Silverman, a D.C.-area native, began cooking at 2941 in Falls Church before moving on to stints at restaurants run by some of the hottest chefs in the country, including McCrady’s in Charleston and Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York. Now, he’s back in the city and preparing to open his first restaurant, Rose’s Luxury, on Capitol Hill. Silverman has taken a decidedly DIY approach to outfitting his restaurant, going so far as to raise $20,000 through Kickstarter to buy design elements and tableware.
What D.C. chef, past or present, has been an inspiration for you? Why? "Every chef here acts as an inspiration for what I do. I find inspiration everywhere. Every place I’ve gone, every meal I’ve eaten, I find some kind of inspiration. But I have to say that chefs Jon Krinn and Temple Turner from 2941 had a huge influence on me."
If you had to pick a last meal for yourself from a D.C. restaurant, what would it be?
"Easy. Two Hong Kong-style ducks at Peking Gourmet, in my pajamas."
What’s the most hilarious or harrowing kitchen disaster you’ve experienced?
"Definitely the time when I was a cook at the original Momofuku in the East Village. Thomas Keller [of Napa Valley restaurant French Laundry] came to the door after we closed. No one could see his face since the closed sign was blocking it. We thought it was just some drunken dude trying to walk in off the street and eat after-hours (which happened often). The sous chef yelled, 'Tell that ---hole we’ve been open since noon, he’s had the last 12 hours to come in!' We finally realized it was Thomas Keller and apologized profusely. Fortunately, the guy is like the nicest guy on the planet and was totally cool."
Who wasn’t on this list that we should have included?
"Right now, I’m super excited about what Hiroshi and Cizuka Seki are doing over at Izakaya Seki."
What dish of yours best exemplifies your approach as a chef?
"I’d say one of our desserts: apples, cheddar, and Ritz cracker ice cream. We take the ice cream, pour hot apple compote on top, slather it with an apple syrup, drizzle on a bitter caramel sauce, add a pinch of sea salt, and then shave fancy cheddar cheese all over top. It tastes almost like apple pie. In my opinion, it does not suck."
If you hadn't been a chef, what profession would you have chosen?
"If I couldn't be a chef, I’d buy an oversized gold TCB necklace and a white sequin jumpsuit and become a professional Elvis impersonator."