A native of Richmond, Hardy graduated third in the 2007 class of the former French Culinary Institute in New York. From there, he went on to work for some of the biggest names in the food business. Under Marcus Samuelsson, he was a line cook and sous chef at Aquavit and Red Rooster, respectively; under Gabriel Kreuther, Hardy served as a sous chef at The Modern and MoMa cafes. Most recently, he consulted for the Neighborhood Restaurant Group at the Columbia Firehouse in Alexandria.
His immediate plans? “I don’t need to reinvent the wheel,” says the chef. “There are a wealth of French bistro dishes that have already been created.” Instead, Hardy says he’ll be “dedicated to make everything a little nicer,” right down to finding a better bean for cassoulet.
“New York was a temporary situation,” the chef explains his decision to move south. “I’m a Virginian,” adds Hardy, who ticks off a list of local products – apples, ham, oysters – he’s eager to incorporate into his menu.
Look for the new hire’s handiwork on the bistro’s spring menu, out next month, says Demiroglu. Judging from his response to Hardy’s cooking try-outs, diners should be making reservations now. Says the boss, “I felt as if I was eating in Paris!”