Nick Traeger is a Lafayette native currently working at Public Greens in Broad Ripple. He started in fine dining kitchens in Detroit, and hitched his wagon to Chris Huston at Atlas Global Bistro and began digging into Midwestern food history. Making his way back home to Indiana, he took the job as Sous Chef under Brandon Canfield at The Loft at Traders Point Creamery where Brandon was already underway in an effort to bring classic midwestern flavors back to Indianapolis’ dining public. They bonded over an affinity for the work of Marcia Adams, cookbook author from Fort Wayne, who chronicled midwestern cooking long before the term regional American food was in the mouths of the best chef’s in the US. His passion for midwestern ingredients has now brought him to Public Greens to focus in on seasonality and the interconnectivity of Indy’s farm network.

Hero: My Local Hero would have to be the late, great Marcia Adams. She saw value in Midwestern foods that had fallen out of fashion in the 90’s and unapologetically chronicled them in many books. She was also finding food artisans, like Collins Caviar, and promoting their work in a limited market. She was an impressive lady.

Favorite dish to eat: whatever you put between bread or in a roll.

Least favorite food to prepare: Typically, I try to avoid preparing foods that will come off as inauthentic. More often than not, when a white dude from Lafayette is preparing mole, ramen, or dim sum, the outcome just isn’t as special, heartfelt, or satisfying as when it comes out of someone’s heritage – deep in their bones.

Something always in the fridge or freezer: My house is typically well stocked in butter and lard.

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