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Meet Brian Miller of Hops Test Kitchen and Raw Bar in Inman Square

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian Miller.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My desire to get into the restaurant industry actually started in the front of the house. I went to school initially for business and focused on entrepreneurship, writing my thesis on the industry and opening restaurants. After school I moved to Miami to work with my god father at his newly opening restaurant to learn the ins and outs through a successful restauranteur. I worked all the FOH positions and asked one day to spend some time in the kitchen, and I never left. I immediately fell in love with the intensity and passion put into every dish. I stayed working at his restaurant in the kitchen while attending Le Cordon Bleu in Miami. For my internship I came back up to Boston to work at Sorellina, in the dead of a brutal winter. It was an incredible experience and worked with some very talented people. After the internship I decided to go back to the warm weather and was lucky enough to land a job for one of the best restaurateur chefs in the entire country, Dean James Max, and his sous chef, Top Chef Season 13 winner Jeremy Ford. Both undeniably talented and I soaked it up like a sponge. Again I moved back to work at Sorellina again, then a small farm to table, then Menton, then Cinquecento as the Exec. Sous, then Brasserie 28.

All of those restaurants lead me to where I am today and the food that I cook and create for our menu at HTK. Our drive at HTK is to be as scratch as possible, making everything we can in house from scratch product. We cook a classically refined French and Italian style of cuisine with a mix of modern techniques and involved flavors. Our owners let us source some of the best farms to get our ingredients and we highlight those fruits, vegetables and proteins. I have really been blessed to work for the people that I do with this company, I get a lot of creative freedom. My culinary team is also extremely motivated and talented which is always hard to find and hard to build when starting at a new location. As we progress and move forward we always continue to think of different ways to push the limits, whether it be how to use the scraps from a vegetable or how to manipulate flavor with different ingredients or techniques.

Has it been a smooth road?
Every chef, well, every real chef, talented or not, has a bumpy road. The struggles of the chef life are limitless. It could be anything really, from staffing to bad management, from bad ownership to running out of money. I’ve gone through all of those. Most of those situations that have come up are from restaurants that aren’t on my resume anymore, brief stints of time that just don’t need to be anything but my own bad memories. The ups and downs of this career are always a learning process and can always teach you and make you a better chef though. So no matter how bad things were I never let it get in my way.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Hops Test Kitchen and Raw Bar – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Hops Test Kitchen and Raw Bar is just one of two restaurants in our “group”. Our older sister restaurant in Brookline is our other side. HTK however is a small, eclectic food driven restaurant that focuses on classic but refined French and Italian cuisine. We obviously have a raw bar and source our seafood from incredible local vendors that supply us with pristine product. We also make all of our pasta from scratch, so scratch that we grind our own flour for the doughs, sourced from North Star Farms in central Mass. In addition to all of that we try to be as scratch as we can, making vinegars, sea salt, crème fraiche, other cheeses and more. I’m most proud of the team that I have behind me in the kitchen. They are all incredibly motivated, dedicated and push me as much as I push them to grow and be better and think deeper into every dish we create.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I like the passion that this city has. I grew up here and I have seen a lot of change and it all stems from the love that people here have for our community. On the down side I wish there was more credit given to the restaurants here compared to other big cities. Boston is known as one of the more notable cities in the country yet we don’t get credit for the outstanding food that restaurants here produce. It hurts, like serious, it pokes my heart, in a bad way.

Pricing:

  • Chefs Whim Tasting Menu $55
  • Pop Up dinner series, varying price, last Sunday of every month
  • Pastas and Entrees $18-28

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