Despite the common refrain that British cuisine doesn’t compare to that of its European counterparts, there is something comforting about the traditional dishes of England. And though we don’t hear about too many British chefs aside from Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay here in the States, April Bloomfield has certainly earned her place on this list.
Born in Birmingham, UK, April originally wanted to become a police officer, but decided instead to attend catering college with her sister. Upon graduating from catering college, April moved to London to work at Kensington Place and Bibendum before moving to New York to work at The River Café. It was at The River Café where April believes she truly learned the art of cooking, and when Mario Batali asked her to open a bistro-style restaurant, she jumped at the chance. The result was The Spotted Pig, opened in 2004; in 2005, the gastropub earned a Michelin star. Following up on the success of The Spotted Pig, April opened The Breslin in New York’s Ace Hotel, and naturally, The Breslin earned a Michelin star as well.
Since then, April has opened Salvation Taco, revamped and reopened Tosca Café in San Francisco, and in February of this year, opened Salvation Burger in New York’s Pod 51 Hotel.
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It might seem odd to consider that chefs from other countries are now adopting an American style of cooking, but that’s exactly what April has done. Before opening The Spotted Pig, April worked at Chez Panisse in order to make herself comfortable cooking with American ingredients. The menus at her various restaurants reflect her commitment to American cuisine, and there’s just enough of a European twist to remind us where April came from.
At The Spotted Pig, the menu is deceptively no-frills, but what the dishes appear to lack in ingredients, they make up for in flavor. Offerings include bibb salad with shaved radish & mustard vinaigrette; stracciatella with heirloom tomatoes, squash & basil; rabbit rillettes with mustard, pickles & toast; crispy pig’s ear salad with lemon caper dressing; scallops with anchovy chili mayonnaise, sucrine lettuce & cilantro; grilled skirt steak with broccoli rabe, romesco sauce & Cipollini onions; and black bass with summer squash, anchovy & sun golds.
At The Breslin, the menu includes items like curried lamb shank with crispy potato, mint yogurt, pickled eggplant & mango chutney; Cornish rock hen with chanterelles, spinach & thyme; pork shoulder with porchetta rub, rosemary aioli, roasted fennel & arugula; dover sole with morel, squash, snow peas, sorrel & lemon balm cream; and lamb & halloumi sausage with pickled green tomatoes, puffed rice, green beans & yogurt.