Why We Love Philip Krajeck
When Philip talks, you can just about hear the rocking chair on a humid Nashville summer day. He can discuss fermentation, seasonality and ingredients with the same laid-back precision as describing his favorite honky-tonk bar.
“My goal is to make seasonal, high-quality cooking accessible to many.”
“There’s a freedom in Nashville because it’s a newer food scene. You can make it here if you try hard and have the right values.”
You have a pretty winding background. How did that lead to your interest in food?
It’s a little complex, actually. My father is an American, my mother is Norwegian. I was born in Germany as a military brat. Then I spent the majority of my formative years through about fifth grade through high school in Brussels while my father worked for NATO. It’s funny, I didn’t realize I had an interest in food until I left and moved back to the U.S. I moved to Florida and it was a food desert, and I had this moment when I realized that food was important. Even beer was important.
How did you settle on Nashville?
The opportunity of a growing city and the richness and potential in agriculture. We had friends who lived here and were farming here, and they kept telling us that the scene was about to explode. It was ready for the kind of thing I wanted to do. So, it was a no-brainer for me and my family in identifying the potential Nashville had in that moment. It was what I was looking for the whole time.
Was there a difference between opening Rolf & Daughters and opening up Folk?
Opening a restaurant is like getting married, divorced and having three kids at the same time. No matter how you do it. The difference was when we opened Rolf, I didn’t have a team like I do now. We slowly built a team, whereas when we opened Folk we already had that team.
What’s a food you think Nashville is known for?
Hot chicken and bologna sandwiches are the first things that come to mind. The classic is Robert’s, and we send everyone from out of town there. They play classic country western and rockabilly swing, and they do a bologna sandwich—which is seven individual slices of bologna fried on a griddle, stacked on white bread, with tomato, lettuce and then you get mayo on the side. I like hot sauce with it. It’s just classic bar food.
Why is travel important to you?
I recently went to London to visit my daughter who’s studying abroad there, and just had a magical time. Just walking the markets and seeing this old-world food scene was so fulfilling. The reference point I think about is how young we are as a country, and all these other places have this storied and deep cultural connection to food. That’s something I love exploring.
What's the first thing you do when you visit a new place?
My favorite thing to do is to walk the city. I’ll find a cafe, have a coffee and sit outside and watch and observe people, and just crush the streets. I love walking. I love seeing new things, being silent and observing all the things around me.