At il Buco, the beloved Italian restaurant in New York City’s East Village, Chef Joel Hough spans the Mediterranean for inspiration. “I like to play around with Spanish and Moorish influences and the flavors of Southern Italy,” he says. This means dishes like quail with pickled dried fruit and pomegranate; spaghetti with olive oil-poached swordfish, Calabrian chiles, capers and parsley; and Bella Bella Farms baby chicken with roasted baby beets, blood orange and mustard greens.
Chef Jeremy Lieb is one of those guys who manage to do it all. He’s the corporate chef of the Cincinnati-based Boca restaurant group, which also includes Boca, Sotto, and two Nada locations (one in Cincinnati and one in Columbus). He not only cooks, but also develops the menus and trains the staff. He’s obsessed with CrossFit and works out regularly with his wife and two young kids to keep the whole family in shape. Lieb also encourages his staff to stay healthy, promoting good eating, exercise and lots of sleep. “You have to do one thing every day that’s just for you that makes you happy,” he says. Now, that’s the kind of boss we’d all love to have.
The New York City dining scene is chock-full of options. But until King Bee opened, Acadian cuisine was not one of them. Now it’s here. Acadian food, you ask? Well, it’s inspired by the culinary evolution from the Acadian emigration to Louisiana. Think New Orleans country cooking meets the Pacific Northwest. It comes to the East Village in the form of a cozy little nest, decorated like a vintage cottage tucked into the mountains. A fire might as well be blazing on a hearth. Read more
The Chef’s Take: Jimmy Bradley’s Roasted Broccoli with Almonds, Parmesan and Red Onion at The Red Catby Andrea Strong in Chefs and Restaurants, Dining Out, February 4, 2015
If you’ve been around the food circles in New York City, the name Jimmy Bradley is a familiar one. He’s a rock star. Bradley opened his iconic restaurant The Red Cat in 1999, and since then has been serving New Yorkers a straightforward, market-driven menu that aims to please. No foams, no dusts, no deconstructed dishes or immersion circulators. Just good, local, seasonal American food with a nudge from the Mediterranean. It’s a formula that has been going strong for 15 years.
It’s the dead of winter in most of the country, and a salad of sweet, juicy oranges is like sitting in the warmth of the summer sun. Gerard Craft, the five-time James Beard-nominated Best Chef: Midwest, is serving a beautiful Orange Salad tossed with picholine olives, tarragon leaves, red onion and extra virgin olive oil at Pastaria, one of his four St. Louis restaurants (others are Niche, Brasserie by Niche and Taste by Niche).
Take a glance around the airy dining room at Natural Epicurean — the health-minded restaurant at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo. — and you may be surprised to find diners perusing tablets, not menus. The tablets are stocked with in-depth nutritional information, allergy alerts and gluten-free ratings for the menu developed by Sous Chef David Patterson with guidance from the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Health and Wellness Center. “A growing segment of diners are in tune with nutrition and diet, and they are reaching for our tablets, because they are looking to eat well, but they may have dietary restrictions,” said Patterson.
When Chef Brad Farmerie opened Public in New York City’s hip Nolita neighborhood in 2003, fresh from a stint at London’s Providores, he was already taking chances with dishes like grilled kangaroo on a coriander falafel with lemon tahini sauce and green pepper relish. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. The dish is like sunshine on a cold, gray day. It became a signature and it is a perfect example of his gift — marrying unorthodox ingredients with layers of contrasting textures and a riot of flavors. It put him on the map as a serious player among New York City’s culinary consigliere.
There was a time when carrot skins, radish greens and beet tops used to go straight from the cutting board to the trash bin. Then came the compost movement and all those vegetable scraps were destined for a future as fantastic fertilizer. Now comes chef Chris Barnett of Los Angeles’ Stir Market — a boutique California take on the classic European food-hall experience — who’s decided that one chef’s trash is indeed another’s treasure. Rather than toss his vegetable scraps in the garbage or compost bin, he uses them on his menu — think nose-to-tail cooking but with a carrot standing in for a pig.
If you’ve ever thought, “How can I get my kids to eat more vegetables?” you might want to read on. Chef Erin Smith of Main Kitchen, a beautiful new restaurant in the JW Marriott Houston Downtown, turns fresh carrots into fluffy pancakes and serves them in a short stack for breakfast with maple syrup. Other than the pancakes’ slight orange hue, you’d never know carrots were the main ingredient. Smith uses carrots from local farms like Black Hill Ranch and Sustainable Harvesters, and makes her pancakes gluten-free by using chickpea flour from a local gristmill.
At Boqueria, one of New York City’s most-popular Spanish tapas joints, Chef Marc Vidal goes a long way to transport diners to Barcelona’s bustling and beautiful Boqueria market. He serves a menu of Spanish classics like patatas bravas, albondigas, croquetas and gambas alla ajillo. But he also loves to cook with the seasons. Every Friday morning, Vidal grabs a cup of coffee and heads to the Union Square Greenmarket where he and his team of chefs meet up to peruse the stalls for ingredients and brainstorm for the restaurant’s ever-changing Market Menu. “We just walk around and see what’s going on,” says Vidal, whose parents were restaurateurs in Barcelona. “The market menu is the fun part for us. It’s our chance to be creative and work with the seasons.”