The Daily Meal caught up with chef Zoe Schor to learn about how her travels have influenced her work. Schor is the executive chef at Chicago's Ada Street, which opened in 2012. When we talked with Schor earlier this year, she described the establishment as "a wine bar with a great cocktail program...we try to be seasonally inspired with our bar bites and small plates." The restaurant has also proved itself to be very food-driven, and with ping pong tables and backgammon tournaments, has become a community space where, as Schor says, the restaurant is operating "in a way that we're having fun so our guests have a lot of fun."
The Daily Meal: What has been your most inspirational food experience while traveling?
Zoe Schor: I am from the East Coast originally, but I don't make it back that way all that often. Whenever I do, my biggest priority is to sample the most local, freshest seafood. Whenever I return from a trip to Boston or New York, I am always hugely inspired to find beautiful, fresh seafood and honor it by serving it in raw preparations, or using the lightest, simplest cooking techniques. Eating raw Wellfleet oysters at the Lobster Pot in Provincetown, it's hard not to be humbled by the fact that in this complicated world of cookery, sometimes the best thing we can do is take a back seat and let the ingredients shine through.
TDM: What's your favorite kitchen souvenir from your travels?
ZS: I haven't done so much traveling, so I'm not sure I could say I have a favorite souvenir from my travels. A friend of mine was in the Navy though, and he used to bring things back for me. One time we brought back a vegetable knife from Korea; this is probably my favorite souvenir from someone else's travels.
TDM: If you could eat your way through one country, which one would it be and why?
ZS: I think probably Italy. I love Italian food, and I'm especially such a sucker for fresh pasta. But I would eat my way through Italy mainly because there is such variance — from one end of the country to the other, you could taste such different styles of food and experience such different cultures. I think that would be the best part.