At the Table with Brittanny Anderson, Chef and Owner of Three Restaurants in Richmond, Virginia

chef brittanny anderson, metzger bar and butchery, brenner pass richmond, restaurants in richmond
Chef Brittanny Anderson owns Metzger Bar and Butchery, Brenner Pass, and Chairlift in Richmond, Virginia. Photo by Mel Calabro, melcalabro.com

Chef Brittanny Anderson is the owner of three incredible restaurants in Richmond, Virginia: Metzger Bar and Butcher, Brenner Pass, and Chairlift. She is a James Beard nominated chef who has stepped up to be one of the restaurant industry’s positive, young leaders.

Chef Brittanny Anderson is the type of person you want to be your friend for many reasons. She is one of the best chefs I’ve had the honor meeting, which means you will never have to worry about frozen dinners. When a crisis happens, she always steps up to the plate to help her community. Brittanny organized the Richmond Restaurant Workers Relief Fund when restaurants in Richmond closed their doors as COVID-19 swept through and lingered. She continued to serve takeout and curbside at her restaurants. And, she didn’t stop there.

On June 1, she took a step back from her social channels to listen, to learn, and to figure out how she could use her talent and her businesses to support Richmond’s Black community and amplify Black voices. From there, Brittanny joined Bakers Against Racism’s efforts to raise money for charities that support Black lives. She offered Brenner Pass to be Richmond’s pick up location. Brittanny fully practices what she preaches.

I don’t want to forget to mention that she offered Brenner Pass’ space, her time, and resources to us in 2018 to help us raise money for No Kid Hungry. Now, pull up a seat to the table and learn more about Brittanny, the chef who you will want to be best friends with.

Drinks

  1. Most notable food memory? Probably the big crab pickings we would have at the Marina where I spent my summers as a teenager. We would sneak bottles of White Zinfandel and stuff our faces with steamed crabs and corn on the cob, then do cannonballs off the dock.
  2. Most sought after dinner guest, living or not? I know this is uninteresting, but I love cooking for my family. They are always so stoked and act like everything they are eating is the best thing they’ve ever put in their mouths! They are all also hilarious and bawdy and fun.
  3. If you were not doing what you were doing what would you be? I think I’d probably be involved in media in some way. Maybe PR or marketing? I have had to learn how to do a lot of that stuff for myself with the restaurants and it’s surprisingly something I enjoy!
  4. Junk food vice? ALL JUNK FOOD hahaha. But if I had to pick one it would probably be Oreo cookies. I can’t get enough.

Cocktails

  1. What restaurant do you most want to visit when we can safely do so? I just love Malagon in Charleston. Juan and Jill are so good at transporting you somewhere with their food and spaces and when I eat at Malagon I feel like I’m on vacation in Spain. I dream about that tuna ham!
  2. What is your favorite food city that you have been to? In the US- New Orleans or Houston. I can’t deny the crawfish. In the World- Munich, Germany or Lyon, France. The places where all my favorite foods originated!  
  3. What city do you most want to visit that you have not been to when we can travel again? I really want to go to LA. I’ve never been for any extended period of time and I’d love to explore and eat too much.
  4. What quality do you most look for in a vegetable? Hmm, I’ve never actually thought about this, but I guess sweetness and crunch are really important to me. I also love bitter flavors, too.

Breakfast and Lunch

  1. What’s your greatest food extravagance? Oh, food is my greatest extravagance! I have trouble not balling out whenever I eat out. It’s so tempting to order the whole menu! I will always get the caviar. If it’s on a menu, I’m hitting it. Same goes for seafood towers.
  2. What/who do you listen to while cooking? In my kitchens the cooks share time on the radio and goodness. We have a diverse group of musical tastes! For me, I like old school country, global funk, and hip hop. I listen to a lot of Lyle Lovett, and lately JPEGMAFIA, Sudan Archives, and Kariem Riggins have been high on the rotation.
  3. What has been your favorite meal that you’ve cooked during quarantine? Do you use a cookbook? And if so, which one is your favorite? I rarely use cookbooks at home unless I’m baking or making a dish that is from a culture I am unfamiliar with. Quarantine cooking for me has been really fun, as I love cooking at home. I made a crab fried rice that I modified from Danny Bowien that was delicious, and I also jumped aboard the pizza train and made some bangers using my friend Jason LaFerrera’s home pizza making guide.
  4. Where would you love to cook a meal other than your home (or your restaurant)? On a hillside alpage in Savoie, dreamy…

Dinner

  1. What’s the most overrated ingredient? Black Garlic or Koji. Although there is a place for both of them, and I think they’re really cool- they just get a little played out.
  2. If you had the chance to redo one meal/cocktail you’ve ever served? I think the best thing about being a chef and serving people food is that it is about a moment in time. You make the food, the guest eats it and then it’s gone. It’s our job to make that moment count and be memorable so I don’t think I’d redo any meals. 
  3. If you were only allowed to keep one sense, what would it be? Duh, TASTE!
  4. If you could bring back one deceased relative to cook for, who would it be and what would you cook for them? My grandmother Gloria. She died when I was 18 and never got to see me become a chef or open restaurants. She cooked for me so often when I was growing up, and I’d love to return the favor. She loved fried chicken livers. She’d sit in front of the Orioles game with a misty cigarette in one hand and a bucket of chicken livers in the other. At the time, I thought it was so gross! But now I love chicken livers and would love to cook them for her.

Brunch

  1. Biggest culinary/bartender inspiration? Why? I love Suzanne Goin and her style of cooking. Her food just seems so unhurried and connected to people. 
  2. What book are you currently reading? I’m reading The Testaments by Margaret Atwood right now. 
  3. What changes do you want to see happen in the food and beverage industry once restaurant doors can open again? I’d love to see some wage equality between front and back of house. Changing tipping to a service charge system that distributes to all workers, regardless of position while paying everyone a fair wage.
  4. Who has inspired you the most during this time? The people working in the IRC and HUA lobbying congress on behalf of restaurants are so inspiring and I am so grateful to them. I never shut down Brenner Pass, we just continuously stayed open for takeout so I haven’t always had the time to help the cause as much as others, but I really think their hard work is paying off.
  5. How are you making the most of what was handed to us? I’m trying to think positively and be creative about what restaurants will look like in the future. I am enjoying the extra time I have at home and really focusing on making it feel productive and special.

Dessert

  1. How would doctor up store bought Ramen? I usually mix up a raw egg into it like egg drop soup. Adding sliced ham is also a go to.
  2. What imaginary figure would you most want to cook for? What would you serve? She-ra. I bet she works up an appetite.
  3. What would you tell your 20 year old self? To save some money! Stay home every now and again!
  4. What do you most value in your peers/team? Kindness first and foremost. Humor and the ability to find it in our work and mistakes. Work ethic, someone who enjoys what they do.
  5. What’s your death row meal? Classic steakhouse- shrimp cocktail, dry aged beef, hash brown, creamed spinach, gin martini.
  6. What is your motto? Rustic and Sexy 
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