We are delighted to announce the launch of the new menu under the helm of Rob Newton, executive chef of Gray & Dudley at 21c Nashville. Celebrating Southern sensibilities, his new menu at Gray & Dudley is a reflection of his own Arkansas roots, informed by his travels abroad and influenced by the diverse immigrant communities across the region
Most recently, he lived in Brooklyn to focus on building his own restaurants, including Seersucker Restaurant, Smith Canteen, Nightingale Nine, Wilma Jean and Wilma Jean in DeKalb Market Hall. Rob also consulted on Black Walnut in the Brooklyn Hilton and Yellow Magnolia in Brooklyn Botanic Garden before moving to Nashville in 2018. He just completed his first cookbook, Seeking the South, which will be published in fall 2019. We sat down with him recently in Nashville to learn more about him and his approach in the kitchen.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to cook at home?
A: Probably a rib eye finished with butter and herbs or a nice piece of fish finished the same way and both served with a nice bibb salad and greens like yu choy cooked with garlic and a little fish sauce.
Q: How do you approach writing a menu?
A: I take a good look at what season I am in and where I am geographically and tie them together and then usually take an inspiration from either a classic or ethnic direction and try to stay in bounds with all that.
Q: What has surprised you about living in Nashville?
A: The amount of restaurants is staggering as are the choices in ethnic food. And a simultaneous and very frustrating absence of Chinese food.
Q: Who have you worked with that’s most inspired your style/technique?
A: Probably Floyd Cardoz or any of the various farmers I have been able to work with closely. That has been a real pleasure and I am grateful for that.
Q: What item is always in your pantry/refrigerator?
A: Bibb lettuce, pickles and condiments, fish sauce, various sambals, eggs, cheese, cured meats, and Soda Stream sparkling water.
Q: What are your favorite summer ingredients?
A: Corn, wild mushrooms-especially chanterelles, zucchini and squash, small okra, peaches, and watermelon
Q: What kitchen tool can you not live without?
A: Cast iron pan, micro plane, mandoline
Q: If you could have a meal with anyone, who would it be?
A: Barack Obama