Chef Max Spittler is a native of Geneva who has a profound appreciation for the Finger Lakes region’s devoted farmers and food producers. He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and he uses his training and skills to create creative and delicious dishes at Kindred Fare in Geneva from a pantry stocked with seasonal ingredients. We are recognizing his dedication to farm-to-table cooking and his contributions to the Finger Lakes food scene with this edition of our Celebrating Local Chefs Q&A.
Edible Finger Lakes: Could you please describe to us your favorite cooking creation?
Chef Max Spittler: Favorite cooking creations are inspired by meals for friends, family and patrons, served on big platters with simple presentations meant to be passed and shared. Hoping that communal food makes a comeback in 2021.
EFL: What do you love most about your job?
Professional cooking can be demanding and stressful but also a lot of fun. Creating flavorful appealing meals in a fast paced team environment. It’s energizing.
EFL: Where do you work now and where have you worked in the past?
Come see me at Kindred Fare.
When did you first become interested in farm-to-table cooking?
I’ve leaned heavily into farm-to-table cookery since arriving at Kindred Fare in 2017. Local produce has always been of interest to me as a chef but I’ve expanded that supply chain to include flours, eggs, meats and cheeses.
EFL: How does where you work now utilize local and seasonal ingredients?
Typically a chef conceptualizes a dish then purchases the necessary ingredients to cook it. I like to work backwards, stocking the pantry with the best seasonal ingredients then figuring out the dishes to offer on our menu.
EFL: Could you please name a few local food producers you work with now or have worked with in the past?
FingerLakes Farms carries a broad line offering of locally sourced meats, dairy, produce and boutique items. They carry their private brand goods as well as foods sourced from other farmers.
Pre-Emption Plants and Produce seasonally supplies us with mushrooms, herbs and vegetables. Third Eye Fungi cultivates an array of mushroom varieties. Maggie’s Greens supplies our shoots, sprouts and microgreens. Finger Lakes Artisan Foods sources the area’s finest cheeses. Riegel Farms runs the gamut of seasonal lettuces and field crops. Silver Queen supplies us annually with tons of potatoes for fries as well as seasonal vegetable offerings.
EFL: Why do you think utilizing local and seasonal ingredients grown and produced in the Finger Lakes is important?
Finger Lakes (FLX) ingredients have a short commute. They don’t spend days in transport—in fact, they often arrive so fresh they are still warm from the sun. Their carbon footprint is small. The proceeds from their sale stay local, supporting farmers, farm employees and their communities. Money spent locally recycles through our communities helping the FLX to prosper.
EFL: What’s on the top of your mind right now?
Dinner is on my mind. Ramen or pot roast? Or both? Who’s hungry?
EFL: Could you please describe your favorite cooking technique?
Inspired by a recent trip to Sans Dumplings at Kemmeter, I’ve been into eating/making dumplings. A labor of love, dumplings are delicious.
Celebrating Local Chefs is a weekly column that aims to recognize the work, talent and commitment of Finger Lakes farm-to-table chefs, and how their craft enhances their communities. If you know a chef who you’d like to see featured, please email email@example.com. Check out more Celebrating Local Chefs articles here.