Raising the Bar: Local Ladies Leading the Way
Title: Director of Operations and Wine Director, Neal Brown Hospitality Group
Family: Husband, Rob; daughter, Jack; schnauzer mutt, Charlie
Favorite thing to cook: Fresh, simple vegetable salads
Least favorite thing to cook: Caramel sauces. “I always burn them, and not in that good burnt-caramel kind of way.”
Favorite food: Dry-aged rib eye, seared rare in a cast-iron skillet
What she orders: Rook’s mushroom XO dumplings, the roasted cauliflower at Bluebeard or a big bowl of Italian mussels at Pizzology
First food-related job: Pantry/pastry cook at Sola Restaurant in Chicago
Her dream restaurant: “An enoteca-style wine tavern with emphasis on accessibility and educating the guest. Instead of just local wines, it would feature global wines at all price ranges and simple dishes to complement them.”
Edible Indy: How did you get to where you are today?
Erin Till: I helped open the original Pizzology in Carmel in 2009 as the sous-chef. (Till also interned in 2008 for Neal Brown at L’explorateur, which was located in Broad Ripple in Indianapolis and is now closed, while attending culinary school at Kendall College.) At Pizzology, I moved from sous to chef within a few months, then helped open the Libertine as the chef de cuisine in 2011.
EI: How would you describe your style of cooking?
ET: Western European, but on the simple side. My food at the Libertine was rather simple, yet somewhat elegant in a feminine sort of way. While I enjoy eating works of art, accessibility has always been important to me.
EI: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a chef?
ET: Motherhood. After having a child, my priorities completely shifted. Chef hours and commitment were no longer conducive to being the kind of parent I wanted to be. My peers are doing some amazing stuff right now, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit jealous! During these last couple of years I’ve shifted my focus not only to wine, but also to developing our hospitality group into something awesome.
EI: Thoughts on the roles of female chefs within the local food industry?
ET: There are some great women doing fantastic work in Indy’s food scene, but I’d love to see more.
Neal Brown Hospitality