Name: Justin Bittner
Restaurant: Chef at Bar Pilar, 1833 14th Street NW
Current Residence: Baltimore
Tattoo Count: 0
Borderstan: What brought you to D.C? How long have you been here?
Bittner: I came to town for a job opportunity at Bar Pilar and I’ve been working here for four years and change.
Borderstan: Lots of chefs have a cause or nonprofit they support — what’s yours?
Bittner: I don’t have one.
Borderstan: Favorite dish on your menu?
Bittner: Crispy roasted potatoes with aioli.
Borderstan: Favorite dish on someone you admire’s menu?
Bittner: Goat shoulder at Komi.
Borderstan: First thing you cooked that made you be like think, “Damn, I could be a chef.”
Bittner: I don’t have a memory like that.
Borderstan: Favorite season to cook during? What ingredient gets you fired up?
Bittner: I definitely like to cook in the fall to early winter. I really love tomatoes.
Borderstan: Advice for home cooks or folks who are afraid to get into the kitchen?
Bittner: Read books and practice.
Borderstan: Worst injury… still have a scar?
Bittner: All chefs have a bunch of scars. My most lasting burn is probably the one on my left wrist from frying soft shell crabs. I was using the pan and it flew up and just covered my hand with well over 350 degrees of hot clarified butter.
Borderstan: Are you a yeller in the kitchen?
Bittner: Not in the kitchen, but I do sometimes yell at meetings. Sometimes I want people to realize that they should feel bad if they mess up so they don’t do it anymore, but it’s never personal.
Borderstan: Favorite place to eat in Borderstan, other than your own restaurant?
Borderstan: Favorite joint to get a drink?
Bittner: Black Cat.
Borderstan: You have a whole day off — what do you do?
Bittner: I’ll hang out with my girl if she’s off, or else get some barbecue at Andy Nelson’s, or maybe play some video games.
Borderstan: What’s your comfort food?
Bittner: I really like Peruvian chicken.