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Q & A With Alex Stupak

Posted on Jun 24, 2008 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

Pastry chef Alex Stupak is a master of innovative designs and textures, making him no stranger to the molecular gastronomy taking place at wd~50.  In a kitchen where science takes dishes to a whole new level, Alex has relied on experimentation and a precise sense of balance to perfect the creations that continue to delight and awe customers.  At the youthful age of twenty-six, chef Alex Stupak had earned the pastry chef position at one of most innovative and praised restaurants in America, Alinea.  There, Stupak worked alongside famed chef Grant Achatz, distinguishing himself with provocative creations and cutting-edge techniques. Alex reverses expectations with a cherry-covered chocolate, a dish of smooth chocolate mousse encapsulated by a blood-red cherry gel.   Single/Married/Divorced Married.  My wife is the pastry sous chef at Babbo. What was your first job in food? A...

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Q & A with Karen DeMasco

Posted on Jun 24, 2008 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

Pastry chef Karen DeMasco has distinguished herself not with subversive creations or unconventional methods, but with exemplary, classic desserts.  Trends may come and go, but Karen’s elemental style that embraces seasonal fruits has sustained her ever-evolving career and a seven-year run at Craft.  Karen first honed her techniques at Gramercy Tavern, and then Della Femina, where she was well-received by the New York Times. She was then lured by chef Tom Colicchio to helm the pastry department at Craft, and later Craftbar. At Craft, Karen’s signature desserts include gingerbread with roasted pear and crème fraiche, and chocolate cake with malted milk ice cream.  But hurry to have a “choose your own adventure” dessert, as she will soon be departing.  Officially ending her tenure with Craft and Craftbar this May, Karen plans to spend the summer finishing her cookbook and...

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Q & A With Nancy Olson

Posted on Jun 24, 2008 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

Nancy Olson has traveled a long way from her hometown in Napoleon, North Dakota to her current mainstay as executive pastry chef at Gramercy Tavern. With its unwavering devotion to bucolic compositions, this Danny Meyer haunt surely reeps the benefits of Olson’s rural upbringing.  Nancy’s father raised cattle, while her mother made jams and jellies from seasonal produce grown on their farm.  Her upbringing planted shaped a pastry career focused on the freshest, farm-grown ingredients. At Gramercy Tavern, Nancy’s signature desserts include the Grand Marnier mascarpone with a blood orange salad and a coconut tapioca with passion fruit caramel and cilantro syrup.   Status: Single/Married/Divorced Single – but attached to the most wonderful, supportive man! What did you want to be when you grew up? For a long time I really wanted to be a teacher. As a chef, I...

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Porterhouse’s Key Lime Pie with Coconut Macaroon Crust

Posted on Apr 17, 2008 in Chef Q&A Recipes, Recipes

by Wayne Harley Brachman (Adapted from his cookbook, American Desserts) Ingredients for the coconut macaroon crust: Nonstick vegetable-oil spray ¾ cup all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon granulated sugar 2 ¼ cups unsweetened, shredded coconut 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pea-sized bits 2 large egg whites 1 cup confectioners’ sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Ingredients for the key lime filling: 4 large egg yolks 1 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk Grated zest of 2 key limes (about 2 teaspoons) ½ cup Key lime juice (from about 6 key limes) Whipped Cream for garnish: Substitute Persian limes if you can’t find fresh key limes (which are available in winter) Preparation: 1.    Make the Coconut Macaroon Crust: Lightly coat a 9 1/2 –inch tart pan with a removable bottom with non-stick vegetable-oil spray. 2.    In a medium bowl,...

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Gramercy Tavern’s Chocolate Bread Pudding

Posted on Apr 10, 2008 in Chef Q&A Recipes, Recipes

By Nancy Olsen (Serves 12) Ingredients: Egg yolks – 2 Whole eggs – 4 Heavy cream – 3 cups Whole milk – 2 cups Vanilla bean, split and scraped – 1 Sugar – 1 ½ cups Brioche, cut into small cubes – 1 pound loaf, crusts removed Bittersweet chocolate, chopped – 4 ounces Vanilla extract – ¾ teaspoon Milk chocolate pieces to bake inside – 2 ounces Bittersweet chocolate pieces to bake inside – 2 ounces 1.    Bring to a boil the cream, one cup of the milk, the split and scraped vanilla bean, and sugar.  Whisk together the remaining cup of milk with the eggs and egg yolks. 2.    Gently melt the four ounces bittersweet chocolate over barely simmering water. 3.    Gradually whisk some of the hot liquid into the egg mixture.  Then whisk the...

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Q & A With Richard Leach

Posted on Apr 9, 2008 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

Most pastry chefs tweak their menu once a year.  Richard Leach entirely dramatically reconceives his every three months.  At Park Avenue Spring, this seasonal American restaurant gets a full makeover every time the temperatures change.  But Richard has been embracing the seasons well before his position at PAS.  He spent time in pastry at Aureole and Lespinasse, which earned him the James Beard Award in 1997 for Pastry Chef of the Year. In 2001, Leach published his cookbook Sweet Seasons: Fabulous Restaurant Desserts Made Simple, which invited amateur bakers to create his delicate desserts at home. From the launch of Park Avenue Autumn this past fall 2007, then onto Winter and now into Park Avenue Spring, Leach has given guests an array of festive desserts to end on the perfect seasonal note.  Signature desserts of this season include the...

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Gotham Bar & Grill’s Meyer Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake

Posted on Apr 3, 2008 in Chef Q&A Recipes, Recipes

By Deborah Racicot (Serves 8-10) Ingredients for the Lavender Shortbread: ½ Cup Powdered Sugar 1 Cup Cold Butter – Cubed 2 ¼ Tsp. Ground Dried Lavender Buds 1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract 1 ¼ Cup All Purpose Flour ¼ Tsp. Salt 2 Tbsp. Cornstarch ¼ Tsp. Salt ½ Cup Meyer Lemon Zest 12 Ounces Mascarpone Cheese 5 Large Eggs 12 Ounces Mascarpone Cheese Procedure: 1. Preheat oven to 300f.  Have all the ingredients at room temperature. 2. Beat Together cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch, salt and lemon.  Zest until smooth and creamy. 3. Scrape the bowl.  Add 12 ounces mascarpone cheese. Do not overbeat the mascarpone cheese otherwise the mixture will be grainy. 4. On a separate bowl, mix together the eggs and 12 ounces.  Mascarpone Cheese until smooth. 5. Add the egg mixture to the cream cheese mixture and beat...

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Q & A with Dovetail’s Vera Tong

Posted on Apr 2, 2008 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

With the recent debut of Dovetail on the Upper West Side, pastry chef Vera Tong dazzled both critics and diners with her truly inspired approach to classic desserts.  Prior to Dovetail, Vera Tong worked in the kitchen at Compass, where she first met chef John Fraser.  The two team up again at this highly received contemporary American restaurant where she not only has conceived an exemplary pastry menu, but also bakes the white cheddar cornbread that launch guests into dinner every evening.  Vera’s signature brioche pudding with bacon brittle will be making an encore on the spring menu, as will new additions, including a chocolate and coffee parfait, glazed pineapple crumble and a peanut butter frozen cheesecake. Status: Single/Married/Divorced Single What did you want to be when you grew up? Just a cook How did you get into food?...

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Perilla’s Duck Burger

Posted on Mar 27, 2008 in Chef Q&A Recipes, Recipes

by Harold Dieterle (Serves four) Ingredients 3 teaspoons olive oil 1 onion, very finely chopped 5 cloves garlic, very finely chopped 1 pound ground duck 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped basil 2 tablespoons chile sauce, such as sriracha or sambal 1/4 cup panko 2 large eggs, lightly beaten Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and 3 cloves garlic.  Cook, stirring, until translucent, about 5 minutes; remove from heat and let cool. Add onion and garlic mixture to a large bowl, along with, ground duck, basil, chile sauce, panko, and eggs. Knead mixture until well combined; season with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to refrigerator and let chill for 30 minutes. Remove duck mixture from refrigerator. Divide meat into four equal...

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Q & A With Mike Price

Posted on Mar 26, 2008 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

Chef and co-owner Mike Price is so attached to Market Table that even he got married in this 40-seat market-cum-restaurant.   Who better to cook for the occasion than chef Joey Campanaro (The Little Owl)?  Regulars who pack into this Greenwich Village eatery even came by to watch the ceremony through the floor-to-ceiling windows.  Dinner highlights included Market Table’s signature gnocchi with braised short ribs and crab cakes.  Before launching Market Table, he trained at the CIA and then went on to work for restaurateurs Jimmy Bradley and Danny Abrams at the Mermaid Inn and The Harrison.  Now Price plays the part of butcher, baker as well as chef.  His seasonal American spring menu will feature a salad of fava beans, pecorino and mint and an English pea risotto. Status: Single/Married/Divorced Recently married March 2, 2008 to my amazing wife...

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Mia Dona’s Roasted Pork Chop with frisee, lardoons & farm egg

Posted on Mar 20, 2008 in Chef Q&A Recipes, Recipes

By Michael Psilakis (Serves 6)   Ingredients: 6-bone rack of pork chops, chined, untrimmed of fat, tied with butchers twine between each rib 6 farm eggs Fennel Pollen Salt & pepper 4 cloves of garlic 2 shallots ½ Cup of red wine vinegar 1 tsp dry oregano 1 Tb. Dijon mustard 1 Cup mountain gorgonzola cheese or Roquefort  Extra-virgin olive oil  4 slices of double-smoked bacon cut into lardoons, rendered, fat reserved  2 bunches of frisee  2 Tb. pickled mustard seeds  20 pickled red pearl onions    Method: Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Season rack with salt, pepper, fennel pollen and sear in a hot pan so it’s brown on all sides. Transfer to a roasting pan and roast in the oven for about an hour, until rare.   To make the dressing for the frisee, combine garlic,...

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Q & A with Oceana’s Ben Pollinger

Posted on Mar 19, 2008 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

Chef Ben Pollinger is not another seasonal American chef boasting organic ingredients from local farmers: he’s doing his own part to provide the ingredients himself.  With a 500 square foot organic garden, Ben is as enthusiastic about his spring plants as the spring dishes on the menu at Oceana, a well-respected seafood restaurant in midtown. His mantra: “It’s all about relationships: the relationship between the farmer and the soil, the relationship between the fresh ingredients and preparing techniques; most importantly, the relationship between the dining experience and those enjoying it.” At Oceana, Ben creates a global cuisine melding international flavors and techniques to create an eclectic menu of seafood dishes. Signature dishes include the steamed grouper with lotus root, yu choy, young coconut, wood ear mushrooms & black bean sauce, and  seared Hawaiian opah with hearts of palm, Oakwood...

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Oceana's Sauteed Nantucket Bay Scallops With Citrus Salad and Mamey

Posted on Mar 13, 2008 in Chef Q&A Recipes, Recipes

By Executive Chef Ben Pollinger(Serves 4 as an appetizer) Ingredients: 1/2 pound Natucket Bay Scallops 1 Cup mamey pulp 1 Tbs fresh lime juice Segments from the following citrus fruits: pomelo, cara cara orange, sweet lime, ponderosa lemon, Satsuma mandarin. Reserved zest of all fruits except the pomelo. 1/2 Cup extra virgin olive oil 1 Tbs ginger, minced 1 Tbs chilis, sliced 8 leaves Thai basil chiffonade 8 leaves mint chiffonade 8 leaves cilantro chiffonade Salt, fresh ground pepper 1/2 Cup toasted charoli nuts Pith from 1 pomelo 1 1/2 pounds sugar 1 Cup water Preparation for the citrus salad:(Citrus substitutions – Navel oranges, ruby red grapefruit, tangerines and regular lemons or limes will also do when pomelo is not available.  Avocado may substitute for mamey.)    Puree the mamey pulp in a blender with the lime juice.  Season...

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The Smith’s Green Bean Salad

Posted on Mar 8, 2008 in Chef Q&A Recipes, Recipes

By Brian Ellis (Serves 4 as an appetizer) Ingredients For the Salad: ½ lb haricot verts (blanched and shocked) 1 bunch frisee lettuce (washed, large stems removed) 2 oz. slivered almonds (dry roasted) 1 pt cherry tomatoes (washed and split in ½) Preparation for the Salad: Blanche the haricot verts in boiling water for about three minutes then shock in ice water. Drain on paper towels and reserve.  Wash frisee, remove any large stems, and chop into bite-size pieces.  Wash cherry tomatories and slice each in half.  Then, in hot dry pan, toast slivered almonds until aromatic, about two minutes. Ingredients for the dressing: 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard  2 oz. red wine vinegar (something good)  1 lemon (juiced) 1 clove garlic (smashed and chopped fine) 6 oz. extra virgin olive oil Preparation for the dressing: Finely mince the garlic. ...

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Q & A With Todd Mitgang

Posted on Mar 4, 2008 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

Chef Todd Mitgang recently made his solo debut at Crave Ceviche Bar in midtown East.  At the youthful age of 27, Mitgang saw instant success, long waits and already has plans to expand his eatery into a neighboring space.  Before his popularity at Crave, Mitgang studied at FCI, then landed his first job out of school at Soho’s Kittichai, where he was positioned as Chef de Cuisine. At Crave, Mitgang devotes his undivided attention to ceviches, curing an impressive selection of raw fish in unusual marinades, far beyond the usual lime and lemon juices.  He adds extra crunch with whimsical accessories, including charred popcorn.  Intensely fruity sangrias and a playful wine list, categorizing the wines by inviting descriptions like “toasted brioche,” add to this chef’s restaurant’s lure.  With an ever-changing menu that rigorously bows to the seasons, his winter...

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Dovetail’s Butterscotch Pudding

Posted on Feb 29, 2008 in Chef Q&A Recipes, Recipes

By Pastry Chef Vera Tong (Yield: 8 portions) Ingredients: Sugar ¾ cup Water ¼ cup Heavy Cream ¼ cup Muscavado Sugar ½ cup Cornstarch  ½ cup Kosher salt 1 ½ teaspoons Milk 3 cups Egg Yolks 4 Unsalted Cold Butter 4oz and 2 tablespoons ¼ cup Scotch Vanilla Extract 1 teaspoon Preparation: Caramelize sugar and water in a heavy bottomed sauce pot until color is deep amber. Meanwhile, heat heavy cream in another saucepan. Slowly add to caramel. In a 4-quart saucepot, combine muscavado sugar, cornstarch, salt, milk, yolks and caramel. Cook on medium flame, whisking constantly until very thick. Immediately transfer pudding to a separate container. Add butter and stir until completely emulsified. Add scotch and vanilla and mix until uniform in texture. Pour into 4 oz ramekins and set in refrigerator for 4 hours (If you prefer...

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Q & A With Alfred Portale

Posted on Feb 26, 2008 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

With Gotham Bar & Grill, Alfred Portale has successfully managed to build a 24-year old East Village institution with exemplary modern American fare.  Portale has earned numerous high accolades, including two James Beard Awards and multiple 3-star reviews in the New York Times.  This Wednesday, February 27th, the Careers through the Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) is honoring him at their 10th annual benefit dinner.  Not only a leader in the restaurant industry, but Portale also generously donates time to underserved high school students with culinary aspirations. Portale produces some of the city’s finest “vertically-inclined” dishes, including a roast squab with potato puree, sweet corn, snap peas, pine nuts and a smoked ancho chile sauce as well as juniper-spiced muscovy duck breast with sour cherries, butternut squash puree, foie gras and an apple cider jus. Status: Single/Married/Divorced Married What did...

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15 East’s Ikura Shoyu – Soy Marinated Salmon Roe

Posted on Feb 21, 2008 in Chef Q&A Recipes, Recipes

By Executive Sushi Chef Masato Shimizu (Serves 4) Ingredients for the ikura: 4 oz ikura (salmon roe)  Salt  Yuzu zest Ingredients for dashi jiru: 6 ½ oz   katsuo dashi (bonito broth)  0.3 oz    mirin  0.3 oz    soy sauce To prepare ikura: In a medium bowl, wash roe in salted ice water to separate the eggs then strain.  In a large bowl, wash the roe in fresh cold water and strain.  Repeat three times, straining well each time.  To make dashi jiru: In a medium pot, bring to boil katsuo dashi, mirin and soy sauce.  Chill in an ice water bath. To marinate the ikura: In a medium bowl, combine the washed roe with 1 ounce of dashi jiru.  “Wash” the roe with dashi jiru then strain.  In a large bowl, combine roe with half (about 3 ounces)...

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Q & A With Joe Campanale & Gabe Thompson

Posted on Feb 20, 2008 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

First-time restaurateurs Joe Campanale and Gabe Thompson have recently opened the instantly successful West Village wine bar, dell’anima.  With Thompson in the kitchen and Campanale focused on the wine, the two have formed a partnership that brings a new outlook into the trendy NYC wine bar scene. Campanale brings his experience as a sommelier from Babbo to dell’Anima, where he has not only installed a rigorous Italian wine program, but also leans on his travels through Italy when creating cocktails.  Thompson spent time in various acclaimed kitchens including Le Bernardin and Del Posto, where he perfected the art of homemade pasta, including kabocha squash ravioli with almonds, brown butter and sage, as well as a splendid tagliatelle alla bolognese.   What do you two want to be when you grow up? Joe: I don’t know yet. I’m having so much...

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Buddakan’s Spicy Chocolate Cremeux

Posted on Feb 15, 2008 in Chef Q&A Recipes, Recipes

(with Roasted Bananas & Whipped Cream) By Pastry Chef Daniel Skurnick Ingredients Chocolate Crémeux Milk 1 c. Heavy Cream  1 c. Cinnamon Sticks 1 each Star Anise 1 each Small Dried Chile 1 ea Egg Yolks 5 each Sugar 1/3 c. Dark Chocolate, chopped 14 oz. Roasted Bananas Bananas 2 each Palm Sugar  1 T. Butter 1 T. Dark Rum 3 T. Sea salt 1/8 t. Preparation: (for the Chocolate Crémeux) In a small sauce pan, bring the milk, cream, and spices to a boil, and then remove from heat.  Allow the milk to cool and the spices to steep for at least 30 minutes.  Strain the spices out of the milk and discard.  Meanwhile, in medium sized bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks.  Return the spiced milk and cream to a boil, then pour over the...

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