Adin Langille is the Executive Chef at David Burke fabrick in Midtown Manhattan and a member of the culinary council for the David Burke Group. Adin helped conceptualize the menus and open the restaurant a year-and-a-half-ago. When I sat down at fabrick for a conversation with Adin, I learned that food is truly his art. His mother is an artist, and he has background in sculpting—which he applies directly to food. Using elements of depth, color, and composition blended with flavors, textures, and smells …Adin creates unique signature dishes. He is also highly conscious in sourcing ingredients, utilizing sustainable foods throughout his menus. Adin is an impressive guy that genuinely embodies the True Cooks ethos.
Where are you from? I’m originally from New Hampshire.
How did you get into cooking? I’ve always cooked with my mother when I was younger—helping make dinner or whatever she was cooking. As I got older, I got into washing dishes—I was about 14 years old. I just thought it was just a job, I didn’t see it as a career. By the time I was 15 and 16, I was working the grill at a local bar and grill. Then I went and did a three-day thing at Johnson & Wales University. I was really into art, sculpture, and everything like that. That’s when I saw that you can use food as a medium for sculpture. That’s when things really took off, and I got excited. I ended up going to Johnson & Wales—I did two years there. It was a great experience.
Tell me more about the sculpting as far as food is concerned. My mom is an artist, so I come from an artistic family—and I have an artistic background. I look for depth of field, colors, and composition. The cool thing about food is that it also has to have functionality. It can’t just look great—it has to eat well. The components have to taste well with each other. You can’t just put something on there for the visual aspect if it doesn’t make sense with the rest of the dish. So, it is kind of like sculpture—but it’s on another level. You have to make things not only as a 3D visual—but it also has taste, smell, and texture that you have to play with. There’s a lot more elements of design when it comes to a plate of food.
David Burke fabrick is a top-tier restaurant. What was your journey to get here? After culinary school, I went down to Miami for two years. I worked down there under a really great French chef. Then I moved back up to New York, and worked for Alain Ducasse for three-and-a-half years—which was a great experience. I worked for Michael White at Marea— two-star Michelin. Then I got a sous chef job at Junoon restaurant— a one Michelin star Indian restaurant in the Flatiron District. That was a great experience, and I was promoted to chef de cuisine very shortly after accepting that position. I was at Junoon for about two-and-a-half years.
I met David Burke at an event we were doing called City Meals on Wheels. We were personally delivering food to New York’s home-bound elderly as part of a charity organization that Daniel Boulud and Charlie Palmer are the co-president and board member of respectively. It’s a really great charity. I met David there, and he brought me here to check out this space while it was under construction. That’s when I got excited about it. I did a tasting for him, nailed it, and here I am.
How long have you been here? I opened the restaurant and helped design the concept and menu for the opening —so I started two years ago with the company, and we opened about a year-and-a-half ago.
How has it evolved since opening, and what is the concept for Fabrick? We call it fabrick because we’re in the Garment District—but we also want to be the fabric of New York cuisine. So, we’re showcasing New York classics and dishes from all of the different ethnic groups in New York City on one menu on a shareable platform. We’re trying to look at all of the different neighborhoods and staples of those neighborhoods—and really trying to bring that food to life. Our logo is a weaver bird which is our interpretation of weaving together the threads of American cuisine.
What would say is the flagship dish on your menu? We are a share plate concept, so you can eat around the world in an afternoon. I wouldn’t say that we have one dish that’s like our flagship. We have a multitude of different things. Our specials is really where we push ourselves. Right now, our candy bacon sells like crazy, the avocado panna cotta also. Those are two of our signature dishes. We do some really great ceviche and crudos—which I’m really excited about. We’re working on one right now using Hiramasa farmed out of Baja.
Talk a little bit more about sourcing, do you do a lot of farm to table here? Absolutely, one thing that I’ve been working with is using the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, and making sure that we only use products that are by the guide. We’re using a Verlasso Salmon that’s farmed off the coast of Chile, that’s a highly recommended salmon from Sea Food Watch. I used a Green Circle chicken that’s farmed in the Amish farms in Lancaster, Pennsylvania—it’s free range, organic, no hormones, no additives, or anything like that. It’s also great working with Forage and Found out in Washington—which is organically cultivated mushrooms as well as wild foraged mushrooms. Knowing where your product comes from is so important to know as a chef nowadays. There’s so many products out there that aren’t being honestly brought to your table. It takes a lot of research and extra effort to find these products—and they’re costly as well most of the time. But, it’s much more rewarding—you’re promoting sustainability and you’re promoting good practices.
As far as flavors, or style of cuisine—what influences you? I have a background in a lot of different styles of cuisine from fine-dining French, to Caribbean, to Peruvian, and Mexican, as well as fine-dining Italian, Indian cuisine, and a little bit of Asian—I also look to those different cuisines as well. Mainly what I like to focus on, and what really gets me inspired, is South American cuisine—there’s so many depths of flavors in the cooking in South America. A hundred miles in South America is a whole different world of cuisines—so I’m really inspired by that. Really, working with anything new that I haven’t done before and pushing the limits. For instance, right now we’ve been messing around with anticuchos —which is a Peruvian beef skewer. We’ve also been messing around with gochujang—which is a fermented chili paste. We’ve been working on a salmon dish glazed with that. I like to try to utilize any cuisine but stay true to that cuisine, no fusion.
Obviously launching fabrick was a huge accomplishment —what was the biggest challenge in bringing this to fruition? The biggest challenge during the opening of this specific property—and it happens in openings all over the place—is you have mechanical failures, you have storage situations when you’re new in a place—trying to find the place where this thing goes every time, really coordinating the staff. The biggest challenge was probably the storage area, and dealing with the lights going out in the kitchen in the middle of service, but staying on in the dining room—we were plating and expediting with flashlights. Stuff like that is always a challenge, but once you get past those initial hurdles of breaking in a property—it’s very rewarding.
How did you discover True Cooks? I was at JB Prince back when they first got the Marco shirt and was like “oh snap, Marco Pierre White—let me get that t-shirt too.” I was wearing it the next day in the kitchen and one of my cooks said, “Chef, that’s cool—you have a True Cooks shirt.” I was like, “True Cooks, this is Marco Pierre White,” and the cook said “Who’s that?” Then I asked “what is True Cooks?” We started talking about it. I wasn’t even really into Instagram at the time. I had an account, but I only had like ten pictures on there. Omar (AKA CulinaryHarassment) was my sous chef here at the time so I started talking to him about it, and he asked why I didn’t have an Instagram? At the time he had like ten thousand followers! He started showing me the stuff that he does and hooked me up with some gear. He got me connected with Chad— humility, dedication, and sacrifice—what better words to base a culinary company on. When they threw the GoldbarNYC party – I organized the rooftop bar after party. It’s a cool brand. I like what they stand for. It’s really a great idea—to bring culinary professionals together.
Instagram is an important tool, especially for creatives—has getting more involved with that had any impact on you professionally? Yes, IG is a great tool. I recently got sponsored by Aura Knife works, it’s a handmade knife company, out in Long Beach, California through Instagram. There were a couple of thousand people that tried out for it, and I got the last spot. They had a couple of posts that said, “Chefs, show your knife skills—we’re picking people for the team” They saw my videos and invited me to join the team. We all flew out to LA and went down to Long Beach and made knives together. It was great. I’ve got two of their knives now, one of my cooks bought one, and two more are going to as well.
You’re obviously in a great position now, where do you see yourself going in the future—what do you aspire to be? What I really want to do in the future is a tasting table restaurant. I’d love to attain three Michelin stars if possible—but not for the reason of going and puffing my chest in the air and saying that I achieved three Michelin stars. More-so for the reason that that’s the highest accolade that you can achieve in the restaurant industry—and I’ve dedicated my life to cooking. To shoot for the highest accolade because I’ve dedicated my life to this. And, having a restaurant that was small enough that I could interact with every single customer during the dinner and really talk about where each dish came from, the design behind it, and really cook with my heart and soul. Not saying that I don’t do that now, but when you have a restaurant on a bigger scale—it’s a little more difficult to interact with each customer like that.
What stands out the most to you about New York cuisine? I think that there’s just so much diversity in the people that are here in New York, and that translates to food. I live in Queens, and it’s really like a galaxy. You could go ten blocks in any direction and you’re in a completely different neighborhood, a Mexican neighborhood, a Columbian neighborhood, an Indian neighborhood, and a Middle Eastern neighborhood all right in that little circle. That’s what’s really exciting to me about New York—really you can get any kind of product from all over the world, work with any cuisine, and eat at a restaurant that serves any cuisine from all over the world. That’s what really drew me here.
What advice would you give to a young person that’s a fan of True Cooks that’s aspiring to be in a position similar to yours? My biggest advice would be treat everyone how you would like to be treated—that’s how I run my kitchen. Teamwork is the most important thing. Not my station, not my problem is not how you want to run a restaurant. I think one of the biggest things that’s helped me to move up to where I am at such a young age is that I’ve treated every restaurant that I’ve worked at like I was the owner—and thinking, “would I serve this to my mother,” when putting a dish out. If you treat every dish that comes out like you’re serving it to you mother—you’re going to do something right. Be patient as well—hard work, perseverance, and a good attitude always pays off.