Adam Vickerman of Cafe Levain's Essentials

Adam Vickerman

Soup secrets: We don’t fuss around with the soups and use little or no stock—just water. We want to taste the main ingredient and little else. We’ll add a starch, like a potato, for that creamy, luxurious mouthfeel, and copious amounts of dairy. We also tend to garnish our soups with complementary flavors.

Time-management trick: In my tiny kitchen at home, I cook the protein first then allow it to rest while preparing the sides. Get a good, crusty sear and let it sit in a warm area while you tend to your accompaniments.

Under-utilized vegetable: Radishes are usually an afterthought, but there’s more to them than just shaving over tacos. Pickled radishes are wonderful, but you also can try glazing or roasting them.

Energy boosts: Well, I’m not 30 yet, so that helps, but stretching and paying attention to your body makes all the difference. The nice thing about working in this restaurant is the wholesome foods we use. A lot of vegetables and lean proteins save me from energy dips.

Farmers’ market finds: Especially early in the season, make sure that the baby-vegetable tops are green and vibrant. And when preparing, don’t fuss with spring veggies too much—you want that fresh, green flavor.