Tag: chefs

Q&A with Chef Aaron Adams of Farm Spirit

by in Chefs and Restaurants, July 16, 2017

Aaron Adams knows a thing or two about making vegan food taste delicious. That was certainly my conclusion after eating at Farm Spirit, his dinner club style restaurant located in Portland, Oregon. At a cozy, 14-seat counter, he and his chefs prepare and serve a series of small dishes, featuring produce, grains, and nuts from local farms — none of which are more than 105 miles from the restaurant. By the end of the meal — up to 13 courses in all — you might imagine you’d have to roll home. Not so. Aaron’s light touch leaves you feeling satisfied, not over-stuffed. What’s more, there’s a lovely smug feeling that comes with consuming what might just have been one of the healthiest meals of your life. Recently, I had the chance to ask him about what inspires his ultra-healthy cooking style, and how home cooks might up their vegan game. Read more

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

Chefs Share Their Strategies for Staying Healthy

by in Healthy Tips, March 10, 2017

Long, laborious hours over a stove and tasting dishes on the fly don’t exactly breed nourishment, but chefs know that sticking to a few easy healthy food habits can punctuate a demanding, exhausting industry with much-needed moments of calm and clarity.

Opening a restaurant (a grueling, all-consuming affair) leaves little time for sleep, yet alone sport. But a rigorous schedule didn’t deter Derek Stevens, who just unveiled Union Standard in Pittsburgh, from keeping to his ultramarathon training and Brazilian jiu-jitsu sessions. The disciplined chef/owner also took care to whip up healing ginger-turmeric tea amid round-the-clock planning and construction. “Turmeric root is an obsession of mine,” he says. “It is both an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory, which helps with any injuries I may have.”

Matt Jennings, chef/owner of Townsman in Boston, shed over 100 pounds after surgery and profound lifestyle transformations. Like Stevens, his non-alcoholic tipple of choice right now stars ginger, paired with organic apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest and maple syrup. “I steep all the ingredients together with a bay leaf and drink it hot, or chilled over crushed ice. The kick in the vinegar and ginger is reminiscent of a cocktail, yet the health properties of all the ingredients are amazing,” he explains. Avid swimmer Ruth Gresser, chef/owner of Pizzeria Paradiso in Washington, D.C. and Alexandria, VA, relishes turmeric as well, but when mixed with garlic and cayenne in warm lemon water. Just as her father does, she begins her day with this pungent elixir. “He has been doing this for years, and his mother lived to be 100,” she says.  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

The Chef’s Take: Ivy Stark’s Salmon a la Plancha

by in Dining Out, July 5, 2015

When dining out at Dos Caminos, the upbeat Mexican restaurant with outposts in New York, Atlantic City and Fort Lauderdale, chances are the table is graced with warm tortilla chips, chorizo fundido and asada tacos. The feast, however, need not be a gluttonous one. Consider executive chef and marathon runner Ivy Stark’s Salmon a la Plancha, one of the restaurant’s dishes that was featured as a lighter option in honor of National Nutrition Month in March but is now a permanent menu staple. The salmon is accompanied by lemon-herb quinoa and oven-roasted tomato-black olive salsa spiked with pickled jalapenos.

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Healthy Summer Entertaining Tips from Celebrity Caterer Peter Callahan (Plus Mini Caprese Tea Sandwiches)

by in Healthy Recipes, July 2, 2015

Backyard barbecues and outdoor entertaining are in full swing just in time for Fourth of July celebrations. Hot dogs, hamburgers, and bowls of chips and dips are an easy fix for a summer fest, but there are plenty of easy ways to keep things wholesome and healthy when entertaining in the great outdoors. Read more

The Chef’s Take: Sweet Potato Tacos at A.W.O.L.

by in Dining Out, June 1, 2015

Typically, the sight of sweet potatoes on the dinner table leaves us dreaming of lavish Thanksgiving Day feasts. But at A.W.O.L. (that stands for All Walks of Life) Eatery, a funky restaurant celebrating farm-fresh ingredients in New York’s Williamsburg neighborhood, spicy sweet potato tacos — sans the company of cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes — may make an appearance on the daily-changing menu amid even the sultriest of temperatures. Read more

The Chef’s Take: Slow-Cooked Salmon with Green Romesco from Morimoto

by in Dining Out, April 27, 2015

While many diners make a reservation at Morimoto New York solely for Masaharu Morimoto’s exquisite sushi, it would behoove them to also spring for one of his warm Western-inspired creations. At this minimalist Japanese restaurant in the Meatpacking District — one of several in Iron Chef Morimoto’s expansive culinary empire — a slab of king salmon accompanied by splashes of piquant green romesco sauce, charred lily bulbs, green almonds and shiso is a light and vibrant reflection of the season. “This dish is not found in a typical Japanese restaurant because it doesn’t use any soy sauce. The green romesco has a spicy kick, which pairs nicely with the tender, slow-cooked salmon,” Morimoto explains. Read more

The Chef’s Take: Dave Pasternack’s Roasted Funghi with Herbed Goat Cheese at Barchetta

by in Dining Out, April 10, 2015

Dave Pasternack must have seawater in his veins. When he’s not facing the stove, he’s on the open water, fishing rod in hand, mining the ocean for its finest creatures. His passion as a fisherman and a chef earned him the title “the fish whisperer” from Frank Bruni.

It’s no surprise that at his newest restaurant, Barchetta — Italian for “little boat” — seafood is once again hoisted to center stage. It’s here that freshness reigns, whether it’s a just-caught halibut from the Pacific, flown in a few hours before dinner, or a local striped bass caught by Pasternack himself. Read more