Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Spotlight: Amanda McClements of Metrocurean

Washington, D.C.-based food writer Amanda McClements has trailed celebrity chefs through Iceland, picked birdshot out of quail on a South Carolina farm, and dined on tripe, tongue and crickets, all in the pursuit of good food. A native North Carolinian who counts herself in the "eastern" NC barbecue camp, she has cultivated her love of all things culinary by reviewing restaurants and reporting on food news and trends for various publications in the past 8 years. Her work has appeared in Food & Wine, The Washington Post, and DC Modern Luxury, among others. Amanda's site Metrocurean is a must-read for DC food lovers.

Amanda and I first met at Chef Dan's pork dinner and we recently judged the Cochon 555 together in May.  She always has the latest scoop on the DC food scene!

Tell us about your blog.
Metrocurean brings together metropolitan style and epicurean living, covering the top DC restaurant openings to the best farmers markets. The popular Five Bites feature shared what readers and the city's best chefs are eating around town.

How did you get into blogging?
I was writing restaurant reviews and food pieces at my day job and decided to become a full-time freelance food writer. This was back in 2005, and my husband suggested I start a blog. I said, "A what?" I had no idea what a blog was back then. That is the very humble beginning of Metrocurean.

Favorite ingredient?
Olives, pork and garlic.

How would you describe DC Cuisine?
Diverse! We have so many great ethnic cuisines represented because DC is such an international city — from great Vietnamese food in NoVa to Ethiopian and Eritrean around Shaw. And then we have access to amazing local ingredients being in the heart of the mid-Atlantic, from rockfish and crabs from the bay to ramps and morels from the mountains in the spring.

How long have you lived in DC and how did you end up here?
I moved to DC in 2000, after a a few months working in Paris after college. DC drew me in because it's such a manageable big city. You can live near a metro, ditch the car and live a totally urban life ... or not. It's like a choose your own adventure game!

Who are your culinary inspirations?
Definitely my mom and dad, who are both devoted home cooks and gardeners. We always had a massive vegetable garden carved out of whatever yard, and they taught me the importance of healthy, fresh ingredients from an early age.  My mom claims that when I was 4, I ate all the sugar snap peas off the vine. Both my grandmothers — my "Northern" grandma (hey, Delaware was north to a girl from NC) and my Southern Nana — were amazing cooks as well, and comparing how they did things differently (like Thanksgiving stuffing) gave me my first lesson in regional cooking.

What is your favorite local restaurant and why?
I couldn't possibly pick one place, and I always ask people who ask me this, "Favorite for what?" For neighborhood eats, I'm always at Cork, Bar Pilar, Birch and Barley or Posto. For a special meal, I head to CityZen or Restaurant Eve's tasting room.

What is your favorite Food Network Show?
I'm a Barefoot Contessa, Alton Brown and Tyler Florence fan.

Do you have a favorite cookbook?
You mean at this moment? It changes all the time, depending on mood and season. I just bought Donald Link's "Real Cajun" for my dad and it's incredible. Also, Thomas Keller's "Ad Hoc At Home" is amazing.

What are your most exciting challenges right now?
I am getting Metrocurean ready for exciting relaunch so stay tuned!

Any recipes to share? My favorite pancake!


Anonymous said...

Did you see her on Top Chef tonight?

capitalcooking said...

Yes. Super cool!