Chef Michael Trebbi and his wife, Anne-Marie, opened Wild Root Café on Eighth Street in downtown Boise almost a year ago. Since that time, their restaurant has become known for its focus on farm-fresh, seasonal recipes. Grasmick Produce asked Chef Trebbi to share his thoughts on the importance of seasonal fruits and vegetables, what kind of ingredients he wants to use more of in his kitchen, and which Wild Root Café dish is his favorite.
What lead you to become a chef?
I grew up in my parent’s restaurant in Chicago. As soon as I was able to peel a potato they set me to work! I realized my love for the industry early on, and continued on the culinary path my entire life working in restaurants throughout the country, and finally opening my own in Boise.
What do you love about your work?
That’s a hard question. One of the things I really enjoy is the discovery process when we experiment with new ingredients, ingredient combinations or methodology in cooking. Also, the instant gratification I get from someone enjoying their meal that I prepared. Most chefs enjoy pleasing people in general. The other part of my work that the public usually isn’t privy to is the close relationships we have with our team. We spend a tremendous amount of time together and are very close. It makes the long days and hard work very enjoyable.
Please explain the importance of using farm-fresh produce in your kitchen.
Your final dish is only as good as the quality of the ingredients you use. Having access to the freshest produce is of the utmost importance.
Which season is your favorite, in terms of produce availability?
I’m sure most people would say summer or late summer would be their favorite. My favorite time of year is fall. I still have late harvest items available and we start getting into using squashes and root vegetables like celery root, rutabagas, turnips, or candy stripes beets which I love. It is also the time of year where we’re taking ingredients that are not available during the winter months in Idaho and preserve, cure, pickle, etc. to have them available later in the season. There is also the onset of the holidays which is all about food in my world!
What is your favorite way to use sweet potato?
We use sweet potatoes in our breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. A very popular breakfast dish and one of my favorites is our Wild Skillet which is a sweet potato hash with peppers, onions, lacinato kale (also known as Tuscan or dinosaur kale), fresh garlic, grape tomatoes, white cheddar and freshly cracked eggs.
Is there a type of produce you’d like to incorporate more of on your menu?
I’ve been incorporating more greens to our menus. I would like to see us use more greens like amaranth, turnip greens, collards, stinging nettle, mustard greens.
What is your favorite dish on your own menu?
We do a house made ricotta gnocchi that’s blanched, then sautéed in clarified butter with garlic, fennel pollen, red chard, butternut squash and goat cheese cream sauce. It’s a great fall dish and a go to comfort item perfect for those cold days!
Grasmick Produce is proud to provide many of the fresh ingredients Chef Trebbi uses in his unique and colorful dishes. Wild Root Café is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and Saturday brunch. It’s located at 276 North 8th Street in Downtown Boise’s Idaho Building.