Last year, Soerke Peters rippled the waters, leaving Basil to take over Carmel’s historic Village Corner. He’s combining tradition and innovation at the 70-year-old restaurant, “Going back to basics, back to my roots when cooking was a craft, not a theatrical display,” he says.
He’s also bringing a passion for sustainable dining, something that became a signature at Basil, the first Certified Green Restaurant in Monterey County. He’ll seek Green Certification at Village Corner, as well.
In February, Peters expanded his portfolio to include nearby Lafayette Kitchen & Cafe. Peters will keep a French focus here, creating new menus and dishes that “let the cooking techniques and craftsmanship shine.”
Weekly: What’s the most common misperception about running an eco-conscious restaurant?
Peters: It’s perceived as too expensive, which is not true at all.
And most insidious?
The services and products that are labeled in a way that deceives the consumer. There’s a huge difference between “free range” and “pasture raised,” for example. Playing with words and misrepresenting or trying to fool those who are trying to do the right thing isn’t acceptable in my book.
What’s the most underrated kitchen utensil?
Tongs. I just don’t seem to be able to function without them.
Favorite chef technique? Cooking on and with wood is my favorite by far. Whether it’s my oakwood grill at Village Corner or cooking at MEarth [at Carmel Middle School] out of the wood-fired pizza oven, I love playing with fire. Top advice for young cooks?
Go work in different countries and travel the world before settling.
Mark C. Anderson contributed to this report.