Tag: chefs

Chef Dan Barber on Why “Whole-Farm Eating” Is the New “Farm-to-Table”

by in Chefs and Restaurants, June 14, 2014

the third plate
You may not be eating a lot of mustard greens, kidney beans and millet these days, but if Dan Barber has his way, you will be very soon.

Barber is the award-winning chef of Blue Hill, an elegant respite for sustainable cuisine in New York City’s West Village, and Blue Hill Stone Barns, a locavore’s paradise located within the nonprofit farm Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture in Tarrytown, NY. Since his early days as a cook, he’s been a pioneering advocate for the farm-to-table movement. But in his revolutionary new book, The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food, Barber reexamines the farm-to-table movement, and comes away from it a new man, one championing the whole farm, not just what’s most prized for the table.

“For all its successes, farm-to-table has not, in any fundamental way, reworked the economic and political forces that dictate how our food is grown and raised,” wrote Barber in a recent Op-Ed in the New York Times. “Big Food is getting bigger, not smaller. In the last five years, we’ve lost nearly 100,000 farms (mostly midsize ones). Today, 1.1 percent of farms in the United States account for nearly 45 percent of farm revenues.”

His solution? Eat more cowpea. Seriously. Instead of cherry-picking crops like tomatoes, strawberries, asparagus and other blockbusters that deplete soil of their most crucial nutrients, Barber proposes we start supporting more humble offerings like buckwheat, cowpea, barley, and mustard greens — which are often used by farmers to enrich the soil in rotation with those A-list vegetables.

The “first plate,” argues Barber, was a classic meal centered on meat with a few vegetables. That gave way to the “second plate,” a new ideal of organic grass-fed meats and local vegetables. Now, he proposes a “third plate”— a new way of eating that’s rooted in cooking with and celebrating the whole farm: vegetables, grains and a smidge of protein. It’s a juicy new holistic approach to food and farming that’s bound to put Barber in the company of legendary food policy gurus like Alice Waters, Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser.

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The Chef’s Take: Corn, Summer Squash and Avocado Salad from Suzanne Goin

by in Chefs and Restaurants, June 4, 2014

corn salad

“Being a chef is strange,” says Suzanne Goin. “Throughout service, I taste a lot of food to make sure it tastes and looks right. So, I’m not really eating for pleasure most of the time. I’m eating what I need to for my job.”

Though Goin, who co-owns six Los Angeles eateries (Lucques and A.O.C. among them) and a wholesale bakery, rarely gets to eat strictly as her heart desires, sampling this sweet corn, summer squash, sliced avocado and watercress salad never feels like an occupational hazard. “I create salads that I want to eat all the time,” Goin says.

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The Chef’s Take: Swordfish Kebabs from Jimmy Bradley

by in Chefs and Restaurants, May 21, 2014

swordfish kebabs
With Memorial Day around the corner and grill season afoot, these rosemary-skewered swordfish kebabs are just the ticket. Not only are they light and richly flavored, but they also come together in a snap.

Don’t let the unfussy preparation, which involves nothing more complicated than making a citrus-herb marinade, fool you into thinking the fish dish stints on taste. The resulting flavors are nuanced and sophisticated. Rosemary branches that pierce the fish perfume the kebabs, and the swordfish, with texture reminiscent of a steak, stands up to the herb’s signature aroma. Once the smoke from the grill works its way into the mix, the result is bewitching.

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The Chef’s Take: Vegetarian Meatballs from Daniel Holzman

by in Chefs and Restaurants, May 14, 2014

veggie balls

“Vegetarians want the vegetarian option not to feel like an afterthought,” says Daniel Holzman. “And so the question was how can we celebrate vegetables and make something really delicious.” This question was particularly perplexing to chef Holzman, who, in 2010, along with his partner Michael Chernow, opened a restaurant called The Meatball Shop on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The plan, as you can imagine, was to specialize in meatballs. “We wanted to include a vegetarian meatball to be as inclusive as possible,” Holzman explains.

Their solution to the vegetarian meatball conundrum came in the form of this recipe, a green lentil meatball, which Holzman is partial to serving with a basil-spinach pesto, one of five sauces guests can choose from at each of the Meatball Shop locations (a sixth shop is opening this summer on New York City’s Upper West Side).

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The Chef’s Take: Vegetable Soup with Pesto from Jody Williams

by in Chefs and Restaurants, May 7, 2014

soup

At both branches of Buvette, Jody Williams’s restaurants in New York City and Paris, sumptuous small plates are served throughout the day from 8 a.m. until 2 a.m. in cramped spaces that ooze French-country charm. In the morning, croissants and steamed eggs are on the menu, and at night, pâtés and French-leaning tapas appear.

Whatever the time of day, Williams has considered how to make every morsel served feel extra-special. “We cook with a certain sense of purity and emphasize whole, natural foods. I put a lot of thought into what’s coming into my restaurant and what’s going into my pots and pans,” she explains. “Certainly soupe au pistou,” says Williams of the classic vegetable soup with pesto, “is flush with health and nutrients.”

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The Chef’s Take: Chicken Mole Verde from Tamer Hamawi

by in Chefs and Restaurants, April 30, 2014

chicken mole

“It’s called mole verde oaxaqueno, and we love it because it’s probably the lightest, simplest and freshest of moles,” says Tamer Hamawi, owner of Gran Eléctrica, in Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood.

In this recipe, Hamawi’s beloved mole cooks down with crisped chicken legs and a scattering of plump white beans. This particular mole hails from Oaxaca, in Southwestern Mexico, and possesses all the depth that darker mole poblano is known for, but, thankfully, fewer calories. “Mole poblano is what people generally associate with mole and it is typically thickened by nuts, seeds and raw bread. It’s also seasoned with lot of spices and chocolate,”  Hamawi says. “This one is about fresh.”

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The Healthy Eats Q & A: Masaharu Morimoto

by in Chefs and Restaurants, April 28, 2014

masaharu morimoto
Japanese-born Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto planned on becoming a baseball player. But luckily — at least  for the food world — a shoulder injury sidelined those plans and he switched careers. Today, he oversees a family of restaurants around the world, including New York City’s Morimoto. While true to his Japanese roots, Morimoto’s cooking fuses the best of both Eastern and Western gastronomy, with results that are as delicious as they are innovative. Here, he answers the Healthy Eats Q & A.

What health food trend would you like to see go away?
Anything that is too extreme. For example, low-carb versus no-carb. If you go for a no-carb diet, you cannot eat even healthy dishes like sushi. So, if you eat everything in moderation, including carbs, you can enjoy your favorite dishes without overdoing it.

Chia seeds: Love them or leave them?
I have not tried Chia seeds before, so I don’t know if I love them or want to leave them!

What shortcuts do you use when you’re cooking?
Using the microwave! There are many high-tech microwave these days, and you can adjust the cooking time and temperature easily. My wife often microwaves sweet potatoes for our dog, and I like to eat them too!

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The Chef’s Take: Baby Artichoke and Scallion Saute from Deborah Madison

by in Chefs and Restaurants, April 23, 2014

artichokes

“As far as I’m concerned, vegetables — plant foods in general — are good things to eat and we should eat more of them. That’s as far as we need to go,” says Deborah Madison, the founding chef of Greens, the trailblazing vegetarian restaurant that opened in San Francisco back in 1979. “I am flavor-focused, not nutrition-focused.”

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Chefs’ Latest Vegetable Obsession? The Easter Bunny Would Approve.

by in Trends, April 18, 2014

carrots
They simmer in stocks, accentuate pot roast and stand in as a crunchy, good-for-you snack between meals. But in the hands of deft chefs, taken-for-granted carrots are fast becoming the highlight of the dinner table.

“Carrots have a nice bright flavor, sweet, with the slightest bit of bitterness and astringency,” says Rob Marzinsky, executive chef of Fitler Dining Room, in Philadelphia. At the restaurant he combines a melange of carrots — yellow, white, Purple Haze and Kyoto red among them. The baby ones are roasted with whole spices and coffee beans, while the larger varieties are sauteed in shallot, ginger, jalapeno and the North African spice mixture, ras el hanout. Marzinsky then pairs them with farro from nearby Castle Valley Mill that’s dressed in ginger-carrot vinaigrette, a “pesto” made with carrot leaves and tangy yogurt.

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The Chef’s Take: Seafood and Tomato Stew from John Finger and Ron Stainer

by in Chefs and Restaurants, April 16, 2014

stew
“With fish especially, I really like people being able to taste all the ingredients without covering them up with sauces and lots of fats and calories,” says John Finger, the founding partner of Hog Island Oyster Co. who first earned his reputation in the food world as an oyster farmer. An unpretentious seafood restaurant, Hog Island Oyster Co. is built around a buzzing raw bar in the iconic Ferry Plaza Building in downtown San Francisco.

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