“My Southern upbringing completely influences my work,” says The Gumbo Bros co-founder and executive chef Adam Lathan. “The cooking I grew up with is the inspiration for opening The Gumbo Bros. I learned to make ‘proper’ gumbo from my great-grandmother and am still pursuing the perfect gumbo recipe.” You’ll be able to try out some of Lathan’s Southern-style cooking at Dan’s Rosé Soirée on Sunday, May 26.
First word (or words) that comes to mind when you hear “Taste of Summer.”
Barbecue and beer and crawfish boils. In the South, where I’m from, crawfish season is the first sign that summer’s arrived.
You can invite three people, living or dead, to your dinner party. Who are they, and what would that meal be?
Winston Churchill, Johnny Carson and Lorne Michaels. We’d probably have a simple steakhouse dinner—rib eye, creamed spinach, etc.
What’s your favorite dish to prepare, and do you enjoy eating it as much as preparing it?
Homemade chicken and dumplings, and absolutely—it’s my favorite!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
“Celebrate the good, fix the bad, learn, and move on.” It was from Chef Bradford Thompson. Great words to live by.
Share your funniest/most unforgettable/oddest kitchen incident.
I once had a customer ask me for my pickle recipe because she really liked the pickles on our Po’boys so much. When I told her that I outsource them, she said she didn’t believe me and got a little miffed that I was “withholding my recipe.”
Who do you most admire in the food/wine world and why?
I have to say Daniel Boulud. He’s the king!
What is going to be the “next big thing” on the East End food scene?
Hopefully crawfish boils! I’m excited to be doing one at Rosé Soirée. They’re becoming more popular in New York, and I can say that we’re the only ones doing them just like in Louisiana. We ship them in fresh, in season only, and we’re excited to be sharing this wildly popular tradition with folks on the East End.
What are your hobbies/passions/interests outside the world of food, wine and work?
I’m an avid deer hunter. I go home every year for a week or two to relax in the woods, cook, develop recipes and get away from the city.
Tell us a secret…
No way. I ain’t no snitch!
What’s the oddest request you’ve ever received from a diner?
People occasionally ask us to overcook and burn their shrimp, catfish, etc. It gives me crippling anxiety.
What’s the ultimate cocktail?
A Paloma in the summer, an Old Fashioned in the winter.
What talent would you most like to have?
I wish I could play the piano.
What’s your comfort food and why?
Fried chicken—it’s the best thing on the planet to me.
What is the most memorable thing you’ve ever tasted?
My wife and I spend a couple of weeks in the South of France for our honeymoon. I tried not to think about work the whole time, but it’s hard to do when you’re eating the food there.
What’s a unique kitchen ritual you practice?
Whenever I need to cook or want to work on a special dish, I come in early into the restaurant early in the morning, before any of the staff is there. It’s therapeutic to cook alone and enjoy the kitchen without the hustle and bustle of service.
If you were not in the food or wine business, what would you be doing?
I’d be a history professor.
What has surprised you the most about working in the East End culinary scene?
I was born and raised in Alabama, so I haven’t spent a lot of time on the East End. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how beautiful the beaches are, and how nice the people have been!
What is your go-to karaoke song?
I can’t sing—ask my wife!
It’s your last weekend on earth—what’s the menu?
French onion soup, smoked duck, dirty rice, and pot de crème.