Watching Tim Shew in the kitchen at La Buvette is like witnessing a craftsman who has practiced his trade for decades. He manuevers around the sparsely applianced, well aged space like second nature, while entertaining patrons eating and drinking at the bar with conversation about literature, obscure film, and his outdoorsman adventures. The ease by which he multi-tasks is reason enough to sit at the bar. In an hours time, I counted over 20 plates he composed from a couple of hotplates and a small counter oven. Meats and cheeses, mussles with chorizo, clam fettucini, and creamy soups with beef cheeks. Everything that comes from his hotplate is simple, elegant, and comforting. Tim is a good fit in the space at La Buvette.
When asked about food, he talks about his fondness for simple, French cuisine. Not fussy, but quality, recognizable, locally raised ingredients that can make even his eldest customers compare it to the olden days; when chicken actually tasted like chicken. He raves about some of his favorite producers – mostly meat – and how ‘clean and real’ their products are. If he had his own restaurant, it would be simple, farm to table, and lots of foraging – not growing, but truly foraging – finding things in the wild to incorporate into the menu. The outdoorsman comes through here, and in some ways sets his personality apart from the other chefs. He talks about being part of this project having exposed him to food technology – cryovacs, etc. I suspect he will take it all in, but gladly go back to foraging in the woods.
Tim Shew is an Omaha native. He is a graduate of Central High School and holds a degree in Literature from Creighton University. Tim’s mother was a home-ec teacher in the 1970′s, and though she was not in this line of work when he was born, she put great importance on learning to cook and family meals. Therefore, like most cooks, Tim is a momma’s boy and learned to love the kitchen from a very young age. After working at many local restaurants including California Taco and B&G Tasty Foods, Tim acquired a job cooking at La Buvette during his junior year of college. He managed La Buvette for a year and a half and now cooks there four nights a week.