Chef Ricky Hatfield on his new Plainfield restaurant, spring ingredients and what’s in his fridge

by | People, Q&A

With interest sparked by PBS cooking shows, chef Ricky Hatfield knew early on that he would someday work in Indy’s top kitchens. After attending Ivy Tech’s culinary arts program, he worked at such restaurants as Malibu on Maryland, McCormick & Schmick’s, Sullivan’s Steakhouse, Peterson’s, CharBlue Steak & Seafood and, most recently, Bottleworks Hotel. He is now executive chef at The Prewitt, a new fine dining destination in a renovated Plainfield movie theater that plays up its cinematic heritage.

How would you describe the food at The Prewitt? Do you have a favorite dish?

New American – a French foundation with global flavor influences and approachable creativity. I love our duck porchetta, a new spin with duck on a classic pork dish.

We’ve heard a lot lately about the death of fine dining — do you feel like it has a future?

I don’t think fine dining is dead. I think with the pandemic and diners’ perception changing, we have to be more approachable to the average consumer. Fine dining details can be there, but a more relaxed atmosphere leads the guests to be comfortable enough to try out restaurants. We have to adapt to our guests or we will die. Within the establishments, we can support special events to make it feel more exclusive to certain diners.

When you’re creating a new dish, where do you start or where do you draw inspiration from?

I draw influences from wherever I can to develop new dishes. Seasonality, trends, other chefs’ take on items, flipping through cookbooks and maybe a visit to an area or a walk through the woods. Inspiration can be immediate or develop over time. I like to use our team and guests as inspiration to gather what they might like to see on the menu and bring it into reality.

Is there a particular spring ingredient that you look forward to this time of year?

Ramps, mushrooms, radishes, the freshest of seasonal veggies and fruits, and seafood in any variety.

Are there any tips you would give to home cooks?

Prep ahead, keep it organized and keep it simple. Sometimes the best dishes are highlighted by their simplicity and ingredient focus.

What items are always in your fridge?

Hellman’s Mayo, fresh veggies, Dijon mustard, house canned salsa, some sort of pickle and probably a sample or two from one of my farmer/vendors to test at home.

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