Jason Vincent’s Nightwood was a well-kept Chicago secret — located off anybody’s beaten path, but revered for its way with farm-to-table meats and unusual bits. Then Vincent won the national Grand Cochon in Aspen last year, and a few weeks ago, he was named one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs for 2013, putting Nightwood on everybody’s must-eat-while-in-Chicago list. Photographer Huge Galdones has shot at Nightwood several times, and he followed Cochon 555 all around the country as it led up to Vincent’s coronation as the King of Porc, so to mark Vincent’s Food & Wine honor, he decided to go behind the scenes at Nightwood for the better part of the day to capture what makes its chef and kitchen tick. It starts below.
Galdones, who worked in college at Joe Beef in Montreal, says there’s a particular similarity to that celebrated restaurant in the way Nightwood approaches farm-to -able cooking, especially in terms of “the overall rhythm of the back of the house … Vincent’s modesty shines through, being the first to admit that his has always been a team effort. He credits Ben, his chef de cuisine, with the best description of the kitchen’s food: ‘always delicious, sometimes pretty with a side of interesting.’ And while he admits that the restaurant has been pigeonholed into the ‘farm-to-table’ movement, he calls Nightwood a ‘Seinfeld equivalent of a restaurant concept’ without a concept — they just run with it as long as it tastes good.” Here’s his slideshow and further observations in the captions.