Craig Squires is the chef at Wellington’s Marketplace (124 N. Main St., Concord, 715-1191, wellingtonsmarketplace.com
). Growing up, Squires learned from his grandmother and mother in the kitchen, and his first job was in a restaurant busing tables, doing the dishes and, at age 15, working as a prep cook on the line. Squires attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. He worked in the Italian pavilion at Alfredo’s at Epcot and spent a lot of time traveling and working in kitchens in Florida and New Orleans. Squires enjoys small plates, which is what he’s excited to be doing at Wellington’s Marketplace. His culinary style is inspired by an ethnic background (with his grandmother’s recipes of pita bread, stuffed grape leaves and baba ganoush as inspiration), but when he’s at home, it’s more inspired by comfort food, he said.
What is your must-have kitchen item?
The first thing I was thinking of, but it was just too standard, was a good knife that’s the extension of your hand. But it’s not a tool or an ingredient, and I’m not sure if it belongs here, but when I get in the kitchen … I like good music and a glass of wine. I’d rather use that. Everyone has a knife or a favorite pot.
What would you choose for your last meal?
Stone crab claws from Florida. You never see them here. That’s from being down there for eight years, in the Keys. They are delicious.
Favorite restaurant besides your own?
I really like Hooked in Manchester, because I’m pretty passionate about seafood. My favorite type of food would be seafood, so I like Hooked. Nice open kitchen, olive bar, it’s comfortable ― I don’t like stuffy places.
What celebrity would you like to see eating at your restaurant?
I’ve been a Green Bay Packers fan since I was 6 years old. So I would have to say it would be [quarterback] Aaron Rodgers. … Not a good chance of that happening, unless he comes to play the Patriots.
What is the biggest food trend in New Hampshire right now?
Two things: It’s the farm-to-table, local organic products. ... And probably smaller portions like the tapas or small plates.
What is your favorite meal to cook at home?
I have a smoker; it’s a very inexpensive smoker. I could do a lot with that $35 tool. Smoked chicken, smoked ribs. So maybe the smoked dishes.
What is your favorite dish on your restaurant’s menu?
My favorite thing to make here is soups because it’s endless variations. I enjoy making soups. The Korean burrito is my favorite thing that is on the menu currently. It’s got a good mixture of spice from the sriracha, and crunch.
— Emelia Attridge