Q&A by Erin Till, December 15th, 2014
Dig IN Chef Spotlight—December Andrew Whitmoyer, Thunderbird
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Andrew Whitmoyer, I am the Chef de Cuisine at Thunderbird in Fountain Square. I just took over the kitchen there a little over a month ago. I am also partners in Chefs Night Off, a series of monthly pop up dinners throughout the city, and hopefully beyond this coming year.
Have you always lived/worked in Indiana? If not, where were you before? What made you come (or return) to Indiana?
I have spent most of my life in Indiana, I grew up on the west side in Plainfield, I currently live Downtown. I spent two years in San Francisco going to culinary school, but felt like I should return to Indiana to grow in the culinary world, and try and do my part to help the food scene grow here.
From where do you source your poultry? (I love the bit about that Amish farm you were talking about) Any cool farmers who have quail? Duck eggs? Other unique poultry items?
I source poultry from two locations, Gunthrop Farms in Lagrange, Indiana and also a small Amish farm named Millers Amish Farms in Orlando, Indiana. I get my livers and whole chickens through Gunthrop, I also get whole Chickens through Millers. There is a great small farm called Unique 2 eat Farms in Cambridge City, ran by Becca Selkirk, she sell free range organic quail and quail eggs, very reasonably priced. For livers or any other type of offal I think Gunthorp is best at providing that.
What are some of your favorite applications for poultry? Any recipe you care to share?
At the restaurant right now we have two different chicken dishes on the menu. Under our Starters we have Chicken Liver Nuggets with a dipping sauce that changes every few days. We also have a fried chicken plate that is outstanding. The plate has a breast, thigh and leg, all of which have been pickle brined and then coated in a house fryer flour, fried to a golden brown then drizzled with a lavender clove honey that we make in house as well. It also comes with 3 mini biscuits, apple butter and some grain mustard slaw. I think the pickle brine sets up apart from any other fried chicken you will find in the city. Brining always helps keep the chicken moist when you cook it, but adding a little garlic, dill and white vinegar to the chicken just brings this extra tangy flavor to the chicken that you wouldn’t expect.