Chefs Bob Adkins, Chef: The Rail

Chefs of Bira

An interview with:

Bob Adkins:

The Rail

Learn what drives the culinary professionals of
BIRA; their experiences, their history and their

Where/ when did you start cooking? What inspired you?

I started cooking at a young age helping my mother in the kitchen and cooking fish and game that my father and I would take from the lakes and woods of Southern Indiana. Inspiration comes from the drive to create and make people happy doing something that must be done, eating.

Training? Where have you worked?

My training has been exclusively on the job and in the trenches of kitchens. Mostly I have worked in Bloomington kitchens, Truffles, FARM, the Rail, Collins Dormitory. My first restaurant job was at a Frisches Big Boy in Indianapolis

What is your favorite food to eat?

I love seafood of all types. Some of my most memorable meals were on Maryland’s Eastern Shore picking blue crabs and eating french fries bathed in vinegar. Others on this list include fresh water fish, venison, cured meats, fermented vegetables, good pasta, and homegrown vegetables.

What is your favorite cuisine to cook? Why?

I really enjoy the big, fresh flavors of Latin American cuisine. I practiced archaeology in Central America and had some of the most memorable dishes of my life. There, Farm to Table isn’t just an idea or gimmick, but a way of life.

Give me an example of a Springtime menu you would like to cook for someone special.

A spring menu should include foraged foods such as ramps or nettles, maybe some morel mushrooms, fresh fish, lots of garden herbs and early veggies and a nice chilled Rose wine.

What do you do to insure quality of food going out to your customers?

Insuring quality food begins with informed and proper purchasing of menu items. Letting the fresh ingredients speak for themselves and preparing the tougher items using the proper techniques and complimentary flavors. Quality food is also the task of the entire kitchen, so proper training of everyone in the BOH is imperative. Tasting everything!

What accomplishments are you most proud of in your career?

I am proud to have had the opportunity to help open FARM under one the nation’s most talented Chefs in Chef Orr. Proud of making a living out of my passion.

What motivates you to do your best as a Chef?

First and formost the motivation comes from a food-hungry public that spends their hard-earned money at the restaurants I am fortunate enough in which to work. The unattainable yet ever present idea of perfecting a craft and passing that on to young cooks and chefs also motivates me. On a personal level motivation comes in the constant creative pressure this competitive industry provides.

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