Behind The Line With Basso Executive Chef Patrick Connolly

 In Food

This week, The Dish caught up Basso executive chef Patrick Connolly for the chance to pick the James Beard Award-winner’s brain on everything from favorite seasonal ingredients to life as a new dad.

Image courtesy of Basso

Image courtesy of Basso

ALIVE: What excites you the most about cooking at Basso?
Patrick Connolly: Definitely the wood fire grill and oven.  It’s a luxury I’ve always had to go outside to experience, but here at Basso we get to do it every day.

ALIVE: Do you have a favorite local ingredient to feature in the kitchen?
PC: Right now, it’s the pattypan squashes.  I’ve never been a fan of cooked summer squashes, so we shave them raw, season with lemon, sea salt, olive oil and caraway and finish with smoked trout, spring onion, fried capers and a lemon aioli.

ALIVE: Is there a specific inspiration for your new summer menu items?
PC: Pretty much just vegetables.  Eating lighter, feeling good.  It’s Speedo season, you know.

ALIVE: Those pizza names are unlike anything else across town. Any secret to all the creativity?
PC: The pizza names come from kitchen brainstorm sessions either during prep or having drinks after work. Our favorites since we’ve opened have been ‘The Notorious F.I.G.,’ ‘The AC Slater,’ and ‘Ramp City, B&$%@.’ They usually start with a great tasting pizza, then the name comes second. One exception is ‘That Fish Cray’ which our grill man, Cory, came up with. Recipe still in development.

ALIVE: Are you hands-on when it comes to kitchen-bar collaborations?
PC: Our bar team does a great job crafting the cocktail list. I’m there for advice if they need it, but I’m not much of a cocktail guy myself, so my creations usually just involve bourbon and an ice cube. I did, however, get a ‘Boat Drinks’ section onto our menu that features classic refreshing, outdoor, summertime drinks like Pimm’s Cup and Aperol Spritz.

ALIVE: Is Italian your favorite cuisine to cook at home?
PC: It’s one of them, for sure. I’d say in the winter, we make lasagnas and eggplant parm often on Sundays. My wife and I just had our first child, Sadie, and while my wife looks fantastic, I have lots of baby weight to lose. So these days, dinner is very very green—lots of salads, quinoa, lentils and roasted fish…oh, and Vinho Verde.

ALIVE: If you were eating with your family at Basso, what would be the ideal meal for the table?
PC: If we were in tonight, I’d order the roasted carrots, shishito peppers, duck agnolotti, grilled corn and the Ramp City, B&$%@. And probably that bourbon with an ice cube I mentioned earlier.

Check out Connolly’s creations at Basso Monday through Saturday from 4pm to 1am.  7036 Clayton Ave., Clayton, 314.932.7820.

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