"We draw inspiration from the same things," says Jason French, the executive chef and owner behind Ned Ludd, speaking about new chef de cuisine, Mike Delaney. Like French, Delaney appreciates the old school, European way of doing things, and like Ned Ludd, the restaurant that built its reputation on hands-on wood-fired cooking, he aims to forge his dishes by connecting with farms and securing the best products.
Delaney joined Ned Ludd April 26, and he's already made his mark, says French. "Mike is a mentor in the kitchen—he's all about teamwork. This is what distinguishes a great chef."
Most recently, the restaurant transformed Steak Mondays into European Summer Vacation Mondays: Every Monday, in addition to its regular dishes, Ned Ludd now serves a menu inspired by the Time Life Foods of the World cookbooks of the 1960s and a particular region in Europe, whether Sardinia or Provincial France. French says he loved the cookbook series growing up. "It was written by the best food writers of the time," he says. "We may actually have a full set."
With Delaney in the kitchen, French says he has more room to play and experiment with food, so expect a new form of collaborative cuisine your next time in. Delaney's cooking experience focuses on upscale dining in restaurants with strong wine programs, which should also make him a good fit at Ned Ludd. He's cooked at Baker & Banker in San Francisco, The Martini House in St. Helena, Madrona Manor in Healdsburg, and most recently, the Jackson Family Estate.