All Posts In Chefs and Restaurants

Trend Alert: the Urban Farm-to-Table Movement

by in Chefs and Restaurants, Food News & Trends, June 20, 2017
Vertical aeroponic gardening at Tower Gardens.

 

Farms aren’t just in the country anymore. Rooftop gardens supply dozens of Chicago restaurants with just-picked veggies. In the lobby of Vin de Set restaurant in St. Louis, diners are greeted by tall white towers growing kale for salads that night. At New York’s Bell Book & Candle, the menu is set by herbs like chervil, Opal basil and sage, all grown several stories above the dining room. Today, chefs and consumers are tasting veggies picked mere hours beforehand from restaurant rooftops, and from the abandoned parking lot turned urban farm next door.

 

Aeroponic Farming

Jeff Seibel’s official title is Farm Manager, but his unofficial title is “Urban Farmer” in St. Louis. He oversees a commercial greenhouse that supplies all of the Bibb lettuce, Romaine, kale, arugula, kohlrabi, fennel, mustard and other greens for five Hamilton Hospitality restaurants. From March to December, restaurant owners Paul and Wendy Hamilton do not order a single green leaf for their growing restaurants. “We’ve even switched up our menus to add more greens to our dishes, including green-topped pizzas, braised greens pastas and creative salads. It’s a good dilemma, to have so much just-picked produce,” said Wendy. Read more

Building a Better Burger with Chefs Gabi & Greg Denton

by in Chefs and Restaurants, May 29, 2017
Chefs Gabi Quiñónez Denton and Greg Denton at the James Beard Foundation’s Blended Burger Project kickoff event at the James Beard House

 

What’s the secret to building a better burger? If you ask the James Beard Foundation and Chefs Greg Denton and Gabi Quiñónez Denton, it’s using less meat.

The Dentons — the husband and wife chef team behind Ox and Superbite in Portland, Oregon, and recent winners of the James Beard award for Best Chef Northwest — teamed with the JBF to kick off the 2017 Blended Burger Project. The eco-minded movement challenges chefs all over the country to blend finely chopped mushrooms into the meat in their burger mix to create a more nutritious and sustainable burger.

Starting today through July 31st, chefs across the country will be serving up their own versions of a blended burger. (Click here to find one near you: hundreds of chefs from 40-some states are participating — from old-school diners to fine-dining restaurants alike. Try as many as you can this summer, then vote for your favorite!) The rules are simple: Chefs can use any type of meat and mushrooms they want, but the patties must contain 25 to 50 percent ‘shrooms. Read more

What Vegetarian Dietitians Eat at Fast-Food Restaurants  

by in Chefs and Restaurants, Food & Nutrition Experts, May 28, 2017

As a dietitian and longtime vegetarian, I find that people are often surprised to hear that I do sometimes eat fast food. But these days, there are some tasty, balanced vegetarian options at restaurants like Subway, Chipotle, and Panera. Here are some of my healthy favorites, and picks from fellow vegetarian and vegan dietitians.

 

Subway: Veggie Delite Salad + Egg Patty

This is my off-the-menu go-to: I top a Veggie Delite Salad with an egg patty. I request a base of spinach and add a ton of veggies: tomatoes, green bell peppers, red onion, cucumber, banana peppers, and jalapenos. I top the salad with sprinkling of shredded cheese, as well as dried oregano and red wine vinegar. I love that Subway sells apple slices, so I’ll usually grab a baggie of those, as well. Read more

Order This, Not That: Wendy’s

by in Chefs and Restaurants, January 19, 2017

Out of all the fast food restaurants in the country, Wendy’s was recently rated the top fast food joint in a poll by Ranker. With many folks frequenting this popular restaurant, be prepared with these better-for-you choices. Read more

The Chefs’ Take: Parsnips

by in Chefs and Restaurants, January 10, 2017

A thick, taupe-hued version of the ubiquitous, snack-friendly carrot, the parsnip is an unsung root vegetable seldom eaten raw. Then winter arrives, and its nutty profile deservedly gets the spotlight in a barrage of hearty soups and braises. But, there are other clever ways to celebrate the parsnip’s complexity this season.

Five nights a week, chef/owner Nicolas Delaroque of Nico in San Francisco serves a five-course tasting menu. Inevitably, parsnips make a cameo this time of the year. “I enjoy their versatility. We can use them in so many types of cooking,” he explains. That’s why he embraces the vegetable’s floral notes and incorporates them into a dessert. One splurge-worthy scoop of brown butter ice cream is dressed with fried parsnip chips and wood sorrel. “Parsnips have a sweet disposition, and with the cozy, warm feel of maple and bourbon, it just makes sense on a cold day.” Read more

The Chef’s Take: Chestnuts

by in Chefs and Restaurants, December 11, 2016

Nat King Cole first started crooning about chestnuts roasting on an open fire in the 1940s, and the nostalgic scent of these plump, shiny beauties wafting from street corners remains a comforting symbol amid the frenetic swirl of holiday shopping and shindigs December usually promises.

Simply baking the chestnuts (don’t forget to score each one and give them a good soak before opening that oven door) is a surefire way to please guests, as is folding them into stuffing or using them to dot a chocolate cake. But chestnuts are rather versatile, which means chefs around the country are also using chestnuts to lend a festive touch to their winter dishes.

For Greg Guevin, chef at Russell House Tavern in Cambridge, Massachusetts, it was boredom of “the grilled vegetable platter ubiquitous to restaurants, the generic default option that gets no love” that led to him reach for chestnuts. His imaginative lasagna (pictured above) shuns pasta noodles for sheets of shaved potato that are layered with a blend of roasted chestnuts and root vegetables like carrots and parsnips. “The sweetness of the chestnuts makes the dish,” he says. Guevin amplifies it with a deep cremini mushroom-garlic-thyme jus deglazed with red wine “that helps keep the lasagna light,” he says. He then sparingly covers the “pasta” with a pecorino Mornay sauce, essentially a cheesy bechamel. Read more

11 Questions With Eddie Jackson

by in Chefs and Restaurants, Fitness, November 3, 2016

There’s a lot to know about Eddie Jackson. Not only did this Texas-born chef win season 11 of The Next Food Network Star, but he’s also a personal trainer, food truck owner…and he had an impressive career in the NFL. Eddie’s passions are fitness and good food, and he knows the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive — the healthy recipes in his playbook taste absolutely delicious. In fact in Eddie’s world, there is no need for a “cheat” day, because his good-for-you food is packed with flavor and doesn’t leave you feeling deprived. To learn more about our favorite fit “Jack of all trades,” we quizzed Eddie as part of our friends at the Partnership for a Healthier America’s “11 Questions” series.

1. If you were stranded on a deserted island, and only one vegetable grew on that island, what vegetable would you want it to be?
One? That’s so hard! But I’d have to say collard greens. They’re sturdy, versatile and so good for you. I use them in soups and sautes, and as sandwich wraps.

2. What is your healthiest habit?
I do some form of exercise every morning as soon as I wake up, whether that’s push-ups or hitting the gym. It’s so important to get your body moving within an hour of getting out of bed.

3. What is your go-to nutritious breakfast?
Oatmeal topped with roasted sweet potatoes. Read more

A Michelin-Starred Veggie Stock

by in Chefs and Restaurants, Healthy Recipes, Vegan, October 30, 2016

The truth is that lots of the world’s top Michelin-starred chefs turn up their noses at the idea of cooking for vegetarians. “Some chefs don’t see the fun in working with vegetables. But I really enjoy the challenge of creating a vegetarian dish, especially when it wins over meat lovers,” says Heiko Nieder, the head chef at The Restaurant in Zurich’s Dolder Grand Hotel, and the founder of its annual Epicure Food Festival for fellow Michelin-starred chefs (over the course of his career, he’s been awarded four stars). A fan of getting creative with veggies, he also designed an entire vegetarian tasting menu at The Restaurant, something that is extremely rare for ultra-fine dining.

One of Chef Nieder’s favorite healthy, vegetarian options on the menu is a “high-end-version of your grandmother’s vegetable soup.” To kick up the flavor without adding any fat, he uses herbs — parsley, bay leaves and thyme — and two types of mushrooms, his favorite veggie to cook with. “They make vegetable stock taste special and give it an unbelievable depth,” he says. Here, he topped the ultra-flavorful broth with tomato, basil, celery and parsley. “It’s not necessary, but it makes for a beautiful presentation and adds to your vegetable intake,” says Chef Nieder.

Make it all fall and winter, and prepare to win over vegetarians and meat eaters alike. Read more

Eddie Jackson’s Easy Summer Party Plan

by in Chefs and Restaurants, Grilling, May 30, 2016

Manning the grill at a summer party is a tough job: Flipping a bunch of burgers, shuffling space for veggies and (of course) running back to the kitchen because you forgot cheese can eat into your time with guests. To avoid this scenario, we suggest you take a page from Eddie Jackson’s grilling “playbook.” As a Food Network Star winner (not to mention former NFL player, food truck owner and personal trainer), Eddie aims to create recipes that are healthy and delicious — but he knows that ease is a key ingredient, too.

And Eddie’s grilling menu really is super-savvy. He chose a crowd-pleasing flank steak that can feed the whole party, roasted potatoes that don’t require much attention while they cook and a simple salad to round out the meal. Watch the entire thing come together in the video above, and you’ll instantly feel prepared to entertain friends all season long.

Of course, Eddie’s armed with “playbooks” for many other occasions, too — check out his healthy habits plan and game-day party menu for even more inspiration.

The Chef’s Take: Duo of Tabbouleh from Travis Swikard at Boulud Sud

by in Chefs and Restaurants, Dining Out, March 4, 2015


Tabbouleh — the classic Middle Eastern cracked wheat bulgur salad with lemon and parsley — has gotten a brilliant makeover at Boulud Sud, Daniel Boulud’s elegant Upper West Side restaurant, featuring the lush flavors of the Mediterranean. Chef Travis Swikard’s duo of tabbouleh features a riot of flavors that includes mint, cilantro, jalapeno and za’atar, as well as dried barberries, figs, apricots, walnuts and pomegranate seeds. To accommodate gluten-free diners, Chef Swikard doesn’t use the classic bulgur in his recipe; instead he pulses blanched cauliflower until it’s the texture of couscous and uses that as the tabbouleh’s base. “We have a lot of gluten-free diners here, and I wanted to do something fresh with lots of textures,” he said.

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