Five questions with 2 Doors Down's Andrew Farrell

The chef who’s cooking up simple, yet thoughtful, pleasures had us at “comfort food”


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Chef Andrew Farrell
  • Chef Andrew Farrell

We got into the kitchen at Barrington Street's newest hangout—and Chives' little sis— 2 Doors Down, to steal some time from its bright young chef, Andrew Farrell. He advises you try the cheeseburger, now.

What’s your style in the kitchen?

My style is kind of nostalgic in a sense. We all have our go to childhood memory food, and that’s what I like cooking. It’s like the perfect diner burger, or spaghetti and meatballs like your mom used to make, just the things that trigger that kind of food memory, you know? Really comforting food.

What was the process like for building the menu at 2 Doors Down?

It was really interesting because it was really collaborative. I’ve worked with Craig [Flinn] and Darren [Lewis] here [at Chives] for three years and it was basically just a big group brainstorm. And then editing and editing and editing. We wanted to do something with the Chives feel to it, but more approachable, better dollar value and more day-to-day stuff. A lot of it was influenced by what we had cooked for staff here, a lot of familiar flavours, a lot of stuff that we cooked at home for ourselves and thought; wouldn’t it be nice on the menu here? It was definitely collaborative. It’s inspired by home cooked favourites but also world flavours.

What’s your favorite dish on the menu to create?

The burger is something that we’ve worked on for a while and it’s a little pride point because it’s something so simple, but if you treat the product the right way from every step—the beef cut, the seasoning, the searing—all these things add up to the final product. That’s one thing that we really enjoyed about this whole process of doing and creating 2 Doors Down, taking all those kind of fine dining steps and stealing the essence of it and seeing what can actually translate into quick lunch and dinner dishes.

What are some in-season ingredients you’re cooking with now?

Right now radishes and hakurei turnips are a big thing and we have in our Caesar salad at the moment a baby kale mix. Pickled radishes are on some dishes, hakurei turnips on some dishes and fiddleheads are around so were using them. We do a lot of preserves so we can have them all year round. For lunch today we had a ham, cheese, and sungold tomato jam sandwich, and the tomato jam was made last fall at Chives. That’s the great thing about 2 Doors Down, we’re able to use local stuff on a larger scale with some planning.

What’s the best cooking advice you were ever given?

I think that simple is better, quality over quantity and just to edit, edit, edit a dish. You don’t always have to have 10 elements or 12 elements on a dish. The great thing about 2 Doors Down is that most of our plates have five or less elements on it and everything has to be focused and has to be good and has to be there for a reason. Focusing and editing is probably the best food advice I ever got.


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