The first time I met Ed Cotton, executive chef of Sotto 13, he showed me how to make a turducken, a rather involved process that clearly demonstrated the second-generation chef’s love of all things charcuterie. In addition to being an expert charcuterer, pizza man, and pasta maker Cotton’s an L.I.C. guy and I am happy to announce that he will be cooking at The Catskills Comes to Queens. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy sked to answer 7 Questions Ed!
How did you become a chef?
I became a chef because of my father. I found what he did for a living very fascinating. I must have been five or so. It was interesting seeing cooks chop, cut and prepare things. That looked so fun to me.
What’s your favorite thing about being at the helm of Sotto 13?
One of my favorite things about being at the helm is that we have such a small kitchen and staff, so it’s very easy to talk to my staff. I can show them stuff and talk to them whenever because there’s nowhere to hide.
So let me get this straight. You’re making rabbit mortadella hot dogs for The Catskills Comes to Queens? How in the world did you come up with that idea?
Yes, I’m going to call them morty dogs. I love making all charcuterie, sausages, terrines, and all that stuff. We currently make rabbit mortadella for one of our wood-fired pizzas, so I wanted to take it in another direction. So that’s when I decided to make a rabbit mortadella hot dog. The garnishes won’t be as traditional as a normal dog but it will complement it for sure.
Name three things that are always in the fridge at home?
Hummus, Frank’s Red Hot, and V8 juice
How long have you been living in Queens? Do you have any favorite markets and/or restaurants?
I’ve been living in L.I.C for almost 5 years. I love going to Astoria to shop, They have great meat markets like the International Meat Market on 30th Ave, and an Italian joint called Dave and Tony’s for Italian specialty stuff, and United Brothers Produce has some of the freshest produce around. For food I like throwing down a hamburger from Petey’s or Corner Bistro. Mexican, I go to Casa Enrique, M. Wells is consistently great. Pizza I like Bella Via but eat it there! Dont do take out.
Name one food trend you wish would go away.
Food trends are good and bad. However I don’t like the ramen burger thing. People go crazy for these crazy ideas. People feel obligated to talk about this like they are cutting edge. Just give me a normal burger that is executed well and I’m happy. I don’t need to wait in a line for something that someone needs to tell me to rub sandpaper between my fingers and rub my stomach while eating an oyster. These type of things I don’t get. Power to the owners for creating them, but it’s not for me
Any new dishes on the menu at Sotto 13 that you’d like to share with C+M readers?
We have been working on our menu for the spring and we have a few standouts: salmon saltimbocca with fava bean pesto and tomato jam and rabbit sausage with smoky eggplant puree, roasted tomatoes on the vine with black olive and orange vinaigrette. Those are just two of my favorites right now