, Roberts says, has helped her to understand the ins and outs of each cooking position as well as how to multi-manage a large staff.
While long hours are still in her future, Roberts is looking forward to working in a place that isn't open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. She will still, however, be dividing her time between managing regular in-dining patrons and catering for private events at Woodinville Whiskey's massive new distillery next door.
Here, a few of Angie Roberts' favorite things:
Dish to make at home: I like one-pot/pan dishes at home. My go-to dish is hash, I make all kinds, breakfast hashes loaded with fresh veggies topped with poached, scrambled, or fried eggs. I even do different hashes for dinners; I love to include roasted meats, wild mushrooms, and whatever I can get my hands on at the farmers market.
Biggest restaurant pet peeve: When I am choosing a place to go for a meal I always consider where I can go that has not only great food but also decent service. My pet peeve is when restaurant chefs, owners, and managers do not make the quality of service just as important as the quality of food.
Transitioning from a hotel to a standalone restaurant is… Freedom! I’m looking forward to having creative freedom over the menu for the most part. I may have gentle nudging from Josh on some things, but I respect his palate and opinion tremendously.
Favorite item that will be on the Hollywood Tavern menu: This might sound cliche but it’s the Hollywood burger. I love cheeseburgers, I crave them all of the time.
Banned from your kitchen: Genetically modified foods, bad attitudes, and chili pepper pants.
Pairing food with whiskey is… Similar to food and wine pairing, however the added alcohol content of the whiskey affects the palate by giving the sensation of heat, making it a little more tricky to detect all of the nuances. With that in mind, there are so many flavor profiles associated with whiskey depending on how long it was aged, in what type of barrel, etc. I love to play on contrasts when doing pairings. For example, I might pair a full-flavored, bold, smoky whiskey something sweet, like chocolate, maple, or butterscotch.
Dish you wish you could make more of: I love Asian food, especially dumplings. I’m obsessed with Shanghai soup dumplings and want to master making them.
On the wish list: A tractor (because tractor races at Hollywood would be sweet), an outdoor wood fired oven, a La Caja China pig roasting box, beehives, and an herb garden.
Most memorable kitchen disaster: Having the hoods shut down in the middle of service on a blistering hot Friday evening in the middle of service. The restaurant instantly filled with smoke and we had to send a cook to the top of the roof to change a fan belt.
Type of cheese: I love burrata. My summer go-to is burrata with really good tomatoes, olive oil, and maybe some arugula.
Place to eat and drink on a day off: I love Ma’ono and my favorite bar is Loretta’s in South Park. Often times, if I’m not working, I’ll stick around my neighborhood (Georgetown) and ride my bike to the the places close to home.
Guilty pleasure: Cheap beer in a can, fried chicken, American cheese, and hotdogs with kimchi.
People you’d like to cook with: Jenn Louis of Lincoln and Sunshine Tavern in Portland, April Bloomfield of Spotted Pig and Breslin in New York City, David Chang of Momofuku in New York City, and Hubert Keller of Fleur de Lys in San Francisco.
Craziest work story that can be committed to print: After-hours dance parties including contests to see who could do the worm the farthest across the restaurant.