Ed Witt in the kitchen of The Partisan
We’re revisiting our Capital Chefs feature with a series by music reporter Mickey McCarter. A lot has been happening recently in kitchens in D.C. restaurants, and Mickey takes a look into them from his usual seat at the bar in this series, which runs weekly on Thursdays. This week, Mickey talks to Ed Witt of The Partisan, which is probably the only time he’ll revisit a chef previously profiled!
The best show Ed Witt has seen in recent times was Two Man Advantage, a hockey hardcore band from Long Island, in a concert last summer.
To be clear, it’s a seven-man band that play hockey-themed hardcore punk. They put on quite a show.
That the congenial Mr. Witt has a great appreciation for hardcore isn’t much of surprise considering he looks like he fits right in with the punk rock crowd—he’s thin, bald and covered in tattoos. At the moment, he would rather be watching Ceremony, the California-based hardcore punk band, at the Rock and Roll Hotel. But instead he’s talking to me at a table in the back of The Partisan.
In reality, there is nothing Witt would rather be doing than cooking and spending time in his kitchen. And you can tell by the way his eyes light up when he discusses the food at The Partisan, which he opened a little over four months ago with Nate Anda and Michael Babin. For Witt, the experience harkens back to his time at Italian eatery Il Buco in New York City nearly a decade ago.
“When I worked in Il Buco in New York, I was there for three years. And I always wanted to open a place that was similar to that in that style but more American and not so Italian and Old World. It all came together with that,” Witt told me.
‘To make a good salad is…….’
courtesy of ‘LaTur’
The recipe for this week is a simple one, but can be used in variety of ways. According to Witt, these maple candied walnuts are used to garnish the red wine pear, arugula, date and goat cheese salads at 701. While that sounds delicious, I’m sure you creative and ambitious foodies could find plenty of other uses for these walnuts. Read on for the full recipe.
‘Chef Ed Witt of 701’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’
Like many chefs I talk to, Ed Witt went into the restaurant industry in a sort of roundabout way. He had cooked in high school and enjoyed it, but it wasn’t until after four majors and three years in college that he decided to really pursue being a chef.
After stints in San Francisco and New York City, Witt returned to the DC area in 2009. Although he is originally from Binghamton, New York, Witt went to high school in DC and later attended University of Maryland. In June 2010, he became part of restauranteur Ashok Bajaj’s empire when he was hired as the executive chef of 701 Restaurant in Penn Quarter.
At times working in a restaurant downtown with a largely tourist-based clientele can be challenging. But for Witt there are plenty of positives in the kitchen. “I get to be pretty creative as long as it’s within our costs,” Witt says. At 701, Witt gets to experiment with housemade charcuterie and he’s excited about getting a pasta extruder for the restaurant. For those not familiar, a pasta extruder is a machine that can make pasta in various shapes that cannot be done by hand. “We keep pushing it, keep the menu fresh and keep changing things,” says Witt. Continue reading