Justin Hershey and Vu Nguyen (Photo by Cramer Photo)
Not only do owner Vu Nguyen and executive chef Justin Hershey work together at Zinc, West Main’s gas station-turned-shrine to local, seasonal food, but they also live together. Fortunately, the roomies agree on organization and cleanliness and keep all of their pantry staples and spices in labeled glass jars.
Their small, square space flows well with cabinets and equipment on the outside and a Boos butcher block workstation in the center. Lots of ramekins and serving pieces from Nguyen’s previous job at Crate and Barrel makes cooking at home not much different than being at the restaurant. “If I could change anything, I’d like a stainless steel surface and a wooden bench. Oh, and I’d like a real hood and another range,” said Hershey.
They use their home kitchen several times a week to whip up good food fast at the end of a long night. “My pressure cooker is essential—I can make a big batch of rice in six minutes,” said Hershey. Both Nguyen and Hershey love Asian food and keep a range of condiments from Silver Swan soy sauce to Sriracha on hand. Dried chiles, dried mushrooms, cream cheese, and oatmeal are also essential—though not all for the same meal.—Megan J. Headley