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Food & Drink

Q&As with Meatopia’s Makers and Shakers

Photo: Courtesy photos, License: N/A

Courtesy photos

Tim Rattray: The future of barbecue, says Ozersky

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Josh Ozersky, food writer and Meatopia creator

Let’s run through your work history a second…
Rattray: My first job was at Biga on the Banks. I was there for almost a year. I heard about what Andrew Weissman was doing at Le Reve and I wanted to be a part of it. I talked to Bruce and told him I thought it was time for me to get into something different. He was really supportive…actually, he might have called Andrew for me. Andrew wasn’t hiring at the time, but I met with him, poured my heart out and trailed him for the night. He let me taste stuff as they were cooking. Andrew ended up making a spot for me. I spend the next few year with him and worked my way up. It was the best spot, the Le Reve kitchen was such a small kitchen, you had to learn a little bit of everything. I met really good cooks that I’m still friendly with and talk to. Later, I helped open Il Sogno and later Sandbar as opening sous under chef Chris Carlson. I decided to take some time and stage in New York with people I’d contacted on twitter and via blogs. I did Le Cirque for a while and staged with Le Bernandin.

What was that experience like?
Rattray: I’d grown up on a big city but had never been in a place like New York. I had a chance to eat …it was an eye opener. When I came back I started thinking that at some point I would love to do something on my own based on the ideas that I had.

Did you think The Granary would ever turn into such a hit?
Rattray: No. I laugh about it with my brother. Even if we were in the best spot, we were just two guys no one knew about, we were doing weird stuff. It was a tough sell for people as a whole especially with the evening. We thought, ‘Hopefully in a few years, we’ll build a clientele,’ and in the first few months, this blew up. We were so busy doing 18 hour days, seven days a week. We just had to keep our heads down and keep going so we wouldn't drown. It’s been great. I’m appreciative, but I can’t rest on that. I have to keep trying to get better every day. I used to say a goal without a timeline is just a dream. At 26, I used to say if I can have a restaurant by the time I’m 30, I’ll be good. Now, I’m 30 and I feel like I’m behind. (He laughs).

What part did you play with Josh’s first visit?
Rattray: The Pearl people told me they were trying to court him. I’m pretty active on following people in New York, San Francisco, so I knew about Meatopia. It was more of trying to put our best food forward. Make delicious food, great beer and show them what we’re doing. He ended up just loving it. Josh is a polarizing figure so some people, but I really loved and appreciated when he told me what he liked and what he didn’t.

What do you think the event will do for the city?
Rattray: I think for everyone that’s cooking and making awesome beverages and cocktails, it’s great that (the event) is coming down here. It’s a personal opportunity to show people what we’re doing. It’s a time to step up our game and put out good, quality food so these chefs think of San Antonio as a place to go back to.

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