We had the opportunity to chat with Richard Miller, the new Executive Chef of Butcher & Bull; Winston Salem’s newest contemporary steakhouse. The new restaurant is located on N. Cherry Street downtown, beside the Marriott Hotel. It’s not your typical run of the mill steakhouse and that’s why we’re intrigued.
Who are your culinary influences? Growing up, I was always surrounded by food. Family gatherings were always based around the lunch table or dinner table. My Grandmother, Great Aunt and my Mom always cooked. They were some of my main influences and my love for cooking came from them. I love to feed people and make them happy.
Are there any places you’ve visited and fell in love with the food culture? I love Charleston, SC. I love southern food. Real deep southern style. It’s what i grew up on and like to cook as well.
90% of what a chef does is buying the best possible ingredients. How do you choose your suppliers? I try to be as local as possible. I wouldn’t say I’m farm to table but, I do use local micro greens, local chicken and pork.
When you plate your food is there something different or things you consider as far as color, texture and matching how you present your food? At the end of the day it’s all about what it looks like and what it tastes like. I like to balance them out. Sometimes I’ll do a real basic dish and absolutely kill them with flavor. Sometimes I’ll do both. But I like to use a combination of both.
What separates you from the other steakhouses already established in Winston Salem? What makes Butcher & Bull stand out? We are not that clichè stuffy steakhouse. Chic design, hip and modern. We have an awesome wine and craft cocktail program. Not just steaks. We have really unique and exciting large and small plates. A little bit of everything; Bison ribeye, octupus is on the menu, awesome Bison Carpaccio, really cool salads.
Do you cook when you go home after a long day? When I’m home, which is very rare, I do cook. A broad spectrum of items. I like comfort food, nothing fancy. I also have two young daughters, one of which is extremely picky so it can be a challenge.
Brian: So one day it could be some awesome vegetables and the next day hot dogs and french fires?
Chef Miller: Absolutely. (Laughs)
What’s your favorite menu item that you make? I absolutely love the Bison Carpaccio and the dry aged rib eye. Both are really good. The hanger steak is probably my favorite cut. It’s a real inexpensive cut a lot of people forget about. It has the flavor of a ribeye. We actually use it for our tacos and our steak salad.
How do you feel if someone comes in 15 minutes before closing and orders a full course meal? This is something I preach to my guys on nightly basis. Closing time does not mean we’re walking out. That just means we stop taking reservations or seating tables. It is imperative that the last plate goes out just as well executed as the first plate.
How do you feel when someone orders your filet well done? To each their own. They have a right to order it well done just as much as someone who orders it rare. It just might take a little longer.
If you weren’t a chef, or in the food business, what would you be? All through elementary and middle school I wanted to be a doctor.
Although he didn’t pursue a medical degree, Chef Richard Miller operates in the kitchen with the precision of a well seasoned surgeon.
Butcher & Bull is open now for business. Give them a try and tell them Brian & Meredith sent you!