Photo by Paul Vincent
Surly Chef Jorge Guzman
We checked in with Jorge Guzman, the freshly hired chef of Surly's new brewery and taproom complex in Prospect Park, slated to open in 2015.
What made you decide to go for this gig?
It was the challenge. Lots of other chefs in town talked about how the job was going to be too big, but I think that's B.S. If you're not being challenged, then what's the point? plus, hello—working for Surly has its obvious draws.
Is it intimidating to be cooking for the Surly Nation? That's a particular bunch.
No, I'm not really intimidated at all, just ready to get going. You know the Surly Nation really is a nation, and people are going to be coming from all over the country to the brewery. The food has got to be as good as the beer—and its really good beer. Not a lot of beer halls have great food, but we know we can have both. We understand that it has to be part of the mission.
What's the biggest thing you've learned on your beer journey thus far?
The thing that stands out the most is that beer can be any flavor and that means our menus can be wide open. I mean, I get to work with Todd Haug who is an incredible master of flavor, with a great palate. So it's not just about coming up with dishes to go with the current Surly beers. If we find a dish we love and want to feature, Todd will be able to create a beer just for that dish. We can go in whatever direction the brewmaster wants.
Which beer/food pairing is your jam right now?
I'm kind of digging on pilsners right now. And all I seem to want with them is something spicy—not mouth-numbing, but something with a little kick in the back to balance it out.