Chef Ed Witt of 701
svetlana | Jul 30, 2012 | 9:00AM |

all words: Svetlana, all photos: Jeff Martin

Ed Witt, chef at Ashok Bajaj’s 701, tattoo inspiration to many, winner of this year’s Rising Culinary Star Rammy and, in the words of pretty much anyone you inquire about him, an “all-around beast in the kitchen (in a really good way)” lives, along with his two small dogs and an impressive collection of cigars and whiskey in probably one of the most bachelor-y apartments we’ve been to for the fridge series. Everything in it reads like a how-to of cool urbane manhood, down to, yes, a pretty spare fridge situation. “I don’t actually eat much INSIDE my house”-he shrugs. A-ok by us Ed.

Still, there’s plenty to see/learn here, so Jeff and I dive in.

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From the top/and the outside-a pretty impressive Star Wars/Peanuts memorabilia collection (still in boxes) guards the stainless steel box and obviously implies that the cabinet above it is never, ever open…

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and while the front is pretty bare (just a Washington Humane Society snap of Ed with dog) on the side is a certificate that declares Ed a chef of the whole beast and reminds us that he never saw a good meat contest he didn’t like entering (from Cochon 555, to Lamb Jam-Ed’s there and making something unexpected happen)

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Top-to-bottom, the freezer is almost remarkably lean. One bag of Counter Culture coffee, one gun shaped ice cube tray and plenty of ice aside-the box looks almost pristinely clean and virtually unused.

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and not much changes as you move down. Turns out, most of the Ed Witt fridge approach is liquid, with a few choice meat and veg options thrown in, that almost seem to say: this fridge is not empty, this fridge is just really well edited.

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Actual food wise, the selection is limited to some cuts from Bev Eggleston’s EcoFriendly Farms, some Pepper+Garlic Salame and a perfectly bright box of strawberries and jalapeno peppers and asparagus. Only the good stuff.

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On the sides: organic soymilk, green goodness juice, cocomut water and a surprising restraint in the condiments department (which is probably the most overflowing portion of any fridge we ever looked at) with only two proud bottles of Frank’s hot sauce standing guard below the Cabot unsalted butter (unopened)

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on the shelves-some burrata stands guard above a nice selection of beer (Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch, Fat Tire and Buisson Renard are all there on the day we visit), and a few chilled bottles of wine, most of which, unlike the beers, you get a feeling were a gift and are there should a special occasion arises. In the meantime-them and the burrata will just hang out, no worries or rush.

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Past the fridge you catch all the other trappings of the Ed Witt lifestyle: the man may not eat much at home but he does love his cigars, and each one on display (next to a tray of restaurant matchboxes which add to the air of vintage enjoyment surrounding this area) is one Ed can tell you a quick story about. You know what you like and collect, after all. Some people know their stamps or rare baseball cards, Ed Witt knows his cigars.
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Cigar in hand, there is only one thing missing for a perfectly relaxing afternoon – some whiskey. And Ed Witt’s bourbon of choice is a Blanton single barrel, with a lone horseman guarding the top. Cheers. And pass us those meats.

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