Just imagine the bragging rights you would’ve earned among your foodie friends if you had tried one of Craigie on Main‘s now-iconic dishes—the crispy-fried pig’s tails, for example, or that confit and roasted milk-fed pig’s head—before they even hit the menu.
With the “Chef’s Whim R&D” series, which debuts tomorrow night, chef Tony Maws and chef de cuisine Aaron Chambers are giving diners a chance to do just that. On select Tuesday evenings over the coming months, Maws and Chambers will take to the line together, workshopping brand new dishes and chatting with guests about their cooking process.
“This is about us having fun and bringing ideas together,” says Chambers. “If a dish is a success, it hits the menu. If it’s not so great, then it’s going to be worked on and worked on and worked on and be on the menu sooner or later.”
Chopped it ain’t—this is more than a random box of ingredients slapped together without any forethought. “It’s going to be one step beyond guests being guinea pigs,” Maws explains. “These are more formulated dishes that maybe aren’t 100 percent where they’re going to be, and [guests] get to be part of the process.”
The R&D series will give guests a unique opportunity to ask questions about the dishes they’re trying, the ingredients they’re tasting and the ideas behind these not-quite-there-yet menu items. Of course, Maws and Chambers are the chefs—and while your questions are welcome, you miiiight want to leave the actual R&D to the pros.
“Oh, we didn’t ask for feedback—we’re just having a conversation,” laughs Maws. “No, I think including people in the process is fun. We already have a very open kitchen.”
Chambers just joined the Craigie team last fall, and he and Maws already have a great working relationship. (Both Maws’s personal Instagram account and the restaurant’s are peppered with photos of the two palling around in the kitchen and taste-testing recipes together.) But Chambers is still relatively new to Craigie on Main, and he says that collaborating on the R&D series will give the two a chance to learn each other’s style while building a fresh, exciting new menu together.
“One of the great things that Aaron and I have in common, regardless of style and background … is that we both really love the craft of cooking,” Maws adds. He says that the two have a mutual respect that makes it easy for them to work side-by-side developing original dishes. “We’re not doing it for any other reason than the fact that this is what we do, this is what we love to do—making people happy and cooking for people.”
At R&D, curious diners can sample a six-course menu for $57. Seatings will be at 6 and 8:30 p.m., and reservations can be made by calling the restaurant at 617-497-5511. Keep an eye on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for announcements about upcoming events.