All Posts In Chefs and Restaurants

The Chef’s Take: Roasted Pear Vichyssoise from Lincoln’s Jenn Louis

by in Chefs and Restaurants, Dining Out, November 26, 2014


“Food is most flavorful when coaxed with very little,” says Jenn Louis, the chef and co-owner of Portland, Oregon’s Lincoln and Sunshine Tavern, as well as Culinary Artistry, a full-service catering business. Louis loves to cook with the seasons and as simply as possible. Nearly everything in her restaurants is made by hand. Her pastas have earned her a reputation as something of an Italian nonna, and in March she’s bringing out a pasta cookbook, Pasta by Hand (Chronicle), focused on the under-loved category of Italian pasta: the dumpling (there’s a lot more going on there than just gnudi).

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The Chef’s Take: Max Snyder’s Yali Pear Salad at Le Marais

by in Chefs and Restaurants, Dining Out, November 19, 2014

Yali Pear Salad
At San Francisco’s Le Marais, the beautiful artisanal bistro and bakery in the Marina District, the crowds come for many reasons. Some arrive just past dawn for the best Kouign-Mann and croissants this side of the Atlantic Ocean. (It doesn’t hurt that pastry chef Emily Riddell uses locally-milled organic flours and European-style organic butter). Others come for lunch — a crusty griddled ham and cheddar with grainy mustard and cornichon, and a salad of roasted beets with pomegranate, fennel and burrata, or one composed of Yali pears and wild greens, walnut, celery root and bitter onion. Late afternoon it’s bakery time again — a cup of Stumptown coffee and a slice of banana pecan bread, and then back for dinner — maybe scallops with persimmon and Serrano ham, black bass en papillote with turnips sorrel and lemon verbena, or smoky confited chicken with chickpeas, raddichio and citrus. The place is always humming with happy people.

But truth be told, it’s more than just the food that keeps the crowds in que. Owner Patrick Ascaso, a former investment professional with a passion for food, and his wife Joanna Pulcini, a literary agent, have created the kind of restaurant you can’t quite tear yourself away from. The service is great, the place is charming, and the food is divine. You may never care to leave. “The idea was to create a European eatery that serves food all day long, with the scents of bread baking in the morning, and then the pastry in the afternoon, and the wood-grilling savory dishes at night,” said Ascaso. “With the wood interior, it is remarkable how the space changes from the warmth of a bakery to the elegant feel of a bistro at night.”

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The Chef’s Take: Andrew D’Ambrosi’s Kale Panzanella

by in Chefs and Restaurants, Dining Out, November 12, 2014

Kale Panzanella
If you’re talking about great seafood in Brooklyn, chances are you’re talking about the fish restaurant Bergen Hill, a snug outpost located in a quiet corner of Court Street in Carroll Gardens. The chef, Andrew D’Ambrosi, cooks out of a kitchen that seems to have been built for a doll, not a fully grown man. It’s about 3 feet by 5 feet and has no oven; it includes four induction burners, one sandwich press and a toy-sized electric oven. (Don’t complain about your kitchen!)

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Chatting with Prune’s Gabrielle Hamilton: Celebrating 15 Years and a New Cookbook

by in Chefs and Restaurants, Cookbooks, November 6, 2014

Prune Book Jacket
Writing a New York Times Best Seller is no easy task. Neither is keeping a New York City restaurant packed and popular for a decade and a half. But Gabrielle Hamilton has managed to do both. Her 2011 memoir, Blood, Bones & Butter, proved that she was as good a writer as she is a chef. Now she’s finally giving her fans the cookbook they’ve been clamoring for. And the release just so happens to coincide with Prune’s 15th anniversary as one of New York’s most-beloved restaurants.

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The Chef’s Take: One Girl Cookies’ Raspberry, Flax and Olive Oil Muffins

by in Chefs and Restaurants, November 5, 2014

Raspberry Flax Seed Muffins

One Girl Cookies is one of Brooklyn’s most-beloved bakeries. Gem-size butter cookies, cream-filled whoopie pies, swirl-topped cupcakes and frosted layer cakes make this shop, located on a tree-lined street in Cobble Hill, an oasis of sweetness. Since opening in 2005, husband-and-wife team Dave Crofton and Dawn Casale have created a neighborhood spot for life’s most delicious treats and most precious milestones. Open its glass-paned door and a bell jingles — friends meet, couples fall in love and toddlers take their first steps. The couple have opened a second, larger cafe in Dumbo, have written a cookbook and are planning a third cafe for Industry City in Sunset Park for early 2015.

Crofton, the baker, has created a breakfast menu that offers all sorts of wonderful ways to start your day right: a fruit, granola and yogurt bowl (both the granola and the yogurt are made in-house), as well as muffins, scones, and savory and sweet breakfast breads. While he is a baker, he’s also mindful of serving a breakfast menu that’s actually good for you. “I think about health a lot when I create breakfast recipes,” says Crofton. “You can easily include whole grains in most breakfast muffins, breads, and scones. It makes them heartier and more filing, which is an important way to start the day.”

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The Chef’s Take: Eric Korsh’s Free-Range Chicken for Two

by in Chefs and Restaurants, October 29, 2014

Free Range Chicken for Two

“I am not someone who just throws butter at things or sits around reducing heavy cream,” says Eric Korsh, Executive Chef of Danny Meyer’s rustic American restaurant, North End Grill. Korsh, who has helmed the kitchens of A-list spots like The Waverly Inn and Calliope, is all about good honest cooking. “This whole idea of healthy food, I think, is about cooking beautiful food — a nice vinaigrette, a lovely lean protein,” he said. “I think all good cooking is healthy cooking.”

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The Chef’s Take: Yotam Ottolenghi’s Honey-Roasted Carrots with Tahini

by in Chefs and Restaurants, Cookbooks, October 22, 2014

Plenty More
If you’ve cooked from Plenty, Israeli chef and London restaurateur Yotam Ottolenghi’s bestselling and award-winning cookbook, it’s probably dog-eared and food-stained from loving overuse. (Baked eggs with yogurt and greens, Brussels sprouts with tofu, and soba noodles with eggplant and mango, are personal faves.)

Now comes the hotly anticipated follow-up, Plenty More, in which Ottolenghi unapologetically celebrates the wonderful world of vegetables one cooking method at a time — braising, steaming, roasting, char-grilling and frying. In keeping with his signature inventive and vibrant style, Ottolenghi’s recipes in Plenty More feature rather exotic pops of flavor — yuzu in a dish of candy beets with lentils, sorrel and mustard in a bowl of fresh sweet peas, sweet labneh on a plate of warm baked rhubarb, and tahini on a sweet mess of honey-roasted carrots, featured below.

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The Chef’s Take: George Mendes’ Portuguese Chicken Soup

by in Chefs and Restaurants, Cookbooks, October 15, 2014

My Portugal Cookbook Cover
George Mendes, the chef of the restaurant Aldea, grew up feasting on his mother’s elaborate Portuguese meals. While he went on to cook for culinary icons such as David Bouley, Roger Verge, Alain Ducasse, and Martin Berasategui, he has always remained true to his culinary roots in Portugal. In 2009, he opened Aldea (the Portuguese word for village), as a culmination of his Iberian experiences and Portuguese heritage. There’s sea urchin toast with cauliflower puree, shiso and lime, a cucumber and wild strawberry salad with smoked sardines, fresh dill, and yogurt, and sea-salted cod with fennel puree and charred corn.
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Juice Across America: Nine Fresh Juices Worth a Detour

by in Chefs and Restaurants, October 11, 2014

Moon Juice
These days you can’t travel more than a few miles without running into a juice bar. They’re even popping up at airports across America. But not all juices are created equal. Food Network squeezes out the competition with the nation’s freshest ingenious health-boosting concoctions.
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The Chef’s Take: Vegetarian Spring Rolls from Charles Phan

by in Chefs and Restaurants, October 8, 2014

Veg Spring Rolls
In 1995, Charles Phan opened The Slanted Door in San Francisco’s Mission District and introduced the dining public to the relatively unexplored cuisine of his native Vietnam. The restaurant became an overnight sensation. Since then, Phan has moved his restaurant to the historic Ferry Building, earned a James Beard Foundation Best Chef of California Award, and been inducted to the James Beard Foundation’s list of “Who’s Who of Food in America.” Read more

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