Curtis Brown Goes From Hellacious Hard Rocker to Head Chef at Bubby’s

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Curtis Brown (right) back in the Endless Summer days Photo: Melissa Hom

Curtis Brown, the front man of hard-rockin' Bad Wizard who opened the Endless Summer taco truck and then sold it in order to move to Los Angeles and open Territory Barbecue + Records in Silver Lake, is back in New York. Rather improbably (considering the taco truck was his first professional cooking gig), hes working as Ron Silvers right-hand man at Bubbys. (Fun fact: Hes not the first to make the move from rock-and-roller to dough roller in fact, he was once bandmates with Stephen Tanner, now chef-owner of the Commodore.) Brown tells us he met Silver through mutual friends, and they immediately hit it off. Now hes helping Silver revamp the menu, and theyll soon fly to the Bubbys in Yokohama to see about expanding to Tokyo.

Several months into his stint at Bubbys, Brown has started getting hamburger meat from Fleishers and grinding it in house, and hes using Heritage Pork for housemade brunch sausages. Hes added specials like a Polish-sausage plate with housemade sauerkraut, and has started curing charcuterie in house. But for the most part, hes keeping it simple. Ron and I are both into old church cookbooks, he tells us. Weve been getting a lot from those. We dont feel theres any need to elaborate on some of these classics.

So is life as a corporate chef preferable to touring the country and slinging tacos? Of course its a big change from being on the road, he says, but its good I have health insurance and I have a paycheck every week and I dont have to hustle as much. I mean, Im 38 years old. Still, despite 60-hour weeks on top of caring for a young son, he tells us hes working on new music, with a new band, and he hopes to eventually release an album: Ive gotten really into this band Christian Death, and Im making this real drum-machine-heavy dancy, gothy stuff. You wont hear it in the dining room of Bubbys, though you may just hear it coming from the kitchen.