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Michael’s chef–owner on restaurant trends

Michael’s chef–owner on restaurant trends


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Chef Michael McCarty — who was raising his own ducks and cooking seasonal, regional cuisine in the 1970s — was a pioneer in the culinary philosophy that now dominates American dining in independent restaurants.

EARLIER: Michael’s chef–owner talks American cuisine

In the second installment of a two-part interview, the chef-owner of two Michael’s restaurants, in Santa Monica, Calif., and New York City, analyzes the current state of the U.S. food scene and looks to the future.

How do you think American cuisine has evolved in recent years?

How many years did you read and write about small plates and grazing? How many times in the ’80s and ’90s did people try it? Nobody really bought it, but now that’s what’s happening. If the five of us went to ABC Kitchen [Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s New York City restaurant] today and we each ordered something, they’d come one at a time, and we’d all pick at it. It’s shared plates. The dishwasher should be the highest paid person in restaurants today.

That’s what happens during a recession; these new things occur. Now just to sit down at a table for an hour and a half or two hours is a rarity among this generation.

What are your customers responding to these days?

I have in L.A. a 23-year-old chef who’s half Japanese and half Mexican, John-Carlos Kuramoto. He pretty much was brought up by his grandmothers. He’s an American — that whole East L.A. group, which I’d recommend you go see one day. You will be blown away. There are no white people, there are no black people, no brown people, no Asians. Everybody is a mix. They’re the most gorgeous, phenomenal people. They are schooled in every aspect of these cuisines. You just cannot believe this group that’s coming up.

And in New York my chef is Kyung Up Lim, a 27-year-old Korean who I’ve worked with for three years, and he’s the best chef I’ve ever had here.

Everyone knew that molecular food had its time and place. I mean, I went to El Bulli a lot, but seven hours, 48 courses — it’s insane, beautiful, fabulous, but it’s not a lifestyle. It’s ironic that a town like Chicago would be the one that really supports it. In the 1980s we got arrested having a sous-vide machine in our place in California.


What the Chef Won't Tell You: 10 Don't-Tell Shortcuts from Gourmet Kitchens

Secret Shortcut: Frozen peas
"I learned how to use frozen peas from a famous four-star chef. He told me to get the peas, and I looked for them in the walk-in refrigerator forever. Finally he said, 'They're in the freezer, idiot!' I challenge anyone to find better peas except for one month of the year."

Secret Shortcut: Naan
"At times when I'm pretending to indulge the children, but am really too exhausted to cook, I order pizza. But actually [making Naan Pizza] is my preferred option. This is not much harder to cook than making a phone call, and I feel much happier for it."

Try this simple sweet and sour cranberry chutney for an Asian take on cranberry sauce!

Secret Shortcut: Instant mashed potatoes
"Instant mashed potatoes are a great breading for fish and poultry. When combined with seasoning and used in place of breadcrumbs, they give an awesome flavor and are an easy, fast, and inexpensive ingredient."

Secret Shortcut: Breadcrumbs
Run out of flour, but need to thicken your sauce? "Just stir in breadcrumbs and let them cook a few minutes so they release their starches. Strain the sauce, pressing all the liquid out of the crumbs." The result? A thick sauce without the raw-floury taste on your tongue.

Chef/owner Chanterelle, New York City
Secret Shortcut: Cleaning seafood with salt
"A simple, time-saving tip for cleaning mussels is to soak them for 1 hour in a bowl of salted water. This helps to dislodge the dirt and grit from around the lip of the shells. After soaking, just scrub under cold running water with a stiff brush and the remaining grit should come off easily."

Executive chef of Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale's South Coast Plaza

Secret Shortcut: Ritz crackers
"Ritz crackers are a great shortcut for lobster stuffing. Some chefs typically bake sliced bread, dry it out, and salt, but Ritz crackers offer a great quick and easy alternative. At the restaurant people try to guess what's in the stuffing and no one ever guesses Ritz crackers!"

Even diners at gourmet restaurants crave comfort food, so chef John DeLucie whips up this pot pie recipe at his NYC restaurant, the Waverly Inn.

Executive chef, Adour Alain Ducasse at the St. Regis, New York City

Secret Shortcut: Ice cube trays
Chef Dennis fills up an ice cube tray with pesto and freezes it, creating easy portions. "Depending on how much pesto you need, a quick thawing out of an individual cube or two creates a nice sauce for pasta or chicken, fresh mozzarella, and summer tomatoes."


What the Chef Won't Tell You: 10 Don't-Tell Shortcuts from Gourmet Kitchens

Secret Shortcut: Frozen peas
"I learned how to use frozen peas from a famous four-star chef. He told me to get the peas, and I looked for them in the walk-in refrigerator forever. Finally he said, 'They're in the freezer, idiot!' I challenge anyone to find better peas except for one month of the year."

Secret Shortcut: Naan
"At times when I'm pretending to indulge the children, but am really too exhausted to cook, I order pizza. But actually [making Naan Pizza] is my preferred option. This is not much harder to cook than making a phone call, and I feel much happier for it."

Try this simple sweet and sour cranberry chutney for an Asian take on cranberry sauce!

Secret Shortcut: Instant mashed potatoes
"Instant mashed potatoes are a great breading for fish and poultry. When combined with seasoning and used in place of breadcrumbs, they give an awesome flavor and are an easy, fast, and inexpensive ingredient."

Secret Shortcut: Breadcrumbs
Run out of flour, but need to thicken your sauce? "Just stir in breadcrumbs and let them cook a few minutes so they release their starches. Strain the sauce, pressing all the liquid out of the crumbs." The result? A thick sauce without the raw-floury taste on your tongue.

Chef/owner Chanterelle, New York City
Secret Shortcut: Cleaning seafood with salt
"A simple, time-saving tip for cleaning mussels is to soak them for 1 hour in a bowl of salted water. This helps to dislodge the dirt and grit from around the lip of the shells. After soaking, just scrub under cold running water with a stiff brush and the remaining grit should come off easily."

Executive chef of Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale's South Coast Plaza

Secret Shortcut: Ritz crackers
"Ritz crackers are a great shortcut for lobster stuffing. Some chefs typically bake sliced bread, dry it out, and salt, but Ritz crackers offer a great quick and easy alternative. At the restaurant people try to guess what's in the stuffing and no one ever guesses Ritz crackers!"

Even diners at gourmet restaurants crave comfort food, so chef John DeLucie whips up this pot pie recipe at his NYC restaurant, the Waverly Inn.

Executive chef, Adour Alain Ducasse at the St. Regis, New York City

Secret Shortcut: Ice cube trays
Chef Dennis fills up an ice cube tray with pesto and freezes it, creating easy portions. "Depending on how much pesto you need, a quick thawing out of an individual cube or two creates a nice sauce for pasta or chicken, fresh mozzarella, and summer tomatoes."


What the Chef Won't Tell You: 10 Don't-Tell Shortcuts from Gourmet Kitchens

Secret Shortcut: Frozen peas
"I learned how to use frozen peas from a famous four-star chef. He told me to get the peas, and I looked for them in the walk-in refrigerator forever. Finally he said, 'They're in the freezer, idiot!' I challenge anyone to find better peas except for one month of the year."

Secret Shortcut: Naan
"At times when I'm pretending to indulge the children, but am really too exhausted to cook, I order pizza. But actually [making Naan Pizza] is my preferred option. This is not much harder to cook than making a phone call, and I feel much happier for it."

Try this simple sweet and sour cranberry chutney for an Asian take on cranberry sauce!

Secret Shortcut: Instant mashed potatoes
"Instant mashed potatoes are a great breading for fish and poultry. When combined with seasoning and used in place of breadcrumbs, they give an awesome flavor and are an easy, fast, and inexpensive ingredient."

Secret Shortcut: Breadcrumbs
Run out of flour, but need to thicken your sauce? "Just stir in breadcrumbs and let them cook a few minutes so they release their starches. Strain the sauce, pressing all the liquid out of the crumbs." The result? A thick sauce without the raw-floury taste on your tongue.

Chef/owner Chanterelle, New York City
Secret Shortcut: Cleaning seafood with salt
"A simple, time-saving tip for cleaning mussels is to soak them for 1 hour in a bowl of salted water. This helps to dislodge the dirt and grit from around the lip of the shells. After soaking, just scrub under cold running water with a stiff brush and the remaining grit should come off easily."

Executive chef of Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale's South Coast Plaza

Secret Shortcut: Ritz crackers
"Ritz crackers are a great shortcut for lobster stuffing. Some chefs typically bake sliced bread, dry it out, and salt, but Ritz crackers offer a great quick and easy alternative. At the restaurant people try to guess what's in the stuffing and no one ever guesses Ritz crackers!"

Even diners at gourmet restaurants crave comfort food, so chef John DeLucie whips up this pot pie recipe at his NYC restaurant, the Waverly Inn.

Executive chef, Adour Alain Ducasse at the St. Regis, New York City

Secret Shortcut: Ice cube trays
Chef Dennis fills up an ice cube tray with pesto and freezes it, creating easy portions. "Depending on how much pesto you need, a quick thawing out of an individual cube or two creates a nice sauce for pasta or chicken, fresh mozzarella, and summer tomatoes."


What the Chef Won't Tell You: 10 Don't-Tell Shortcuts from Gourmet Kitchens

Secret Shortcut: Frozen peas
"I learned how to use frozen peas from a famous four-star chef. He told me to get the peas, and I looked for them in the walk-in refrigerator forever. Finally he said, 'They're in the freezer, idiot!' I challenge anyone to find better peas except for one month of the year."

Secret Shortcut: Naan
"At times when I'm pretending to indulge the children, but am really too exhausted to cook, I order pizza. But actually [making Naan Pizza] is my preferred option. This is not much harder to cook than making a phone call, and I feel much happier for it."

Try this simple sweet and sour cranberry chutney for an Asian take on cranberry sauce!

Secret Shortcut: Instant mashed potatoes
"Instant mashed potatoes are a great breading for fish and poultry. When combined with seasoning and used in place of breadcrumbs, they give an awesome flavor and are an easy, fast, and inexpensive ingredient."

Secret Shortcut: Breadcrumbs
Run out of flour, but need to thicken your sauce? "Just stir in breadcrumbs and let them cook a few minutes so they release their starches. Strain the sauce, pressing all the liquid out of the crumbs." The result? A thick sauce without the raw-floury taste on your tongue.

Chef/owner Chanterelle, New York City
Secret Shortcut: Cleaning seafood with salt
"A simple, time-saving tip for cleaning mussels is to soak them for 1 hour in a bowl of salted water. This helps to dislodge the dirt and grit from around the lip of the shells. After soaking, just scrub under cold running water with a stiff brush and the remaining grit should come off easily."

Executive chef of Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale's South Coast Plaza

Secret Shortcut: Ritz crackers
"Ritz crackers are a great shortcut for lobster stuffing. Some chefs typically bake sliced bread, dry it out, and salt, but Ritz crackers offer a great quick and easy alternative. At the restaurant people try to guess what's in the stuffing and no one ever guesses Ritz crackers!"

Even diners at gourmet restaurants crave comfort food, so chef John DeLucie whips up this pot pie recipe at his NYC restaurant, the Waverly Inn.

Executive chef, Adour Alain Ducasse at the St. Regis, New York City

Secret Shortcut: Ice cube trays
Chef Dennis fills up an ice cube tray with pesto and freezes it, creating easy portions. "Depending on how much pesto you need, a quick thawing out of an individual cube or two creates a nice sauce for pasta or chicken, fresh mozzarella, and summer tomatoes."


What the Chef Won't Tell You: 10 Don't-Tell Shortcuts from Gourmet Kitchens

Secret Shortcut: Frozen peas
"I learned how to use frozen peas from a famous four-star chef. He told me to get the peas, and I looked for them in the walk-in refrigerator forever. Finally he said, 'They're in the freezer, idiot!' I challenge anyone to find better peas except for one month of the year."

Secret Shortcut: Naan
"At times when I'm pretending to indulge the children, but am really too exhausted to cook, I order pizza. But actually [making Naan Pizza] is my preferred option. This is not much harder to cook than making a phone call, and I feel much happier for it."

Try this simple sweet and sour cranberry chutney for an Asian take on cranberry sauce!

Secret Shortcut: Instant mashed potatoes
"Instant mashed potatoes are a great breading for fish and poultry. When combined with seasoning and used in place of breadcrumbs, they give an awesome flavor and are an easy, fast, and inexpensive ingredient."

Secret Shortcut: Breadcrumbs
Run out of flour, but need to thicken your sauce? "Just stir in breadcrumbs and let them cook a few minutes so they release their starches. Strain the sauce, pressing all the liquid out of the crumbs." The result? A thick sauce without the raw-floury taste on your tongue.

Chef/owner Chanterelle, New York City
Secret Shortcut: Cleaning seafood with salt
"A simple, time-saving tip for cleaning mussels is to soak them for 1 hour in a bowl of salted water. This helps to dislodge the dirt and grit from around the lip of the shells. After soaking, just scrub under cold running water with a stiff brush and the remaining grit should come off easily."

Executive chef of Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale's South Coast Plaza

Secret Shortcut: Ritz crackers
"Ritz crackers are a great shortcut for lobster stuffing. Some chefs typically bake sliced bread, dry it out, and salt, but Ritz crackers offer a great quick and easy alternative. At the restaurant people try to guess what's in the stuffing and no one ever guesses Ritz crackers!"

Even diners at gourmet restaurants crave comfort food, so chef John DeLucie whips up this pot pie recipe at his NYC restaurant, the Waverly Inn.

Executive chef, Adour Alain Ducasse at the St. Regis, New York City

Secret Shortcut: Ice cube trays
Chef Dennis fills up an ice cube tray with pesto and freezes it, creating easy portions. "Depending on how much pesto you need, a quick thawing out of an individual cube or two creates a nice sauce for pasta or chicken, fresh mozzarella, and summer tomatoes."


What the Chef Won't Tell You: 10 Don't-Tell Shortcuts from Gourmet Kitchens

Secret Shortcut: Frozen peas
"I learned how to use frozen peas from a famous four-star chef. He told me to get the peas, and I looked for them in the walk-in refrigerator forever. Finally he said, 'They're in the freezer, idiot!' I challenge anyone to find better peas except for one month of the year."

Secret Shortcut: Naan
"At times when I'm pretending to indulge the children, but am really too exhausted to cook, I order pizza. But actually [making Naan Pizza] is my preferred option. This is not much harder to cook than making a phone call, and I feel much happier for it."

Try this simple sweet and sour cranberry chutney for an Asian take on cranberry sauce!

Secret Shortcut: Instant mashed potatoes
"Instant mashed potatoes are a great breading for fish and poultry. When combined with seasoning and used in place of breadcrumbs, they give an awesome flavor and are an easy, fast, and inexpensive ingredient."

Secret Shortcut: Breadcrumbs
Run out of flour, but need to thicken your sauce? "Just stir in breadcrumbs and let them cook a few minutes so they release their starches. Strain the sauce, pressing all the liquid out of the crumbs." The result? A thick sauce without the raw-floury taste on your tongue.

Chef/owner Chanterelle, New York City
Secret Shortcut: Cleaning seafood with salt
"A simple, time-saving tip for cleaning mussels is to soak them for 1 hour in a bowl of salted water. This helps to dislodge the dirt and grit from around the lip of the shells. After soaking, just scrub under cold running water with a stiff brush and the remaining grit should come off easily."

Executive chef of Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale's South Coast Plaza

Secret Shortcut: Ritz crackers
"Ritz crackers are a great shortcut for lobster stuffing. Some chefs typically bake sliced bread, dry it out, and salt, but Ritz crackers offer a great quick and easy alternative. At the restaurant people try to guess what's in the stuffing and no one ever guesses Ritz crackers!"

Even diners at gourmet restaurants crave comfort food, so chef John DeLucie whips up this pot pie recipe at his NYC restaurant, the Waverly Inn.

Executive chef, Adour Alain Ducasse at the St. Regis, New York City

Secret Shortcut: Ice cube trays
Chef Dennis fills up an ice cube tray with pesto and freezes it, creating easy portions. "Depending on how much pesto you need, a quick thawing out of an individual cube or two creates a nice sauce for pasta or chicken, fresh mozzarella, and summer tomatoes."


What the Chef Won't Tell You: 10 Don't-Tell Shortcuts from Gourmet Kitchens

Secret Shortcut: Frozen peas
"I learned how to use frozen peas from a famous four-star chef. He told me to get the peas, and I looked for them in the walk-in refrigerator forever. Finally he said, 'They're in the freezer, idiot!' I challenge anyone to find better peas except for one month of the year."

Secret Shortcut: Naan
"At times when I'm pretending to indulge the children, but am really too exhausted to cook, I order pizza. But actually [making Naan Pizza] is my preferred option. This is not much harder to cook than making a phone call, and I feel much happier for it."

Try this simple sweet and sour cranberry chutney for an Asian take on cranberry sauce!

Secret Shortcut: Instant mashed potatoes
"Instant mashed potatoes are a great breading for fish and poultry. When combined with seasoning and used in place of breadcrumbs, they give an awesome flavor and are an easy, fast, and inexpensive ingredient."

Secret Shortcut: Breadcrumbs
Run out of flour, but need to thicken your sauce? "Just stir in breadcrumbs and let them cook a few minutes so they release their starches. Strain the sauce, pressing all the liquid out of the crumbs." The result? A thick sauce without the raw-floury taste on your tongue.

Chef/owner Chanterelle, New York City
Secret Shortcut: Cleaning seafood with salt
"A simple, time-saving tip for cleaning mussels is to soak them for 1 hour in a bowl of salted water. This helps to dislodge the dirt and grit from around the lip of the shells. After soaking, just scrub under cold running water with a stiff brush and the remaining grit should come off easily."

Executive chef of Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale's South Coast Plaza

Secret Shortcut: Ritz crackers
"Ritz crackers are a great shortcut for lobster stuffing. Some chefs typically bake sliced bread, dry it out, and salt, but Ritz crackers offer a great quick and easy alternative. At the restaurant people try to guess what's in the stuffing and no one ever guesses Ritz crackers!"

Even diners at gourmet restaurants crave comfort food, so chef John DeLucie whips up this pot pie recipe at his NYC restaurant, the Waverly Inn.

Executive chef, Adour Alain Ducasse at the St. Regis, New York City

Secret Shortcut: Ice cube trays
Chef Dennis fills up an ice cube tray with pesto and freezes it, creating easy portions. "Depending on how much pesto you need, a quick thawing out of an individual cube or two creates a nice sauce for pasta or chicken, fresh mozzarella, and summer tomatoes."


What the Chef Won't Tell You: 10 Don't-Tell Shortcuts from Gourmet Kitchens

Secret Shortcut: Frozen peas
"I learned how to use frozen peas from a famous four-star chef. He told me to get the peas, and I looked for them in the walk-in refrigerator forever. Finally he said, 'They're in the freezer, idiot!' I challenge anyone to find better peas except for one month of the year."

Secret Shortcut: Naan
"At times when I'm pretending to indulge the children, but am really too exhausted to cook, I order pizza. But actually [making Naan Pizza] is my preferred option. This is not much harder to cook than making a phone call, and I feel much happier for it."

Try this simple sweet and sour cranberry chutney for an Asian take on cranberry sauce!

Secret Shortcut: Instant mashed potatoes
"Instant mashed potatoes are a great breading for fish and poultry. When combined with seasoning and used in place of breadcrumbs, they give an awesome flavor and are an easy, fast, and inexpensive ingredient."

Secret Shortcut: Breadcrumbs
Run out of flour, but need to thicken your sauce? "Just stir in breadcrumbs and let them cook a few minutes so they release their starches. Strain the sauce, pressing all the liquid out of the crumbs." The result? A thick sauce without the raw-floury taste on your tongue.

Chef/owner Chanterelle, New York City
Secret Shortcut: Cleaning seafood with salt
"A simple, time-saving tip for cleaning mussels is to soak them for 1 hour in a bowl of salted water. This helps to dislodge the dirt and grit from around the lip of the shells. After soaking, just scrub under cold running water with a stiff brush and the remaining grit should come off easily."

Executive chef of Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale's South Coast Plaza

Secret Shortcut: Ritz crackers
"Ritz crackers are a great shortcut for lobster stuffing. Some chefs typically bake sliced bread, dry it out, and salt, but Ritz crackers offer a great quick and easy alternative. At the restaurant people try to guess what's in the stuffing and no one ever guesses Ritz crackers!"

Even diners at gourmet restaurants crave comfort food, so chef John DeLucie whips up this pot pie recipe at his NYC restaurant, the Waverly Inn.

Executive chef, Adour Alain Ducasse at the St. Regis, New York City

Secret Shortcut: Ice cube trays
Chef Dennis fills up an ice cube tray with pesto and freezes it, creating easy portions. "Depending on how much pesto you need, a quick thawing out of an individual cube or two creates a nice sauce for pasta or chicken, fresh mozzarella, and summer tomatoes."


What the Chef Won't Tell You: 10 Don't-Tell Shortcuts from Gourmet Kitchens

Secret Shortcut: Frozen peas
"I learned how to use frozen peas from a famous four-star chef. He told me to get the peas, and I looked for them in the walk-in refrigerator forever. Finally he said, 'They're in the freezer, idiot!' I challenge anyone to find better peas except for one month of the year."

Secret Shortcut: Naan
"At times when I'm pretending to indulge the children, but am really too exhausted to cook, I order pizza. But actually [making Naan Pizza] is my preferred option. This is not much harder to cook than making a phone call, and I feel much happier for it."

Try this simple sweet and sour cranberry chutney for an Asian take on cranberry sauce!

Secret Shortcut: Instant mashed potatoes
"Instant mashed potatoes are a great breading for fish and poultry. When combined with seasoning and used in place of breadcrumbs, they give an awesome flavor and are an easy, fast, and inexpensive ingredient."

Secret Shortcut: Breadcrumbs
Run out of flour, but need to thicken your sauce? "Just stir in breadcrumbs and let them cook a few minutes so they release their starches. Strain the sauce, pressing all the liquid out of the crumbs." The result? A thick sauce without the raw-floury taste on your tongue.

Chef/owner Chanterelle, New York City
Secret Shortcut: Cleaning seafood with salt
"A simple, time-saving tip for cleaning mussels is to soak them for 1 hour in a bowl of salted water. This helps to dislodge the dirt and grit from around the lip of the shells. After soaking, just scrub under cold running water with a stiff brush and the remaining grit should come off easily."

Executive chef of Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale's South Coast Plaza

Secret Shortcut: Ritz crackers
"Ritz crackers are a great shortcut for lobster stuffing. Some chefs typically bake sliced bread, dry it out, and salt, but Ritz crackers offer a great quick and easy alternative. At the restaurant people try to guess what's in the stuffing and no one ever guesses Ritz crackers!"

Even diners at gourmet restaurants crave comfort food, so chef John DeLucie whips up this pot pie recipe at his NYC restaurant, the Waverly Inn.

Executive chef, Adour Alain Ducasse at the St. Regis, New York City

Secret Shortcut: Ice cube trays
Chef Dennis fills up an ice cube tray with pesto and freezes it, creating easy portions. "Depending on how much pesto you need, a quick thawing out of an individual cube or two creates a nice sauce for pasta or chicken, fresh mozzarella, and summer tomatoes."


What the Chef Won't Tell You: 10 Don't-Tell Shortcuts from Gourmet Kitchens

Secret Shortcut: Frozen peas
"I learned how to use frozen peas from a famous four-star chef. He told me to get the peas, and I looked for them in the walk-in refrigerator forever. Finally he said, 'They're in the freezer, idiot!' I challenge anyone to find better peas except for one month of the year."

Secret Shortcut: Naan
"At times when I'm pretending to indulge the children, but am really too exhausted to cook, I order pizza. But actually [making Naan Pizza] is my preferred option. This is not much harder to cook than making a phone call, and I feel much happier for it."

Try this simple sweet and sour cranberry chutney for an Asian take on cranberry sauce!

Secret Shortcut: Instant mashed potatoes
"Instant mashed potatoes are a great breading for fish and poultry. When combined with seasoning and used in place of breadcrumbs, they give an awesome flavor and are an easy, fast, and inexpensive ingredient."

Secret Shortcut: Breadcrumbs
Run out of flour, but need to thicken your sauce? "Just stir in breadcrumbs and let them cook a few minutes so they release their starches. Strain the sauce, pressing all the liquid out of the crumbs." The result? A thick sauce without the raw-floury taste on your tongue.

Chef/owner Chanterelle, New York City
Secret Shortcut: Cleaning seafood with salt
"A simple, time-saving tip for cleaning mussels is to soak them for 1 hour in a bowl of salted water. This helps to dislodge the dirt and grit from around the lip of the shells. After soaking, just scrub under cold running water with a stiff brush and the remaining grit should come off easily."

Executive chef of Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale's South Coast Plaza

Secret Shortcut: Ritz crackers
"Ritz crackers are a great shortcut for lobster stuffing. Some chefs typically bake sliced bread, dry it out, and salt, but Ritz crackers offer a great quick and easy alternative. At the restaurant people try to guess what's in the stuffing and no one ever guesses Ritz crackers!"

Even diners at gourmet restaurants crave comfort food, so chef John DeLucie whips up this pot pie recipe at his NYC restaurant, the Waverly Inn.

Executive chef, Adour Alain Ducasse at the St. Regis, New York City

Secret Shortcut: Ice cube trays
Chef Dennis fills up an ice cube tray with pesto and freezes it, creating easy portions. "Depending on how much pesto you need, a quick thawing out of an individual cube or two creates a nice sauce for pasta or chicken, fresh mozzarella, and summer tomatoes."


Watch the video: Michael Sohocki 02, ChefOwner, Restaurant Gwendolyn


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