Interview: Chef Joncarl Lachman of Noord Restaurant in Philadelphia

Chef Joncarl Lachman of Noord restaurant in Philadelphia, PA

Chef Joncarl Lachman is truly making the best of his first year on South Philadelphia’s East Passyunk dining strip, cooking for and running Noord. Lachman, a Southwest Philly native who made his bones in Chicago, has won critical acclaim and packed houses for his intimate BYOB’s rustic Scandanavian fare. This week, Lachman announced that Noord will participate in its first East Passyunk Avenue Restaurant Week (Feb 23 - Mar 1), making their debut along with current Top Chef contestant Nicholas Elmi’s Laurel.  Lachman also announced that Noord will host a collaborative dinner with their friends and neighbors at Fond on January 27, where the two restaurants will split one Deep Roots Valley Farm-raised pig as part of a five-course meal.

A.D. Amorosi: Where are you right now?
Joncarl Lachman: I’m in Chicago, taking care of some business at HB, my first restaurant.

A.D. Amorosi: You – along with the rest of the chefs along the block – just announced your part in the upcoming East Passyunk Restaurant Week.  This is your first one. What is your take on it?
Joncarl Lachman: The feeling of community in East Passyunk is very real. While I never participated in any resto week stuff in Chicago, I am actually pretty excited to be doing it here. I have friends who live in Center City who still think of South Philly and East Passyunk as quite a trek. It should be interesting to see who comes.

A.D. Amorosi: Some folks love the Restaurant Week concept, but some fine diners, and several notable chefs including Marc Vetri have expressed displeasure. There’s a bit of a stigma around it, as if diners aren’t getting the fullest experience a restaurant could and should offer. How can you combat that bad vibe?
Joncarl Lachman: I plan on offering full portions and look at it as a way of turning Restaurant Week people into regular guests.

A.D. Amorosi: What gives with the relationship between you guys at Noord and Fond? As a BYOB, I know you recommend that pre-diners to Noord stop at Fond for a drink, but there seems to be more going on between you.
Joncarl Lachman: The staffs of Fond and Noord have developed a true neighborly friendship. We actually had our holiday employees party together with Laurel in the mix as well. It’s fun to do events with other chefs, and I have an honest respect for Lee Styer and Tory Keomanivong at Fond.

A.D. Amorosi: OK you’ve hung with Elmi. What do you think about his shot at Top Chef? Think he won? Does he give clues?
Joncarl Lachman: Really, I have no idea. He’s keeping everything very close to his chest.

A.D. Amorosi: How did the idea of going whole hog with Fond come about?
Joncarl Lachman: While in Chicago – at least – the whole pig trend really started to bug me, but you have to admit, that it is delicious. That said, Lee at Fond actually came up with it, as an idea for the protein for a collaborative dinner with the Gloucester Old Spot as the centerpiece. I may try to talk him into doing a goat dinner next.

A.D. Amorosi: I’d be up for a good goat. How did you come to use Will and Kelly Smiths Deep Roots Valley Farms for the pig?
Joncarl Lachman: Deep Roots Valley are old high school friends of Lee. I, of course, love the idea of cooking a humanely raised heritage breed animal, for all the obvious reasons. Plus, they have been raising the pig specifically for us.

A.D. Amorosi: What are you doing with the pig?
Joncarl Lachman: We will be doing a batch of Zeeuws Spek – a traditional type of bacon from Zeeland province in SW Netherlands. It is the best part of the back. It almost comes across as a barbecue type thing, with the soy sauces and the turmeric. It’s sticky. One of my cooks, Sean Urquhart, came to me with the idea so I've got to it is rewarding to turn young cool chefs onto a cuisine that is so close to my heart.

A.D. Amorosi: You’ve got the back of the pig covered. What about the rest of it?
Joncarl Lachman: I’ll be making cider braised cabbage with pork loin, something that harkens back to the food that I was embarrassed by in my teenage years when my mom made it.

A.D. Amorosi: In May, it will be a year that you’re on East Passyunk Avenue. What say you about the experience?
Joncarl Lachman: I am proud of Philadelphia and of being back in Philly. The “welcome home” has been so very heartwarming.


The five-course collaborative pig dinner between Noord and Fond is Monday, January 27 with hors d’oeuvres starting at 6:30 p.m. and dinner at 7:30 p.m. Dinner is $75 per person. Call Noord (1046 Tasker Street, 267.909.9704) or Fond (1537 S 11th Street, 215.551.5000)

East Passyunk Avenue Restaurant Week starts Sunday, February 23 and runs through Saturday, March 1. For full menus visit starting at Noon on January 29 ($15 menus), January 30 ($25 menus) and January 31 ($35 menus).

For more of our coverage on Joncarl Lachman click here.
For more of our coverage on East Passyunk Avenue click here.

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Joncarl Lachman Photo ©Glamorosi 2013

Posted on Wednesday, January 15, 2014