Acqua chef RJ Cooper goals for ‘eating journey’ for seafood lovers

Ah, the cooking lifetime: Chef RJ Cooper will notify you that, for “only a little one from Detroit” it’s been a heckuva journey.

His profession has taken him from Anchorage Alaska to New York City. In 2004, he landed at Jeffrey Buben’s lauded restaurant Vidalia in Washington, D.C., the place he acquired good acclaim — a Mounting Chef award in 2006 and James Beard Most interesting Chef Mid-Atlantic in 2007.

Cooper made his Nashville debut 6 a few years in the past at Henley, the place he launched, amongst different points, The Rabbit Hole, his multi-coursed tasting data. In 2019, he launched his personal thought, Saint Stephen, in Germantown. A short time in the past he took greater than the impartial 2,000-sq.-foot place in the back of the cafe, beforehand occupied by Tailor, and opened Acqua.

Was coming to Nashville basically a operate-driven selection?

No. I’d visited Nashville varied conditions forward of transferring proper right here. I all the time severely favored it. There may be improbable energy proper right here. Feeling of group. I used to be able to depart D.C. and felt like this could be a terrific put to lift our twins.

Very first seem: RJ Cooper debuts Italian seafood cafe Acqua

Let’s chat about each of these of your eating institutions. How did you arrive on the technique for Saint Stephen and later, for Acqua?