Chef Michael Corvino could use a win right now—figuratively and literally. The acclaimed culinary pro says his industry has “been through the ringer” because of the pandemic. Yesterday, Corvino did get a bit of good news in the midst of all the ongoing restaurant turmoil. He made it to the finals of the prestigious 2020 James Beard Awards for Best Chef: Midwest, which he was also a finalist for last year.
We caught up with Corvino—who opened Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room in April 2017 in the Crossroads Arts District—to dish, so to speak.
First of all, congratulations!
“Thank you so much, that means a lot.”
This has got to be some good news in the midst of KC’s restaurant chaos, yes? How’s your head?
“This has certainly been the toughest seven weeks as a restaurateur, and also some of the hardest of my life. We have asked more of ourselves and what remains of our team than ever. Through no fault of our own, we’ve been put through the ringer, and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel currently. But we’re continuing to be innovative and put food out that I’m still incredibly proud of. I’m lucky to have the incredible crew we do—true professionals.”
What would grown-up James Beard-award finalist Michael tell high-school pizza restaurant dishwasher Michael? Any advice?
“I would say—stay the path. Work hard, stick around, be willing to learn, and take responsibility.”
People say the James Beard Award is the Oscars of the culinary field. What do you say to that?
“Absolutely true. Attending last year was incredible. Christina and I got all dolled up, attended a bunch of parties, and got to meet people we’ve admired for many years. (For me—chef Hugh Acheson. For Christina—Bobby Stuckey.) We were sad we didn’t win for about three minutes—and then we went on having the time of our lives.”
When you win—and you will—what featured dish do I absolutely, positively need to try at Corvino Supper Club when I come in to celebrate with you?
“Well, you can have one of my two favorites: Caviar and Bubbles. Or our burger and a Torn Label Corvino Pivo. Nah, it’s the burger.” [laughs]