Chez Le Commis is the product of Tom Madrecki, an enterprising 25-year-old self-taught chef, whose only kitchen experience is a series of brief stages at Noma in Copenhagen and Le Chateaubriand. Despite the fact that his cooking resume is brief and that he holds down a day job in a Washington DC corporate lobbying office, his fundamentals are sound and his cuisine surprising. In two years, the Chez Le Commis dinners have become perhaps DC's most difficult reservation, selling out in seconds. The six courses are supremely tied to the market that day -- there is an essential temporality and spontaneity to Madrecki's cooking, which reflects itself in minimalist dishes featuring only a handful of well-cooked components. But still, despite the relative lack of component complexity, they are all the more complex because of it, as less becomes more. The combinations are eclectic, like onion with coconut, or lamb with roses and pomegranate. His wines are biodynamic/natural, and feature prominently throughout the dinners, both as pairings and as inspiration for many of the dishes themselves. Gathered around a communal table, Madrecki's guests put their trust in him to produce a meal on par with the best restaurants in the city, but at far less cost. He's earned accolades in Washingtonian Magazine, the Washington Post, Edible DC, Flavor Magazine, First We Feast, Refinery 29 and many more publications, and has also been invited to cook at the City Grit culinary salon in New York City.
More than anything, though, the experience of Chez Le Commis is one of community -- a shared enjoyment that is rare in restaurants. As Madrecki puts it, he "wants people to smile -- to lean back, content with life, in the present, not looking back or forward." It's this hyper-awareness of creating an experience that sets Chez apart, and it also helps to explain why Madrecki is so successful in creating that desired outcome. People have fun when they come to dinner, and not just the kind of fun inherent to trying a new restaurant, but an unmitigated, transparent fun that goes further. As you'll see in the video.