Downtown had the pleasure of conducting Q&A with not only Colin and Tony from CHOPT, but also Chef Harold. All three of the interviewees have plenty of exciting projects ahead of them. More on CHOPT can be found at www.choptsalad.com, while the brand is on Twitter as @Chopt. Beyond www.harolddieterle.com, Harold can also be visited via the Internet on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
How did this partnership come together?
Harold Dieterle: We met through some mutual friends. I was very inspired by their team focus, office culture, and dedication to sourcing amazing ingredients.
Tony Shure: At CHOPT, Food & Beverage is our biggest department and we’re always looking to incorporate people who can add depth and authenticity to what we do. When the opportunity came up to work with Harold for our Thai Destination Salads, it was a no-brainer.
What is your favorite item on the CHOPT menu?
Colin McCabe: Typically, I go for whatever the current destination salads are; I’m obsessed with our Thai Market Salad at present. Beyond that, I love to customize our Kale Caesar with vegetables like carrots and celery, and add in Mama Lil’s spicy peppers for some heat.
HD: I have a Customer Craft Salad I eat pretty much every time. Kale and romaine lettuce blend, grilled chicken, avocado, cucumber, parmesan-quinoa crisps, and Mexican Caesar dressing.
TS: I love the ability to customize my salads. My latest go-to is our Thai warm bowl with green curry turkey meatballs and kelp noodles. I add avocado and our Chile Lime vinaigrette to make it my own.
Is there a professional accomplishment that you’re most proud of?
CM: I’m most proud that, after eating 16 years of being open, I still crave CHOPT every day. In fact, I eat it at least five times per week. I believe that says volumes about our continuing focus on food innovation and is a reflection of the awesome team that we have built over the years.
TS: I’m most proud that, over the 16 years we’ve been open, our food has gotten better every single year. That’s not typical in a restaurant company, and I think it’s a real testament to our dedication and focus.
HD: I’m proud that over the years I’ve been blessed to work with so many talented and professional people.
CHOPT aside, what is your favorite restaurant in New York?
CM: EN Japanese Brasserie — to me, this is what Japanese food is all about. It’s all good, but I really love how they elevate vegetables.
TS: BC Kitchen and ABC Cocina. I love knowing that the food served at those restaurants came from the Union Square farmers market that I walk through on my way there.
HD: Too many to name.
HD: I’m continue to build my consulting & hospitality company, HD Hospitality. I’m also developing a new fast casual concept.
TS: Continuing to focus on making our food as delicious as possible in collaboration with great chefs like Harold.
When not busy with food-related matters, how do you like to spend your free time?
CM: Aside from spending time with my family, I am currently training for my first Ironman distance triathlon.
HD: Spending time with the family and fishing weather permitting.
TS: Exploring new restaurants around the country.
Finally, any last words for the kids?
CM: As my grade school cafeteria chef always told me, “Eat the Rainbow!” That’s food with color, like vegetables…
TS: Find something you’re passionate about that doesn’t feel like work and go deep on it.
HD: Eat your vegetables!