It was not the Library Kitchen and Bar that inspired me to write a cookbook, nor was it the reason I chose Chef Johannes as my co-writer—it was all coincidental.
In my January 17 blog, Look What’s Cooking, I wrote about my upcoming Pinnacle Lust companion cookbook. I relayed the moment that I felt ready to start the journey of writing a cookbook and the process of bringing a world-class, Michelin star-trained chef into the project.
Chef Johannes Klapdohr and I go back seventeen years—when he was chef de cuisine of Nikolai’s Roof in downtown Atlanta.
Once I lost my willpower and let fine dining be the primary part of my social life, things rolled fast. First, the pounds piled on. Then, my husband and I were slowly added to many top restaurants’ VIP lists. And after that, it didn’t take long before the chef gave us special attention. Beyond our specific reserved table, there were certain foods that he would prepare especially for us.
But with Chef Johannes, things were different. We booked exclusive events where we rented the entire place, or the entire team, and Johannes always made sure that each event was the one to remember.
Johannes’ culinary skills continuously captured our hearts and stomachs. His pleasant personality and European manners only added to the image of the perfect chef. The only problem was that chefs like Johannes do not stay in one place forever. Sooner or later, they leave to pursue better opportunities where they can grow in their career and touch a new dream.
And so did Johannes. Following his dreams, he left Nikolai’s Roof, leaving behind a large hole in the culinary community of Atlanta as well as many splendid memories in diners’ minds and palates.
So when it was my time to write a cookbook, it was obvious that Johannes Klapdohr would be my first choice for my project.
Upon our reunion, I discovered that he is now the co-owner of the Library Kitchen and Bar. Learning about the place and its history, left me laughing. Seriously, I thought, the Library Kitchen and Bar? I couldn’t believe the serendipity. This was meant to be—a chef and the co-owner of a restaurant named Library Kitchen and Bar is now the co-writer of my cookbook…wow, things must happen for a reason.
The Library Kitchen and Bar was opened just a few months ago on New Year’s eve, set in a 160-year-old structure that was previously home to the historic The Library Club Restaurant. The historic charm and the stylish design, along with the modern paintings and the farm-to-table menu, make the place unique, attractive, and very welcoming. People say it is the trendiest dining spot in the area.
And I think to myself, the world goes ’round.
When you hear St. Patrick’s Day, I doubt you think about martinis. What likely comes to mind is Irish whiskey, beer, and cider. Then maybe you think green.
But the truth remains that there is a martini for every occasion—and most certainly during an Irish-themed holiday where alcohol flows freely.
You really don’t have to be a big drinker to enjoy one green martini this St. Patrick’s Day, nor do you have to be Irish. All you have to be is creative, or just go with the flow…
Let’s get one thing straight: I’m not a big drinker and I’m definitely not Irish.
And when I called Chef Johannes about creating a treat for our readers for the upcoming holiday, he said, “Michelle, I’m not a bartender. I am a chef. And just like you, I’m not Irish. Why not do a dinner recipe, maybe a special casserole—something green?” He hoped to talk me into something different to honor St. Patrick’s Day.
But it all sounded too serious. When it comes to food, the green part sounded too healthy for St. Patrick’s Day. The alternative of green food coloring would not be an option in Chef Johannes’ kitchen (or in mine). I had to turn it down.
So what do you think, casserole or martini? Martini, of course.
But don’t think I got off that easy. I had to promise the chef that next holiday, less drinking, more cooking…. (We shall see.)
1 oz. vodka
1 oz. crème de mint (green)
2 oz. Godiva white chocolate liqueur
1 oz. crème de cacao (white)
½ oz. half and half
Mix vodka, Godiva liqueur, crème de cacao liqueur, crème de mint, and half and half in a martini shaker with several ice cubes.
Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass for the traditional martini experience, or use whatever glass you have on hand.
Garnish with mint leaf on top.
FYI, this martini was tested last night at Fogo De Chao in Atlanta and was more than just approved—the next time you dine there, ask Pedro, the bartender, or Justin, the manager, for Chef Johannes’ Greeni Martini.
Happy St. Patty’s Day!
Michelle (& Chef Johannes)