Chef Zack Mills took his professional training in The French Culinary Institute. Right after graduating, he began working in various kitchens including Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. A native of Maryland, he developed a deep understanding of the region’s cuisine, even promoting the area’s top farms and local food purveyors.
He joined the Mina Group in 2012 as executive sous chef. Mills then became executive chef for Wit & Wisdom, where he played an important part in revamping the restaurant’s menu with his ingenious twist on traditional tavern food.
What is cooking for this season meant for Chef Zack? “Winter cooking is all about comfort food,” said Zack Mills, Executive Chef at Wit & Wisdom. “Filling your home with the smells of something cooking for a few hours or all day– that’s a comfortable, cozy feeling that brings warmth and happiness to any cold winter day.”
Chef Zack Mills shares his recipe for “Coffee Braised Pork Belly.” This dish best reflects the season because, “Combining flavors of the season like thyme, coriander and brewed coffee from LAMILL Café, Wit & Wisdom’s Coffee Braised Pork Belly gets the winter season started right! The rich, satisfying dish is sure to please at your next family get together and pairs beautifully with soft poached eggs, stewed peppers and slices of fresh toasted baguette.”
Coffee Braised Pork Belly
2 pounds Pork belly, excess fat removed
1 tablespoon Canola oil
1 whole Baguette
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
2 quarts Brewed coffee
2 pieces Star anise
4 sprigs Thyme
8 pieces Whole coriander seeds
1 piece Bay leaf
1. Preheat your oven to 300F. Season both sides of the belly with generous amounts of salt and pepper.
2. Heat a large, heavy sauté pan, over medium heat. Sear both sides of the pork belly until lightly caramelized, and then place it in a roasting pan.
3. Combine all the ingredients for the braising liquid in a large sauce pan, bring it to a simmer, and carefully pour it over the belly. Cover the roasting pan with the aluminum foil and bake at 300F for 3 hours.
4. After the belly has finished cooking, strain the braising liquid. Pour 1 cup of the strained liquid into a medium sauce pot, and reduce it until it coats the back of the spoon. Glaze the belly with the reduced liquid.
5. Serve the pork belly with slices of toasted baguette and soft poached eggs.
Michael Mina’s Wit & Wisdom is located at 200 International Dr, Baltimore, Maryland 21202
Hours of Operation
Monday – Friday: 7:00am – 10:30am
Saturday – Sunday: 7:00am – 1:00pm
Saturday – Sunday: 9:00am – 1:00pm
Monday – Sunday: 11:30am – 2:30pm
Sunday – Thursday: 6:00pm – 10:00pm
Friday – Saturday: 5:30pm – 10:30pm
Sunday – Wednesday: 11:30am – 12:00am
Thursday: 11:30a – 1:00am
Friday – Saturday: 11:30am – 2:00am
Sunday – Thursday: 11:30am – 10:30pm
Friday – Saturday 11:30am – 11:30pm