After nearly eight years cooking alongside Max MacKissock, chef-owner of the Squeaky Bean, Crickett Burns, the sole woman in McKissock's kitchen, is stepping away from the Bean team to join Rob and Karin Lawler at the new Truffle Table, which will open in Highland on June 4.
See also: - Truffle owners opening the Truffle Table in the Cellar Wine Bar space - The Truffle's Rob Lawler on Spam musubi, brains, glutards and his favorite cheese - Max MacKissock's new tasting menu sprouts at the Squeaky Bean
Burns, a graduate of Cook Street School of Culinary Arts, who's also cooked -- and baked -- at Solera, Lola, Cafe Options, Euclid Hall, Rioja, Vita and Restaurant Kevin Taylor, first started working with MacKissock at Vita, and during the several years she's shared the line with him, along with his many other incredibly talented "cooking thumbs" and "fingers" -- MacKissock's titles for his cooks and and platers, respectively -- Burns says she gleaned the knowledge and experience that only a chef like MacKissock can bring to a kitchen. "The Squeaky Bean -- especially Max -- has been an amazing leaning tree, and Max is my mentor and a really good friend, and while I was incredibly nervous about resigning after being with him for so long, he really supports the change and he's here for me 100 percent of the way," says Burns, adding that she'll "always be there to help out if Max needs me."
Still, Burns stresses that it's time to charter a new kitchen, and her kitchen manager position at the Truffle Table, she says, will enable her to do exactly that. "It's time for me to rediscover my food -- to get back to my roots -- and my heart is really about pastry and baking and small plates, things like terrines and pâtés, rustic stuff made with brilliant ingredients, and I get to have a lot of creative liberties, which I'm really looking forward to," she adds.
Not that the change isn't bittersweet: "I'm caught somewhere dancing in the streets and wanting to cry in a corner and throw up" confesses Burns, but Max taught me so much about caring about ingredients from the time they're born to when they reach your plate -- and every step in between -- and I'm excited to take everything he's taught me and translate it into my own language."
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Burns's last day at the Bean is on Thursday, and between then and when the Truffle Table opens, she'll be working at the Truffle Cheese Shop, which the Lawlers also own, along with finalizing menus for the restaurant, brushing up on her wine knowledge and, of course, immersing herself in cheese. "I've got some time to play with ingredients and spread my wings, and for the first time ever, I'm not scared - everything is right - it's just all working," says Burns. "I'm taking baby steps -- the right steps -- and I'm really excited about the opportunity to find myself again and setting up the kitchen and making it my home," she concludes.