Since Funktion Spirits & Spoonfuls (931 Elm St., Manchester, 782-5365, find them on Facebook) opened in early September, executive chef and general manager Tracey Couture-Fitts has divided her days between opening and prepping the kitchen and working with the front-of-the-house staff while interacting with guests. Encouraged by the feedback from diners who love Funktion’s unique menu of buffalo tofu, ahi crisps and pulled pork small plates, she’s happy that the goal of providing a cool atmosphere with a fun vibe has appealed to a diverse crowd in downtown Manchester.
What is your must-have kitchen item?
For me personally, obviously my chef’s knife. One of the first things I was taught in culinary school … was learn how to do everything with an 8-inch chef’s knife and then get into your fancy tools and everything else that you need. ... Once you have those skills, then you can move on. That’s how I was taught, very old-school. But as far as for Funktion and for the restaurant, it’s my team.
What would you choose for your last meal?
My mother, who’s passed away now, was an amazing baker, and she used to always make this blueberry crumble, which I’ve tried for years to replicate and I never could. She used to make it every Christmas morning and it was just this thing that she loved to do, and that would definitely be my last meal — a nice big pan of that.
Favorite restaurant besides your own?
Around Manchester I would have to say Cotton. I love what Jeffrey Paige is doing over there. I think we have very similar … takes on food so I love everything he does. And then I also love Hermanos up in Concord because they do a lot of vegan. They have the non-dairy cheeses, so I love their focus on that end of things too.
What celebrity would you like to see eating at your restaurant?
Who would I love to see walk in the door and sit down? Lenny Kravitz. I love him and I’ve loved him for 25 years. To see somebody cool like that come in and enjoy the food, that would be pretty fun.
What is the biggest food trend in New Hampshire right now?
You know, we’ve done the whole farm-to-table thing for years now, or more appropriately labelled locally sourced, which I think is more what people are doing. ... I would love to see more restaurants care about what’s going into the products they’re buying, like clean food, naturally produced food. I think chefs and restaurants are becoming more conscious of that. I just hear more people talking about it. And I think that comes on the heels of the farm-to-table or the locally sourced [movement] and I think those are the first big steps and I think we’re getting closer and closer.
What is your favorite meal to cook at home?
I love simple dishes, and that’s kind of how I cook. ... I just [make] some nice pasta, garlic, butter, a nice Parmesan cheese, some nice cracked pepper so you get that buttery, cheesy, peppery [dish]. … I have that after work [with] a glass of wine and that’s all I need.
What is your favorite dish on your restaurant’s menu?
The ahi, I think, is really, really nice. My sous chef and I at our last place had developed that plate together as a special and ... it became such a hit, so we put it on the menu there and then we ... put it here and it’s one of our favorites. It’s just really fun.
— Allie Ginwala