Q & A: Chef Greg Richie, Soco and Baoery

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Award-winning Executive Chef Greg Richie created locally sourced, farm-to-table menus before they were hashtags. The first executive chef/partner for Roy’s in Orlando, Richie was then chosen by Emeril Lagasse to take over the kitchen at Tchoup Chop at the Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando. Richie is Executive Chef/Partner for both Soco and Baoery, both located in Thornton Park, Downtown Orlando.

What cuisine is your specialty?

Our restaurant, Soco, is inspired by the Southern Contemporary Cuisine I serve there. We take traditional Southern dishes and put modern twists on them, or sometimes we do the opposite — dishes that aren’t traditionally Southern are made so — via the preparation or ingredients used.

Our other concept, Baoery, is an Asian Gastropub. We deliver a unique experience by marrying popular and unique Asian foods with American bar food.

What’s your favorite local restaurant other than your own?

I really like the food at Luma on Park. They consistently deliver a great experience.

What’s your go-to meal at home?

Chicken and rice. It’s simple, delicious and usually gives me leftovers for a few days. I sear bone-in thighs in a Dutch oven, then add rice, white wine, chicken stock, herbs and mirepoix (chopped onion, carrot and celery) and cook on low until the chicken is tender and the rice is done.

Where do you shop locally for interesting ingredients?

The farm store at Lake Meadow Naturals in Ocoee has some really great items! They have super fresh eggs and meats, vegetables grown right there, plus a top-notch selection of cheeses and homemade condiments.

Which kitchen gadget could you not live without?

It’s a tie between my stand mixer and power blender. Most home cooks do not have them yet, but a thermal immersion circulator can be very useful for certain cooking applications.

What was your favorite bagged lunch as a kid?

Peanut butter and jelly.

What’s your most guilty junk-food pleasure?

Kid’s breakfast cereal… like Cap’n Crunch or Apple Jacks.

What 3 things are in your fridge at all times?

Almond milk, orange juice and lemons or limes.  Almond milk for cereal, OJ because I like a glass every morning before work, and the lemon/lime for mixing a cocktail after work!

Is there anything else about yourself you’d like to share?

I am grateful to have been able to open these two restaurants. Both are concepts that I have envisioned for many years, and seeing them in operation is a daily inspiration to me. We have a great core staff that is quite special and has worked very hard to help us deliver on our brand’s promise.

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