Kipper Club Test Kitchen To Host Forbes Five-Star Chef Zachary Ladwig

From left, clockwise: Chef Zachary Ladwig will guest chef at Kipper Club this Friday; beet salad; a study on fennel.
From left, clockwise: Chef Zachary Ladwig will guest chef at Kipper Club this Friday; beet salad; a study on fennel.
Photos by Mai Pham

It's early days still in the life of the Kipper Club Test Kitchen. The kitchen space by the Treadsack Group (Down House, D&T Drive Inn, Sugar & Rice Magazine) launched quietly in August, where it has been playing host to a rotating roster of guest chefs.

"We built it as a space that the chefs could work in while they wait for construction to be completed on Hunky Dory and Foreign Correspondents," says Graham Laborde, Kipper Club Test Kitchen's director, who is also a trained chef. "We also wanted it to be a creative space, where we could bring in younger chefs and chefs we really admire, and give them free reign do the food however they want to do it."

Since August, Kipper Club has hosted six pop-up dinners. "The response has been extremely positive," says Laborde, who adds "We already have regulars who sign up for every event." This past weekend they hosted a dinner called the "Contenders Series," which featured Bobby Matos (Ciao Bello), Patrick Feges (Killen's BBQ), and Erin Smith (Main Kitchen).

Asked how he came up with the chef lineup, Laborde says "It was a wish list of sorts. We sat down and came up with a list of people we really wanted to work with. For instance, we have Aaron Josinsky and Nathaniel Wade from Misery Loves Company in Winooski, Vermont; Adam Yoho of Otto's in Fredericksburg, Texas; Ned Elliott from Foreign and Domestic in Austin. This week, Zachary Ladwig, who has been at the Inn at Dos Brisas up until recently, will be with us."

The restaurant at the Inn at Dos Brisas in Washington, Texas, became the only Forbes Travel Five-Star rated restaurant in the state in 2008. Ladwig had been the executive chef there since 2012. Prior to that, while in New York City, he cut his teeth at Michelin two-star Bouley. His style is modern French and ingredient focused. This Kipper Supper Club pop-up will be the first that he's done in Houston.

Menu planning.
Menu planning.
Photo by Zachary Ladwig

"The menu for the dinner will be 100 percent vegetable-centric," says Ladwig. "The inspiration is the versatility of root vegetables, the fact that they're not just meant for roasting, or as an accompaniment to a dish."

"Right now, I'm planning on one amuse bouche, nine dishes, a cheese course, a pre-dessert, a regular dessert, and a mignardise, but the menu can potentially expand based on what we pick up at the farmer's market." As to the style of his food, Ladwig says, "The dishes will be classically interpreted, but will be a touch more progressive, since I can get away with it here."

"Zach is at the top of his game," enthused Laborde. "I can't wait to work with him and to see what he can do. I know it's going to be incredible."

The dinner is being offered in two seatings this Friday night, November 21-- at 6:30 p.m. and at 9 p.m. -- and will come with complimentary beverage pairings by sommelier Travis Hinkle. The price per person is $100 (a steal for this menu), and can be purchased via this link: Kipper Club Tickets. Each of the seatings is limited to 35 guests and will sell out, so get your tickets early.


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