Field & Main's Neal Wavra tackles the TL&CC Q&A

20 June 2019

My role is to provide the conditions for hospitality to unfold. I'm fortunate to work with a caring team of individuals at Field & Main Restaurant, which my wife and I created along with our two girls. When I'm not working, I enjoy finding inspiration from being in nature, reading and experiencing a variety of cultures.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? The joy derived in pursuit of one’s purpose.

What is the purest thing you have ever tasted? Gnocchi in the piedmont, hamacchi belly at The Willows.

What is the best thing you can do with your hands? Serve.

What was your first experience with sustainable eating? I recall eating berries that I picked. Eating anything from the wild has always thrilled me.

What do you love most about what you do? Contributing to memorable experiences.

What’s the best thing you’ve ever been taught? How to get out of debt.

Is there anything you don’t particularly care to eat? Oysters – I have a mild allergic reaction to them.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? An adventurer.

When was the last time you ate out, and where? Anniversary; Three Blacksmiths; Sperryville, Virginia.

Are there any mentors or food heroes you would like to thank? Charlie Trotter.

What are your favourite books or cookbooks? So many! One is Eric Ripert's A Return to Cooking.

What do you make from scratch? Salad dressing – ALWAYS.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing what you are doing? Travelling.

How do you like to spend your day off? Hiking or running outside in the hills and mountains.

What does success mean to you? Freedom.

What is your current obsession, the thing you think about at 3am? Movement.

What are the qualities you most admire in others? Proficiency, character, service-oriented.

Can you tell us something we don’t know about you? I helped pour the concrete for the build-out of Field & Main.

Which three words best describe your cooking style? Local, comfortable, refined.

If you could eat only one thing today, what would it be? Roasted meat and salad.

What do you see when you think of the cuisine of your own country? Such a variety – a global perspective found on one plate.

Which producer or supplier really brightens your day? So many! I love seeing them in the dining room enjoying a meal.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Enjoy!

Which talent would you most like to have? Magic.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Be more expressive.

What do you think the food of the future will look like? Daily food may be reduced to quick consumption elements; derivations, powders, concentrations, etc. that will provide nutrition. In contrast to this, the culinary arts will become more artistic.

Do you have a motto or mantra? It is what it is and everything is possible given time and resources.

What is your number one sustainability tip or trick? In public restrooms, shake hands ten times after washing, then fold one piece of paper towel and it will completely dry your hands. Cuts down on all the wasted paper.

Neal Wavra, Field & Main (Marshall, Virginia, USA)Neal Wavra, Field & Main (Marshall, Virginia, USA)

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