World Chefs: Moran brings light menu to Nashville restaurant

Tue Apr 1, 2014 5:21am EDT
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Irish chef Trevor Moran is putting his stamp on the Nashville restaurant The Catbird Seat since taking over this year as executive chef of the popular eatery.

He follows in the footsteps of its original chefs, Josh Habiger and Erik Anderson, who won praise for their modern, seasonal cooking when the restaurant opened in 2011.

Dublin-born Moran met Anderson while they were working at Noma, the Danish eatery that was named the world's best restaurant for three straight years from 2010 to 2012 in a list compiled by Britain's Restaurant Magazine.

Moran, 33, spoke to Reuters about moving to America, working at Noma and the Nashville dining scene.

Q: What was the biggest challenge in taking take over a restaurant that has garnered so much attention for your predecessors?

A: The main challenge is that the restaurant is already a success and has high standards. I watched it from a distance before it opened. I have been watching it online from Denmark. I suppose it's to take the fan base that's already there and not to rock the boat too much. I want to give it a bit of my idea of what a meal is. I have an idea what a meal experience should be from start to finish so people feel a lot of fun, a lot of informality and a lot of freedom. So it's to incorporate that with very simple, delicious ingredients and not to frighten people.

Q: What attracted you to Catbird and to relocate to Nashville?

A: I didn't want to leave Denmark particularly. I was there for 4-1/2 years or so. I just wanted to experience America. America is an amazing place where there are so many different varieties of things. I visited Nashville before the job opportunity came up ... In the week I was here, I really liked it. I helped out Eric one day at Catbird. I liked the southern style and the people were really lovely. My girlfriend is from Charleston so she's a Southerner too. She was more than happy to come back to America.   Continued...

Irish chef Trevor Moran poses at The Catbird Seat in Nashville, Tennessee March 22, 2014 in this photo provided by Bullfrog and Baum. REUTERS/Andrea Behrends/Bullfrog and Baum/Handout via Reuters