Chef MJ Adams of Potted Rabbit Media moved to the Black Hills to open The Corn Exchange after spending 12 years in New York. After 15 years, the restaurant closed down. She has since published The Corn Exchange Cookbook: From the Big Apple to the Black Hills, a collection of recipes from 30 years of culinary exploration.
Adams opens up to 605 about her love of South Dakota, her passions, and the time she met Gordon Ramsay.
WHAT KEEPS YOU IN SOUTH DAKOTA?
I feel it’s the gateway to the West. I love that I can be in Yellowstone or Montana at the drop of a hat. Wonderful friends whom I’ve met over the years through the restaurant are also a plus.
WHAT ELSE ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?
[I’m passionate about] supporting small [agriculture] in our state and the importance of highlighting local food. That is why The Corn Exchange was recognized nationally, because you could come to the restaurant and experience South Dakota.
WHAT ARE THE ONE OR TWO INGREDIENTS THAT YOU FEEL SHOULD BE STAPLES IN MOST RECIPES?
Shallots and great olive oil. Can I say three? Good butter!
COPIES OF THE COOKBOOK ARE AVAILABLE IN STOREFRONTS LIKE SOMEONE’S IN THE KITCHEN AND MITZI’S BOOKS (RAPID CITY), QUEEN CITY BAKERY (SIOUX FALLS), MAKESPACE (SPEARFISH), BEAR BUTTE GARDENS (STURGIS), AND WILD SPRUCE MARKET (CUSTER).
WHAT RECIPE ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
My Nutmeg Cake. I created it when I was the pastry chef at Alison on Dominick Street in New York City.
IF YOU HAD TO MAKE A THREE-COURSE MEAL FOR GORDON RAMSAY, WHAT WOULD YOU FEED HIM?
I actually met Gordon Ramsay. I was in London in 2001 and was trying to drum up some future work with my Food Arts article that was published in June 2000. I wanted to dine at his place, and being alone, I was squeezed in at [Restaurant Gordon] Ramsay. I was chatting with the staff about Food Arts. They took a copy and went back to the kitchen. They said Gordon wanted to visit with me, so I popped back into the kitchen. It was during the time when [women were only] doing pastries in the kitchen [not on the line]. I don’t think he was that impressed with me. But I think after my meal (Pear and Zucchini Soup, Chicken Bistro, and my Nutmeg Cake) I would prepare for him, he would think, ‘Hey that girl can cook. She’s not just a novelty standing out on the prairie in front of hundreds of buffalo.’ I still have my restaurant receipt from that meal. I framed it: £87.