Posted on

New Addition to the deadhorse hill Team Presents a Welcome Challenge

deadhorse hill's culinary team: Chef de cuisine Robin Clark, Executive Chef Jared Forman, Nathan Sanden, and new addition, Erin Hockey

Another familiar face just joined deadhorse hill’s impressive culinary team and Executive Chef Jared Forman feels certain that his job is about to get more difficult. “Taking people on never makes our lives easier, it advances our agenda for better food and a better menu,” Forman explains.

The team, including latest addition Erin Hockey, has gathered around a long table in the back of the restaurant for a ritual pre-service meeting. They sit beneath the watchful eyes of an old sea captain who hangs over Forman’s right shoulder. A collective gaze falls on Hockey, the expectation being that with a new meat manager on board, deadhorse’s already ambitious repertoire will continue to grow.

Hockey grew up hunting and fishing in her hometown of Quincy. “My uncle owned a big game and taxidermy shop, so I broke down my first deer pretty early in life,” she recalls. After accepting a full ride to the New England Culinary Institute, she went on to intern at The Butcher Shop, working for the famed restaurateur, Barbara Lynch. Hockey’s arrival in Worcester coincided with the opening of Kummerspeck on Water Street, an endeavor to which she played an integral role.

For deadhorse hill, welcoming Hockey means the start of a true charcuterie program and another step toward achieving full potential as a seasonal American restaurant. For Hockey, the move opens up a host of spotlight opportunities as an accomplished female butcher. Her debut with the deadhorse hill team took place at America’s Test Kitchen in Boston at the end of October, a star-studded affair.

“I’m not actually good at anything,” Forman jokes from his seat at the head of the table.
“At least you’re funny,” his chef de cuisine Robin Clark fires back before adding, “Jared can see the talent behind him. He empowers us all to let our passions and skillsets shine.”

Chef Clark is living proof. Described by owners as “the heartbeat” of the kitchen, she offers the organized mind of a pastry chef along with a savory intuition. Early experience at Mill’s Tavern, a Providence institution, taught Clark to play with fire, make pasta by hand, and prepare classic dishes at volume. From there, she gained fine dining experience at T.W.Food in Cambridge where she mastered the intricacies of a meticulous modern French bistro. At deadhorse, Clark is free to marry both of those experiences, bringing her aptitude for the elaborate to an exceedingly busy kitchen. She favors recipes that involve a lot of patshke like the tiny tortellinis she has been fussing with all morning, as only a perfectionist could.

Conversely, Clark’s daytime counterpart, a.m. sous chef Nathan Sanden, is an idea-man. Sanden proved his dedication when he drove to Worcester in the throes of an April snowstorm for his interview at deadhorse hill. He feels he has landed a sort of dream job in that he spends his days exploring the distinct techniques of other cultures. Sanden is a dedicated study of Forman, who has outright lied in his assertion that he is “not actually good at anything.” Forman has gleaned his own wisdom from the greats at Per Se, momofuku noodle bar, Marea, and Gramercy Tavern before playing an evident role in the success of Strip T’s and Ribelle.

At the end of the meeting, Hockey, Clark, and Sanden dart off to the kitchen while Forman moves the long table back into a corner. He tucks the chairs neatly into place in preparation for dinner service and eyes the captain over his shoulder. “Some chefs think that you’re only as good as your last dish, but the truth is, you’re only as good as the people you have working behind you.”

Posted on

Owners of deadhorse hill to Open Korean Restaurant on Shrewsbury Street, called Simjang

Simjang will open in 2017 on Shrewsbury Street, in former Sweet location.

Deadhorse hill plans to open a new restaurant in 2017 at the former home of Sweet Kitchen & Bar (72 Shrewsbury Street). The concept, co-owners Jared Forman, Sean Woods, and Albert LaValley told Mass Foodies, is inspired by Korean culture and cuisine. The restaurant will be called simjang.

deadhorse hill co-owners, Jared Forman and Sean Woods.
deadhorse hill co-owners, Jared Forman and Sean Woods.

Brazilian Artist, Arlin Graff, painted the striking Pow!Wow! mural adjacent to deadhorse hill’s Main Street space, which has become synonymous with the restaurant. Graff was spotted coming in and out of 72 Shrewsbury Street earlier this month, and although he was tight lipped about his “secret project” for Woods and Forman, Graff was thrilled to be back in Worcester. “Some cities are hard to return to after you have completed a wall, but I’m so happy to be back here,” Graff said, adding, “Worcester has a great heart.” Consequently, the word “simjang” means “heart” in Korean.

“Worcester is known as the Heart of the Commonwealth, and we want this restaurant to be attached to our community in the same vein,” Forman explains. “This city is where things used to happen and where so much is happening once again. Excitement and growth is pulsing through Worcester, and we love continuing to be a part of it by sharing one of our favorite cuisines with the neighborhood. We want simjang to be a place you can have fun, get messy, learn something new, and indulge.”

Forman and Woods have rapidly transformed Worcester’s culinary scene, drawing visitors from all over New England for the chef’s tasting menu, which speaks proudly of the seasons. Forman spent time at some of the nation’s top restaurants including Per Se, momofuku Ssäm Bar, Gramercy Tavern, and Strip T’s in Boston, where the duo met. Woods is a veteran of Craigie on Main, Strip T’s, and ribelle, all in Boston.

The new concept will offer easy-to-order items that are quickly prepared, an attractive option for on-the-go patrons at neighboring Wormtown Brewery. Along with Graff’s heartfelt mural, simjang’s interior will feature a space for love locks akin to many of the world’s most famous pedestrian bridges.

Sean Woods with Brazilian Artist, Arlin Graff, as Graff paints the wall for the new restaurant, Simjang, in the space previously occupied by Sweet Kitchen & Bar.
Sean Woods with Brazilian Artist, Arlin Graff, as Graff paints the wall for the new restaurant, simjang, in the space previously occupied by Sweet Kitchen & Bar.

Mass Foodies first observed Executive Chef Jared Forman exploring the new concept earlier in the spring with the launch of a late night menu featuring Korean Style Chicken Wings and other casual bites. The dish included artisanal gochujang sauce called Rhei-Maid, favored by many of Boston’s top chefs. Rhei-Maid is a fermented pepper paste that carries a subtle spice along with light floral notes, produced by a friend of Forman’s from New Jersey. For his Korean Style Chicken Wings, Forman uses a blend of four flours and fries the wings twice for a crackly skin that stays crunchy for hours. The evening the Korean staple premiered on deadhorse’s menu, Forman promised Mass Foodies, “There is no other wing like it in Worcester.” Simjang will change that, allowing Forman’s broad culinary experience to sail a mile across town.