“Taste America: Washington DC” by James Beard Foundation arrives in Anjou, northwest of the capital

The James Beard Foundation visits 20 cities in its 10th annual “Taste America” ​​series. This Thursday, the tour stops…

WTOP’s Jason Fraley previews Taste America in Anju (Part 1)

The James Beard Foundation visits 20 cities in its 10th annual “Taste America” ​​series.

This Thursday, the tour stops in the capital for a sold-out dinner at Anju on 18th Street, NW.

“It’s basically a satellite dinner chain across the United States joining chefs from different culinary backgrounds, highlighting the texture of American cuisine,” Executive Chef Angel Barreto told WTOP. “The James Beard Foundation has chosen chefs who lead kitchens by doing things differently… in an effort to shine a light on what it means to be a chef in our community.”

The event will feature a multi-course menu that combines signature Korean cuisine from Barreto with the famous Mexican food of Chef Ana Castro of Lengua Madre in New Orleans.

“You’re going to make fresh masa with beans and fermented daikon,” Barretto said. “[I’m] Making a cheese course using Irish Kerrygold cheese, a traditional Korean dish called Hotteok, which is a pancake…stuffed with various Irish cheeses and strawberry preserves. We also make… duck breast and rib eye ssam plate. “

Barreto reached the 2022 National Finals for Emerging Chef and Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic.

The Games Beard Awards for Most Chefs are eliteBarreto said. “Just being in the same class with so many chefs that I love is absolutely amazing. When I’m in Anjou, I don’t really think about a lot of things except for working and trying to get things done, so I feel good when people realize what you’re doing…it’s meaningful and impactful.” “.

What dishes are usually on the menu on a routine night out in Anju?

“Our most popular dish is Korean fried chicken…in a spicy gochujang sauce,” Barretto said. “We have pork dumplings and kimchi mandu. … Jjamppong is one of my favorite dishes, a spicy seafood noodle soup with scallops, mussels, shrimp, and calamari. …also, we have my regular dog, which is a marinated short rib…we do lettuce wraps with it. “

Pareto began his studies in political science, but soon found his passion for cooking.

“I grew up as a military kid on the go,” Barreto said. “My dad got a permanent position in the White House…so I grew up from the Clinton era through the Obama administration in the White House….This wasn’t the life for me, but I always had a passion for cooking from my mom, so I decided to go to …the Kitchen Academy of Maryland.”

He made his way from Vermilion in Virginia to Wolfgang Puck’s The Source in DC before landing at Mandu in 2006, which burned down and reopened as Anju in 2019.

“Mandu was one of the first Korean restaurants in the capital,” Barreto said. “Anju is a contemporary Korean restaurant, but we do a little bit of everything. … We have dishes from our Mother’s Original menu called Mama Lee classics. … Dishes from 16th century Korea. … Our goal is to show people the broad scope of what food is. Korean”.

The pandemic has been particularly harsh on the restaurant industry.

“We really had to come together as a team,” Barreto said. “We never really went when we opened Anju, the food was always in the house, so we had to figure out what dishes we could prepare on the go, how we could facilitate that and how we could do it in bulk with a smaller team, so the learning process was difficult, but… We persevered. She was a crucible.”

WTOP’s Jason Fraley previews Taste America in Anju (Part 2)

Hear our full talk here.

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