In the Kitchen with Bistro 1888's Margaret Moorefield

When you find yourself in Downtown South Boston, make sure you stay for dinner. Deemed 'A Dining Destination with the Standard of Excellence' by Southern Living Magazine, Bistro 1888 offers fine dining in Southern Virginia. The menu features a selection of fresh seafood, aged steaks, chops, handcrafted pasta and vegetarian dishes whose preparations encompass Mediterranean, Pacific Rim, class French, Caribbean, and Northwestern traditions. Everything is made from 'scratch' daily utilizing the freshest and highest-quality ingredients available.

The mastermind behind this award-winning Infused New American Cuisine is Chef Margaret Moorefield. Chef Margaret, voted one of America's best chefs, has been the chef and co-owner of Bistro 1888 since its inception in 2003. Chef Margaret dishes on a few of her favorite things...

Chef Margaret

What do you love most about being a chef? What I love most about being a chef can be equated to a symphony whereby my favorite part is hearing each note playing on cue and in time every single night we perform.

Was there a moment when you knew you wanted to be a chef instead of something else? I knew I loved cooking at a young age. My mother taught me how to make homemade biscuits by feeling the dough to insure it was properly made. This is still the way I cook today--tasting and adding a little of this and a little of that. I go through a lot of tasting spoons throughout a shift. 

How is dinner made at your home? Who shops for the ingredients? Who cooks? Do you plan the meals ahead of time? Dinner at my home is made with the same passion and intensity as it is prepared at Bistro. And this includes my seven feline children whom I cook for twice a day with their second meal of the day often made at 11 p.m. or midnight when I get home from work. For ingredients, we mostly shop at Bistro. 

What kind of ambiance can diners expect at Bistro 1888? We chose the E. L. Evans building in Historic Downtown South Boston, which was built in 1888, hence the name BISTRO 1888. We blended the historic character with a contemporary design to achieve a cozy yet cosmopolitan atmosphere. 

 

When you decided what you're going to serve on the menu, what are one or two factors you always take into consideration? In choosing what to put on a menu, I begin with what my customers would like to order. For instance, Southerners, including myself, prefer Ribeye over NY Strip, hence the Bistro Ribeye instead of a NY Strip. The second factor is in knowing that the freshest and highest quality ingredients will be available in the quantities needed for the dish on a consistent basis. The same goes for our specials and seasonal menus. 

What should diners know about Restaurant Week at Bistro 1888 or in general? Diners can look forward to sampling a variety of our dishes that they can enjoy throughout the year.

Sweets or savories? I enjoy both. 

Favorite meat to eat or prepare? It really depends on the mood I am in. At times, I love an assortment of appetizers and at other times, I'm craving a particular style of cuisine like French or Pan-Asian. It would be very difficult to single out any one dish, if not impossible. 

Favorite midnight snack? Vanilla ice cream

Favorite kitchen appliance? At home, my Viking range cook-top

Knife? W├╝sthof Grand Prix II

First food memory? Making biscuits with my mom.

Cooking clothes? Black and white only. White jacket, black pants, usually with stripes, and long French-styled white apron. Clothing colors are very distracting in the kitchen. 

Kitchen aroma? The Bistro kitchen has a comfy, Thanksgiving Day-like aroma due to stocks (beef and/or others) that slowly simmer all day, every day. 

 

 

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