As Bierock prepares to open, we’re happy to introduce new Executive Chef Claudia Cody in this Q&A…
What are you most excited about as Bierock prepares to open?
I am super excited about being a part of an establishment that offers such a unique menu as Bierock, being the bierock itself—made daily and fresh. They are a savory European staple “pastry pocket sandwich” made from a yeast dough recipe handed down from none other than owner Amanda’s grandmother herself and traditionally filled with seasoned ground beef, wilted cabbage with sauerkraut and sauteed onions. It’s then baked until golden brown, giving the Bierock a nice crust on the outside while at the same time, a warm soft bread texture encasing the hot center filled ingredients. It’s like a traditional pasty (but better!) and the really neat part is that we will be offering vegetarian options as well as gluten-free so everyone, regardless of dietary restrictions, can enjoy this culinary deliciousness! If folks want to mix-and-match the bierocks with their order, we encourage that too!
What’s your background in the culinary world prior to coming to Bierock?
I have been in the culinary industry 20-plus years with the past 12 years as an executive chef. Born and raised in Madison, I have traveled and moved quite a bit, working in California, New York and Chicago among other places my career has taken me, but I always end up coming back home, to Wisconsin. I must say, I’ve been up against a lot of competition before and had to fill some pretty big shoes over the years but never Grandma’s! I don’t ruffle very easily, but talk about an intimidation factor—wow!
What lessons can you take from your previous jobs and apply to Bierock?
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is how to adapt and change “on-the-fly” to customer needs and requests. I have always maintained that if there is an allergy or dietary need that prevents someone from ordering off the menu, if at all possible, being able to create an entree that is suitable that they can eat and enjoy. The whole point in going out is to experience not only the fun, social atmosphere with friends and family but the food as well. As a chef, especially when it comes to kids, it’s not only my duty but a part of my passion, to please people (even the little ones) through their palate. And if they can’t eat off the menu, where’s the pleasure in that for any of us? So, while its not always possible, I certainly do the best I can in that regard.
What do you think the customer is going to enjoy about their experience at Bierock?
From the truly unique menu, to the huge selection of craft beers and the overall atmosphere of Bierock, I think friends and family or those just stopping in on their own for a quick lunch or salty snack with a cold beer, will enjoy Bierock as a whole, making it their new neighborhood gathering place.