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THE ÉLECTRONS LIBRES TAKE -2–AMERICAN CHEFS: JUSTIN HILBERT

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The Électrons Libres, is a group of chefs that are as individual or a leaders of a group have taken a unique route that goes beyond the learning process. Their philosophy transforms the cuisine of the present time as well as the cuisine of the future in a specific area (place) or country. Sometimes they are the leaders of a culinary movement but often, they are alone in their search.

Justin Hilbert was born in Pennsylvania. He began his career at The George Hotel on the Isle of Wight (England). But it was during a trip in 2006, where he worked at Mugaritz (Andoni Aduriz), he had a real revelation. Upon his return to New York, he had the opportunity to work with pastry chef Alex Stupak (WD-50) before flying out on his own and open Gwynnett St. in October 2011.

Like many emerging chefs, Justin Hilbert focus on the best local produce, and trying to find himself around New York or elsewhere in the United States. But unlike some, Chef Hilbert has a mastery of techniques and technologies enabling it to play on textures to magnify the flavors. Perhaps the result of his knowledge of pastry or a true “team effort” with his sous chef and friend Owen Clark … Who knows!

Seeing his “cuisine” for the first time, we are struck by its beauty, by an unique image that hides a great complexity.

Q+A WITH JUSTIN HILBERT (www.gwynnettst.com ):

1-(Scoffier) How do you explain the philosophy behind your cuisine and what is it main characteristics?

JHilbert– We try and use whatever is in season and products we can find locally. For the most part we focus on a key ingredient and highlight it in several cooking methods or textures adding complementing notes, the main focus is balance and harmony.

2-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?

JHilbert– I love the flavors of birch and spruce. When I was a child I loved birch beer. There is this brand of soda from Pennsylvania my father would always buy when I was a kid that I loved. So, whenever my parents come to dinner at the restaurant they always bring me some. It reminds me of my youth.

3-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires you in your cuisine?

JHilbert– My sous chef Owen Clark. He’s been a dear friend for quite sometime. Also, the team of chefs here at the restaurant. Sometimes during service I stop and think to myself how grateful I to have such a quality group of inspired individuals working with me. I feel very blessed to have them here and keeping them excited is what inspires me most.

4-(Scoffier) You worked in pastry at WD-50 with Alex Stupak. Do you have two roles at Gwynnetts St.: Executive chef and pastry chef?

JHilbert– Yes, I suppose I’m the pastry chef as well. I have always wanted to be part of everything in the kitchen, pastry always interested me just as much as savory. When I got to WD-50, Wylie didn’t have any positions available. I mentioned that I knew a bit about pastry and Alex was looking for someone in that department. After a few days he offered me the position. I was out of my league at the time but I learned so much from him it was an amazing experience. Working with him and Rosio Sanchez was some of the most fun I’ve ever had in cooking professionally.

5-(Scoffier) How do you develop your recipes at Gwynnetts St.? What are your source(s) of inspiration ?

JHilbert- We draw inspiration from everything a lot of it has to do with what is at that market. My mind gets stuck on an ingredient and then the focus becomes composing a dish based around it.

6-(Scoffier) The aesthetics of your “cuisine” is superb, are you thinking about this in the preparation of the menu?

JHilbert– Sometimes I envision a dish in my head before it even goes on the plate. Aesthetics have always been important for me however, everything that goes on the plate is there for a reason every component needs to compliment the other. The idea is to create something that looks as good as it tastes the perception of value is just as important to me as the quality of ingredients.

7-(Scoffier) I know your sous chef (Owen Clark) is important to you and has a good knowledge of foraging. Is it hard for you to buy (and find) locally?

JHilbert– The most frustrating thing is that we get some really cool things in from different people that are short lived. We get really excited when we find new things and work them into a dish and then before we know it they’re out of season.

8-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or other) that is characterized the cuisine of Justin Hilbert at Gwynnetts St.?

JHilbert- Recipe: Milk, Mint and Green Strawberry

9-(Scoffier) What is your goal (ambitions) as chef? Do you think about write a book, a television show, others?

JHilbert– I’d like to make this restaurant the best I possibly can. My goal is to keep creating new and interesting food that people enjoy, tell their friends about and come back again. Whatever comes with that will be greatly appreciated. I’ve been fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to do so and for now my focus is set on cooking.

RECIPE: Milk, Mint and Green Strawberry

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INGREDIENTS & PROGRESSION RECIPE

For the mint cake:
-30g mint leaves
-300g whole eggs
-110g almond flour
-125g caster sugar
-40g cake flour
-2g salt

Procedure:
1. In a blender combine the mint leaves with the eggs and blend on high until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and blend on high until smooth.
2. Strain the mixture and place into an isi canister. Charge twice and refrigerate for a few hours.

For the mint gel:
-700g water
-200g sugar
-200g liquid glucose
-9g agar agar
-100g mint leaves

Procedure:
1. Place the water in the blender and add the agar agar. Blend for one minute to ensure hydration. Place in a pot along with the glucose and sugar. Bring to a boil.
2. Place the mint leaves in a blend and add the boiling liquid. Blend until smooth. Quickly strain the mixture into an ice bath add whisk until set. Allow the agar to set and return to the blender and blend until smooth, strain and refrigerate.

For the milk streusel:
-200g dry nonfat milk solids
-250g flour
-250g caster sugar
-10g salt
-200g butter cubed very cold

Procedure:
1. Place all the dry ingredients in a food processor and blend. Add the butter in slowly until incorporated. 2. Place on a try lined with bakers paper and chill. Bake at 275F for 40-45 minutes until firm but not colored. Cool and store in an airtight container.

For the milk sorbet:
-600g full fat high quality farmers milk
-200g dry non fat milk solids
-100g corn maltodextrin
-200g sorbet base
-2 sheets gelatin
-2g sorbet stabilizer

For the sorbet base:
-1000g water
-800g caster suagr
-20g trimoline
-200g atomized glucose
( place in a pot bring to a boil and chill)

Procedure:
1. Place the milk, maltodextrin and milk powder in a blender and blend until smooth. Bloom the gelatin sheets in ice water for 10 minutes. Bring the sorbet base to a boil add the gelatin. 2. Blend the milk and slowly add in the sorbet base. Turn the blend to high and add in the sorbet stabilizer. Strain and chill in an ice bath. 3. Once cold place the mixture in a Pace Jet beaker and freeze over night.

For the green strawberry leather:
-300g green strawberries
-30g atomized glucose
-30g green strawberry pickling liquid

Procedure:
1. Place the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth. 2. Spread the mixture onto acetate and dehydrate for two hours. Remove and store in an airtight container.

For the sweet pickled green strawberriess:
-200g green strawberries
-50g white wine vinegar
-100g caster sugar
-100g water
-2 sprigs of mint

Procedure:
1. Place the sugar, water, vinegar and mint in a pot and bring to a boil. Once boiled strain the liquid into an ice bath. 2. Place the strawberries in vacuum bags 50g per bag adding 20g of liquid per bag. Seal on the highest setting ,refrigerate and reserve.

To finish:
1. Make five slits in a paper cup around the bottom. Fill the cup 1/3 of the way up with the cake batter and microwave for thirty seconds. 2. Spin the sorbet in the Paco Jet one full cycle and return to the freezer. 3. Place the cake on a place and garnish with remaining ingredients finish with the sorbet.

FURTHER INFORMATION

GWYNNETT ST./Chef Justin Hilbert
312 Graham Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11211
www.gwynnettst.com

PRESS
1. New York Times, Review by Peter Wells, April 3, 2012
2. New Yorker, Tables for Two, June 4, 2012
3. Business Week, Review by Ryan Sutton, Sept 12, 2012

NOTE: Copyright for the photos: Gwynnett St. Restaurant

Tous Droits Réservés. Copyright Scoffier © 2008-2012

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MY DOWN UNDER GARDEN-AUSTRALIAN CHEFS: JAMES PARRY/DANIEL PUSKAS

Every encounter was a wonderful discovery, but the Australian and New Zealander chefs blew me away! They have a very distinct personality and a very unique cuisine that mixes technique, technology and influences from Spain, Japan or Thailand. They are all linked in the research of the best product (produce) and the freshness of the instantaneity.

I interviewed Daniel Puskas several months ago while working with the chef Martin Benn at Sepia, it was the first time I did an interview with a “sous chef” for this series, but what a ”sous chef ”, remarkable!

And in fact, less than two years later it has just opened his own restaurant, Sixpenny with Chef James Parry.

I can say that with their roadmap and passages in the kitchen of several great chefs, it was written in the sky were our two acolytes would open their own restaurant. Puskas, it is Tetsuya’s, Zuma, Sepia and Parry it is Kwong, Barber, Aduriz, but it is at Oscillate Wildly that the two chefs worked together and promised to open a restaurant.

Just open, Sixpenny received several compliments and accolades. Sixpenny that’s more than two excellent creators, Puskas and Parry have a broader view (a reflection) on the world of gastronomy (“cuisine”) and this is reflected in their “cuisine à 4 mains”. But I recognize in the menu or the recipe attached the touch of Daniel Puskas. A perfect mastering of techniques, science and an extensive knowledge of the products. The cuisine of Sixpenny is at the service of “Nature” (local), it is a cuisine that highlight of the essence of a product.

If I were an investor, I would put money behind this is two chefs for long time. I’m certain we’ll talk about their contribution to Australian cuisine in a few years …

 

 

 

Q+A WITH JAMES PARRY/DANIEL PUSKAS ( www.sixpenny.com.au ):

1-(Scoffier) One year ago, you tell me : “My goal is to one day have my own restaurant cooking contemporary Australian food with a focus on using local suppliers. To do this, I plan to create seasonal menus and use produce from my own garden or sourced from our local suppliers who we have developed good relationships with .”And now, this is the concept behind Sixpenny? How do you explain the philosophy behind your cuisine?

DPuskas/JParry- We like to cook food that is tasty and that we are proud of. We like to enhance the flavors of the individual ingredient. We try to grow as much as possible, the more we grow the more we understand the challenges of growing this gives us a much greater respect for the ingredient.

2-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?

DPuskas– My Nana’s greens beans. She grew these in the backyard and I remember picking them with her. As a child I refused to eat any other green beans.

JParry- Family meals, my motivation to cook comes from these gatherings with my family. Knowing the joy that it brings to everyone.

3-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires your cuisine?

DPuskas– I am inspired by a variety of chefs, both local and overseas, for different reasons. Andoni, Bras and René Redzepi inspires me with their love of nature and natural approach to cooking, sourcing native and seasonal produce. On the other hand, Ferran and Albert Adria inspires me with their innovative modernist approach to cooking. They use new techniques and products to help achieve textures and tastes in food that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. Heston (Blumenthal) playful yet refined cuisine is interesting in that it creates modern dishes based on historical foods and events.

Locally, Martin Benn, Mark Best, Dan Hunter and Ben Shewry are, in my eyes, defining and shaping Australian cuisine with their distinctly unique food. I also take a lot of inspiration from my close friends/chefs. We are always chatting about what we are up to in the kitchen and offering helpful advice. Without them I wouldn’t be the chef I am today.

JParry– Inspiration comes from everywhere Chefs I’ve worked for (Andoni Aduriz, Dan Barber, Kylie Kwong) and chef friends I’ve worked alongside (Rosio Sanchez, David Toutain, Leandro Carrera) my family, and our producers people like Beth and Hayden McMillan, Richard Gunner. Reading is also very important not just cook books but about farming, food history, human history. Joel Salatin is a great leader in regenerative agriculture, his books and work are truly amazing.

4-(Scoffier) You have worked at an unique restaurant (Sepia) with an excellent chef, Martin Benn, and the restaurant has earned many accolades. What differentiates your cuisine at Sixpenny of that of Sepia?

DPuskas– Martin’s food is very modern and fun with a lot of japanese influences, at sixpenny we concentrate more on the individual ingredient. We always start by looking at whatever it is we are using for example a ‘sweet potato’ and say how can we enhance the flavor of that ingredient to make it the best tasting sweet potato you have ever eaten.

5-(Scoffier) You made a stint at Mugaritz, what did you learn of the chef Andoni Aduriz?

JParryAndoni is an amazing Chef who leads an equally amazing team. He constantly reminded us that Mugaritz is more than a restaurant it’s a way of life. The passion that drives you be a great chef should also drive you in all aspects of your life. I constantly reflect on my time in Spain, it’s was an amazing experience that will forever influence and inspire my life.

6-(Scoffier) You worked together at Oscillate Wildly, how your “cuisine” has it evolved since then?

DPuskas/JParry- Perhaps technique was at the forefront in our cooking whilst at Oscillate, now we encourage the produce to lead the way. We still use and have great interest in technique, it’s solely no longer the focus.

7-(Scoffier) How do you develop your recipes for your Tasting menu? What are your source(s) of inspiration ?

DPuskas/JParry- We look at the bare ingredient and work out how to build the dish from there, giving all ingredients equal respect (allowing a sweet potato or a baby gem lettuce to be the focus of a dish). We think about what it is that makes that ingredient unique and try and emphasize this. If the ingredient is good enough, what could we possibly do to make it better???

8-(Scoffier) I could be wrong but I found that there was an interesting search for wine in your Tasting menu? How did you select the wines?

DPuskas/JParry- As we said before with our food it all comes from local suppliers we try and carry that same idea on with our wine. 80% is from NSW and the rest is made up from around Australia.

9-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or other) that is characterized the cuisine of Sixpenny?

Recipe: Steamed Mud Crab, Silky Macadamia, Chamomile.

10-(Scoffier) What are your goals (ambitions) as chef and for your restaurant?

DPuskas/JParry- We can only hope that sixpenny grows and evolves with us, we hope that we can keep creating unique experiences and inspiring others to care a little more about the food they eat and perhaps try growing a thing or two themselves.

RECIPE: Steamed Mud Crab, Silky Macadamia, Chamomile

INGREDIENTS & PROGRESSION RECIPE
Crab
1. Put crabs to sleep before beginning the cooking process. Vac the crabs in large vac bags but first wrap in glad bake to prevent the claws punching holes in the bags. To cook steam in the combi oven set on 90°C steam until the shell turns red. On a 1200g crab this will take approximately 50 mins. Once cooked pull out of the oven and let sit at room temp for 10 mins, then in cold water for 10 mins, then in ice water for 10 mins. Once cold pick crabs and portion into 25g portions.
Macadamia Milk
-1kg macadamia nuts
-1kg water
1. Preheat oven to 160°. Determine amount of milk you want to make in weight and weigh out approximately the same amount of macadamias as the ratio is 1:1. Roast ¼ of total macadamias in the oven just until golden. Be careful not to take too far. Approx 6 mins.
2. Add the ¼ to the other ¾ and blend with the equivalent amount of water in the thermomix until completely combined. Do this in small batches if you are making a large quantity. Put into a container and allow to sit overnight.
3. The next day squeeze out the milk by placing small amounts in a superbag (or oil filter) squeezing out as much liquid as possible.
4. Vacuum seal portions in small vac bags to maximize shelf life.
Macadamias & Chamomile
-100g macadamia nuts
-Chamomile
1. Roast in oven at 160°C for approx 8 mins or until golden brown. Chop into halves.
2. Garnish with fresh Chamomile leaves and flowers.
3. Also garnish with dots of olive oil.
FURTHER INFORMATION
SIXPENNY/Chef(s) James Parry + Daniel Puskas
83 Percival Rd,
Stanmore (Sydney), NSW
info@sixpenny.com.au
PRESS
2. The Australian by John Lethlean, April 28, 2012
3. SMH by Terry Durack, March 27, 2012
NOTE: Copyright for the photos: sixpenny restaurant
Tous Droits Réservés. Copyright Scoffier © 2008-2012

MY DOWN UNDER GARDEN-NEW ZEALAND CHEFS: DAN PEARSON

Every encounter was a wonderful discovery, but the Australian and New Zealander chefs blew me away! They have a very distinct personality and a very unique cuisine that mixes technique, technology and influences from Spain, Japan or Thailand. They are all linked in the research of the best product (produce) and the freshness of the instantaneity.

I have often spoken of young chefs from Australia or New Zealand, but today I present to you a chef originally from England who adopted New Zealand and for whom, I confess, I have a “parti pris”.

Dan Pearson has brought with him to Auckland not only his culinary skills (and its British influences) but also a taste and an energy that moves things and inform people. It might be ambitious, but it is work that he does every day with its pop-up concept Egg & Spoon and Chef’s Arses Blog.

The “cuisine” of Dan Pearson is simple, accurate, completely inspired by local products. Its English roots exist but they are subtly hidden in the “aesthetics of light and colours”, the same quality that I found in Michael Meredith’s work (but differently). Perhaps it is a “New Zealand-touch”, I do not know yet …

Sometimes we meet chefs whose creativity and hard work that amazes us, sometimes they are personalities whose involvement goes beyond creativity in the kitchen … Dan Pearson is a mixture of both, definitely a chef to follow!

 

 

Q+A WITH DAN PEARSON (www.eggandspoonrestaurant.com ):

1-(Scoffier) How do you explain the philosophy behind your cuisine and what is it main characteristics?

DPearson– Good quality ingredients with great flavour; not over-complicated or masked by using too many complicated techniques when they’re not needed. Simple flavour combinations with flare. Food to me is the most important art form. Being able to make a guest smile with honesty on a plate is what matters most.

2-(Scoffier) Egg & Spoon is a pop-up concept (mobile), your goal is to open a permanent restaurant?

DPearson– Most definitely. There are a number of reasons behind the pop ups. Firstly it allows me to take my time to find the right location for Egg & Spoon, as this one detail can make or break your business, and to put to the test areas of interest and trial different ideas. Secondly, it acts as a good marketing tool in the build-up to eventual opening. Finally, it allows me to work with young up and coming chefs around the country looking for new experiences within the industry. Fingers crossed we will have a location by mid-2013.

3-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?

DPearson– I come from a very English background so I would have to say a good Sunday roast or braise, whether its pork, beef, lamb or chicken with all the extras. Roast potatoes, boiled potatoes, roast carrot and parsnips, boiled greens (normally overcooked in our house), gravy, bread sauce and stuffing, all on the table by midday and finished off with a good rhubarb or apple crumble with custard. Then, have an afternoon snooze in front of the Eastenders omnibus and prepare to enjoy round two with a leftovers sandwich and the family game of monopoly.

4-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes?

DPearsonPigs head, without a doubt. There is just so much potential for a great dish. Terrine, roast, pickled tongue, crispy ears, potted meat, skin tuille, braised cheeks, pressed jowl… Pork has such a versatile flavour that you can marry it with all the seasons.

5-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires you in your cuisine?

DPearson– My two biggest mentors are Toby Stuart, Head Chef of Roux at Parliament Square, and my chef when working at Foliage, Chris Staines.

Toby showed me his book Essential Cuisine by Michel Bras when we worked together in London. I saw the first page of recipes – boiled eggs – and all of a sudden everything I had been looking for was staring back at me. I’ll never forget that moment as it changed me as a chef forever. Toby is an amazing guy to work with and has a CV that any chef would dream of: Troisgros and Richard Neat to name a couple.

I don’t really know where to start with Chef Chris as he did so much for me whether was in my darkest hour or my finest moment. Right from the moment I walked into the kitchen on my stage I knew I was in the right place. This is a chef that promotes freedom of creativity and builds a team that values respect towards each other and our ingredients, and the all-important value of team work. This only touches briefly on the many kitchen ethics we, as a team, learned and practised daily.

I only ever intended to do my year at Foliage and move on, but chef constantly evolved with the times. With so much development there was no need to go anywhere else. I hear so many people speak of Foliage as the hidden gem of London. We achieved a rising two star in my time but never got the second. I’m still scarred by this as a lesser restaurant (in my view) got theirs – ouch. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for those two guys as they steered a rebellious little prick in the right direction.

Where else do I find inspiration (apart from the obvious Michel Bras)? Peter Gilmore of Quay in Sydney: I did a stage there in 2010 and it blew me away. I’m such a geek that I stole one of his plating-up spoons (if he reads this then I can send it back in the post…). Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park: great book. Juan Mari (The Wizard) Arzak, Pierre Gagnaire everyone in the top fifty, everyone in every Michelin guide… the list is endless as my favourite hobby is searching for food porn.

6-(Scoffier) Michael Meredith (Meredith’s) told me that the New Zealand scene was very young and vibrant. Since your arrival (2009), do you perceive a New Zealand signature in the world of the gastronomy?

DPearson– The New Zealand food scene is indeed very young and vibrant. This has its pros and cons.

Pros: New Zealand is untouched soil in terms of recognition for its gastronomy. When people think of New Zealand they think of three things: rugby, Lord of the Rings and sheep. This is great for chefs like me and my friends as that means there is not that much fierce competition or rivalry in order to be recognised. All of the up and coming chefs here whether from NZ or abroad all get along very well and work with each other on a regular basis to further our own skills, share ideas, produce contacts, training for younger chefs and more than anything have fun working together.

Cons: Cheffing is on the skills shortage list, some areas of the catering education system is not as fine-tuned as it could be, you can count on one hand how many restaurants could really compete with the big boys overseas, we don’t have a trusted guide system or an internationally recognised guide that would help bring in a higher quality of staff, which in turn would give the chefs of New Zealand’s future a better education (and prevent them from going overseas for training and in turn risk them not coming back because of all of the above). It’s a vicious circle and a problem that isn’t going to be solved overnight.
It would be great to see a New Zealand restaurant amongst the crowd of top dogs, but in terms of New Zealand finding a signature within the world of gastronomy I think we’re going to have to wait a few years.

7-(Scoffier) How do you develop your recipes? What are your source(s) of inspiration ?

DPearson– Some recipes are developed over time, some made up on the spot and some are untouched from when they were passed onto me through the kitchens I have worked in. I carry a sketch book with me everywhere I go as inspiration is all around us on a day to day basis. My brain never unplugs from thinking about food so when I get an idea I need to document it straight away through fear of forgetting or getting lost amongst the thousand other things I’m thinking about.

I have sketch books dating back to almost a decade ago now and it’s a great way to record self-development. There are some dishes that I still go back to and develop on paper, with maybe ten different versions of one dish spaced over a decade, and it’s still not what I’m after.

Books are a great source of inspiration; I’ve stopped counting how many I have. Not just the pretty, new ones either. The earliest cookbook I own so far dates back to nineteen sixteen. I am a firm believer that we wouldn’t have the new without the old and I find it very interesting just how far recipes have developed within a century.

Going out to dinner, doing stages, online food porn, talking with other chefs, planting veges in the garden, going to the markets…

And the biggest inspiration of all has to be as simple as being in the kitchen. It’s the one place where I’m never fidgety as there is always something to do.

8-(Scoffier) You are a very important (assiduous) contributor to the blog Chef’s Arse, what is the purpose of the blog? And, currently, what are you interested (books, chefs, trends, countries etc.) in gastronomy?

DPearson– The main purpose of my blog is to feed the brains of the young chefs of New Zealand. I have taught and spoke to so many talented individuals here that have no idea about what is going on in world of food. No idea about Michelin, top fifty, Ferran Adria, Escoffier, modern techniques such as sous-vide, and much, much more.

Industry-related media here is more aimed at the foodie or the advanced home cook rather than people like myself that want to look at food porn, want to know who’s the best, who’s up and coming, read about controversial topics of debate and new techniques, but more than anything just to be inspired.

I enjoy the foodie magazines that we have here but I am a thirty-one year old food geek and I know how to appreciate them. Is the young spotty kid working in a burger van in the dog-arse end of nowhere buying these magazines to be inspired? And if they are just what standard is it showing and setting them?

I started off in a burger van and I didn’t have anyone showing me material like we have on the blog. If I did I think the path I would have taken to get to where I am now would have been a lot less complicated. But the simple truth of it is that I just didn’t know such things existed. There are a lot of young kids over here in that same situation and if my blog manages to help or inspire just one of them then I know I’m on the right track and giving back to the industry.

9-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or other) that is characterized the cuisine of Dan Pearson?

DPearsonRecipe: Apricot, lamb fat, wild radish

10-(Scoffier) What is your goal (ambitions) as chef? Do you think about write a book, a television show, others?

DPearson– World domination!! Only joking. My main goals are to just carry on playing with food. Egg & Spoon for me has always been an ever growing idea, an evolving creative process without any restrictions and I want it to continue in that vein and be able to look back over the years (like I do with my sketch books) and see its evolution.

I would love for Michelin to bring out an Australasia guide as that would really raise the bar over here. I’m super competitive and what better way to harness that energy by setting yourself goals of a high standard. I have three empty stars tattooed on my arm and I want at least two coloured in before I hang my whites up.

I would love to do a cookbook. All my friends are in one except for me, so I think having my own is the only way it’s going to happen…

The one thing that makes me push on more than anything and the one goal I want to achieve the most is that when my daughter Alice sees all the things I do, that she is proud to call me her Dad.

RECIPE: Apricot, lamb fat, wild radish

INGREDIENT & PROGRESSION RECIPE

1. Smoked lamb fat – take fridge temperature lamb fat (roasted/clarified) and put in a cold smoker. For smoking chips Manuka wood is a favourite but you can also manipulate the flavour and scent by the addition of other dry ingredients, i.e. lavender, rosemary, tea leaves, spices etc. Once the fat has been lightly infused, melt and keep at a warm temperature.

2. Apricots – the fruit should be served at room temperature, not just for this dish but as a general rule. When you put fridge temp food in your mouth the first thing your brain will register is that it’s cold and only second to this will be the flavour, if it’s in your mouth long enough. Also we don’t want the lamb fat to solidify around the apricot upon soaking them, we want the apricot to soak it up like a sponge so when we put it in our mouths there’s a gentle explosion of flavours and aromas.

3. Chilli salt – put your safely sourced seawater into a double boiler and reduce over a long period of time. Once your salt crystals have formed and chilled, mix with freshly ground red chillies to a 4-1 ratio.

4. Other ingredients – wild radish flowers and beans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, grain mustard and wheatgrass.

 

FURTHER INFORMATION

EGG & SPOON/Chef-owner Dan Pearson

Auckland, New Zealand

info@eggandspoonrestaurant.com

Chef’s Arse blog

Facebook Egg & Spoon

1. Fine dining at the White Lady, May 2012, Auckland Now

2. Eat Here Now, April 2012

 

 

(THANKS AT TYSON SUTTON FOR THE PHOTOS. © TYSON SUTTON.)

Tous Droits Réservés. Copyright Scoffier ©2008-2012.

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THE ÉLECTRONS LIBRES TAKE -2–AMERICAN CHEFS: FREDRIK BERSELIUS/RICHARD KUO

The Électrons Libres, is a group of chefs that are as individual or a leaders of a group have taken a unique route that goes beyond the learning process. Their philosophy transforms the cuisine of the present time as well as the cuisine of the future in a specific area (place) or country. Sometimes they are the leaders of a culinary movement but often, they are alone in their search.

This pop-up concept, more and more permanent, comes from the chefs Fredrik Berselius and Richard Kuo. Two chefs, one from Stockholm and the other raised in Australia, who decided after passages from among the best chefs (Per Se, WD-50 and Corton) to start their own restaurant. A small space of 18 chairs in Williamsburg where you can enjoy a tasting menu for $ 45!

It is said Frej is a “Nordic cuisine in NYC”, I would rather say after talking to Fredrik Berselius that the two chefs have a unique creativity influenced by certain characteristics of the “New Nordic Cuisine”, by excellent basic techniques and by their environment (New York, producers etc.). A “cuisine” that makes me sometimes think at James Lowe & Isaac McHale (London).

…Or when New York becomes the meeting point of Sweden, Australia and … products of New York State, this gives Frej’s cuisine!

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Q+A WITH FREDRIK BERSELIUS/RICHARD KUO (www.frejnyc.com ):

1-(Scoffier) How do you explain the philosophy behind your cuisine at Frej?

FBerselius/RKuo- Our food is simple and local, the flavors are heavily influenced by Scandinavia. Cooking techniques are mixed of old traditional ways and modern new ones. We wanted to serve a meal in a way we like to eat and make it more accessible to younger people and others who normally don’t go out and eat tasting menus.
We focus on trying to build relationships with suppliers who are passionate about what they do. We try and work with directly small producers rather than working with big distributers, working with people who can help us understand what they do best and in turn we learn how to understand our products better.

2-(Scoffier) Can we feel your origins in the concept? (Is there a bit of Australia and Sweden in your cuisine…)

FBerselius/RKuo- Because we want to work with local ingredients and believe there are many similarities between New York, the Northeast and Sweden, having a Scandinavian approach wasmost natural. Australia has amazing produce, seafood and meat, the overall knowledge just help us understand the quality of ingredients better.

3-(Scoffier) Frej is a pop-up concept, the goal is to open a permanent restaurant?

FBerselius/RKuo- Our goal was always to open a restaurant but when things didn’t work out as planned this approach was the second best. We planned for a restaurant and adapted Frej to being a food concept within an existing space. We wanted to look at it as a collaboration with a space or bar until we found our own place. People soon started calling it a pop up because we did not know how long we would exist there.

4-(Scoffier) I had the chance to do several interviews with excellent chefs for two years, and most have made a stint in New York but they left to open their restaurant in their country… Why New York, what do you like?

FBerselius/RKuo- Its hard not to fall in love with NYC. There are so many great things about this place but eventually it always seem to turn into a love hate relationship. So many good things out weigh the bad stuff but working in NYC can be hard and tiring. You very likely work very long days, don’t do much other than work and sleep and when you want a vacation you quit your job :). European chefs are often here on a visa that is difficult to renew. I worked with so many great people who left NY not liking it very much, totally burned out, just to come back a few months later visiting.. and wanting to move back.

5-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?

FBerselius/RKuo- There are so many flavors from child hood. I miss things like wild strawberries and milk in the summer or a house that smell of baked bread. Or simply being able to pick mushrooms or go fishing a few minutes from your house.

6-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires your cuisine?

FBerselius/RKuo- There are so many people who inspire us. I don’t have that there is one mentor out there but there are always memories of those moments when a chef tell you something.. and it gets stuck in your head. So every time you peel your carrot you or chuck on oyster you can hear your chef standing behind you saying them words again. Many of the the people who have influenced us are just amazing cooks we have worked with in other restaurants.

7-(Scoffier) How do you develop your recipes for your menu? What are your source(s) of inspiration ?

FBerselius/RKuo- Dishes normally grow over a period of time but we also try and change menu often enough to keep ourselves motivated. Our food start out simple with a look at whats around us, in the garden or market or in the wild. There is always an idea of what will be available at a certain time a year so we plan around that. Then there are cases where we buy a whole animal and you have to figure out what to do with all the parts. A dish can grow from a memory of food or memory of an experience or just trying to figure out an ingredient or animal part.

8-(Scoffier) Some describe your cuisine like “Nordic cuisine”, is this possible in New York?

FBerselius/RKuo- Because we want to work with local ingredients and because we believe there are so many similarities between New York and the areas north of New York and Sweden, having a scandinavian approach was the most natural thing to do.

9-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or other) that is characterized the cuisine of Frej?

FBerselius/RKuo-Recipe: Sunchoke, pear, hazelnut, beef liver.

10-(Scoffier) What are your goals (ambitions) as chef and for your restaurant?

FBerselius/RKuo- We want to try and push Frej forward. We want to do everything better everyday. Building better relationships with our suppliers and people we work with help. We are working on new plates with our pottery lady Jane Herold.
We are finding better and fresher fish with our fish lady. We are making little steps but trying to make them in the right direction.

RECIPE: Sunchoke, Pear, Hazelnut, Beef liver (no photo for this recipe)

INGREDIENTS & INSTRUCTIONS

-2 Kg sunchokes

-500g beef liver

-115g shallot, sliced

-25g sugar

-40g apple cider vinegar

-Thyme

-Salt

-200g veal stock

-150g pork stock

-30g butter

-Oil for cooking

-2 Bosc pear

-200 g Elderflower vinegar

-100 g Sugar

-300 gwater

-Fresh hazelnuts

-Hazelnut oil

Sunchokes:

1. Scrub and wash sunchokes. Peel skin into big strips and keep in ice water.

2. Place flesh in bag with oil and season. Cook in bag at 93 celcius until tender. Puree and check seasoning.

3. Blanch skin in salted water until translucent. Shock in ice bath. Dry skin in dehydrator for 5 hours or overnight. Toss with hazelnut oil and salt.

Beef liver:

1. Clean liver and dice into 2 cm cubes. Sear in hot pan in oil until you get color, transfer liver to cold tray and chill. In the same pan add shallot and butter and cook until soft. Add sugar and thyme and let caramelize lightly.

2. Deglaze with vinegar and stock (Reduce by 1/3).

3. Cool cooking liquid to room temp and mix with cool liver at full speed until sauce consistency.

4. Pass through a fine sieve and season. Keep sauce at 54 celcius.

Pear:

1. Peel pear. Slice pear 2 mm thick slices and cut with a small ring cutter. Bring sugarand water to a boil and add vinegar. Pour over pear and let cool. Cover and let sit for at least one week.

Hazelnut:

1. Clean hazelnut of skin and blacken them lightly with a torch. Season with hazelnut oil and salt.

Serve:

Arrange proportionate amounts of sunchoke puree and sauce to pear and hazelnut on plate. Add skin and thyme. Finish with hazelnut oil.

FURTHER INFORMATION

FREJ (inside Kinfolk)/Chef (s) Fredrik Berselius+Richard Kuo

90 Wythe Ave (North 11 street)

Brooklyn/NYC

New York

PRESS

1. NY Times (Review by Peter Wells), May 8, 2012

2.Eater interview (by Gabe Ulla), April 6, 2012

NOTE: Copyright for the photo ©Frej.

Tous Droits Réservés. Copyright Scoffier ©2008-2012</p

THE ÉLECTRONS LIBRES-ITALIAN CHEF: YOJI TOKUYOSHI

The Électrons Libres, is a group of chefs that are as individual or a leaders of a group have taken a unique route that goes beyond the learning process. Their philosophy transforms the cuisine of the present time as well as the cuisine of the future in a specific area (place) or country. Sometimes they are the leaders of a culinary movement but often, they are alone in their search.

It is rare that I present a Second (Sous chef) in this series, but there are exceptions and Yoji Tokuyoshi is!

As Second of great chef Massimo Bottura, Yoji has a chance to evolve in an environment dedicated to products, traditions and above all, creativity. For a passionate chef, curious and loves to experiment, it is hard to find better.

Chef Yoji Tokuyoshi was born in Tottori (Southern Japan) in a family of pharmacists spanning six generations. Being the first to become a chef in the family, he has always been considered the black sheep. Beyond his learning in Japan and his work at the Osteria Francescana (over 6 years), the chef made an internship at El Bulli in 2009.

His cuisine is (slightly) the meeting or the clash between the best products of Italy and its Japanese roots, not to mention the influence of Massimo Bottura! What gives a particular aesthetic, precise, maybe inspired by the art of photography (one of his passions).

Differently, but a bit like Katsumi Ishida in France (Lyon), we do not know if it’s Italy who met Tokuyoshi (and Japan) or the opposite, what we know is that there was a magic moment! A chef to follow…

 

 

 

Q+A WITH YOJI TOKUYOSHI (www.osteriafrancescana.it ):

1-(Scoffier) How do you explain the philosophy behind your cuisine and what is it main characteristics?

YTokuyoshi– My creative process is spontaneous. As I work I get an idea and an inspiration is born. It all happens while touching the ingredients, repeating a gesture or reflecting on my  everyday work. From there, I try to develop the plate using the techniques that I think is necessary to achieve the objective that I have. But that might not be the end of the it. A plate is never done until I stop asking what I could add or remove to this plate.

2-(Scoffier) How and why did you choose to work with Massimo Bottura?

YTokuyoshi- It was definitely fate. I was about to leave Italy because after an internship at a restaurant in Umbria because I had not found a job in any of the restaurants that I had called. I only had € 50 and a return ticket in my pocket before arriving at Malpensa,when I saw an italian guide of restaurants (L’Espresso), I used my last euros to purchased the guide and randomly selected a name in the guide. Guess what? It’s been seven years and I am still there.

3-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?

YTokuyoshi- Obviously, I am Japanese, the ingredients that my grandmother prepared at home: Tofu, Miso, Soy Sauce … but the thing I really remember most clearly is a simple sweet, perfectly ripe strawberries just flatten with the spoon in milk and little sugar.

4-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes?

YTokuyoshi- Frankly, I prefer to use ingredients that I find at 10km and less from here. Idea move, not the plants…

5-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires your cuisine?

YTokuyoshi- Massimo Bottura! Only him, I like his philosophical approach to cooking.

6-(Scoffier) Is there a movement or a chef as you watch carefully now?

YTokuyoshi- I like those who combine a great idea with the local ingredients, those traditions have often forgotten. The chefs as Alex Atala in Brazil or René Redzepi in Denmark.

7-(Scoffier) How do you develop (inspirations) your recipes and how did you work with chef Bottura (creative process)?

YTokuyoshi- As I said in my first response, the creative process comes from work everyday, when I am able to give shape to the plate, then I brought it to Massimo because he is the last stage before the final fulfillment.

8-(Scoffier) I look the photography of your dish (at Osteria Francescana) and you have a really particular and great aesthetics, food enters in the world of art. It’s important for you to have a theatrical presentation of your dish?

YTokuyoshi– For me, it is fundamental, any means by which the pot can be used to communicate. Surely that the beauty is decisive in the success of the dish itself.

9-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or other) that is characterized the cuisine of Yoji Tokuyoshi?

YTokuyoshi- Recipe: Probably my signature dish was presented in May (2011) at the Loft Project: Blood and Ash.

10-(Scoffier) What are your goals (ambitions) as chef? Do you think about write a book, a television show, a restaurant, others?

YTokuyoshi- I want to become a chef that influence the work of young chefs who look at me as an example. I would go on television to explain how you can cook at home easily and the result is tasty.

RECIPE: Blood & Ash (no photo for this recipe)

For the ash ice cream

-Milk 300g

-Cream 200g

-150g Black truffle (just the outside, earthy side)

-50g vegetable ash (completely burnt parsley, celery, laurel)

-Glucose syrup 50g

-Egg white 30g

1. Make an infusion of one night of the milk and cream with ashes and truffles. Bring it to 80 °C and then leaving to cool to room temperature.

 2. Once cooled, blend very well, pass through a sieve, add the egg whites and put everything in a Pacojet.

For the strawberry concentrated

-500ml of high quality strawberry juice concentrate to 100 ml in the Rotavapor.

Cocoa bisquits

-50g cocoa pure cocoa powder

-200g flour

-70g butter

-80g sugar

-1 egg

1. Mix the powders then add the egg and the melt butter. Roll out the dough on a baking tray and bake 8 minutes at 180 °C. Let it cool and crumble slightly.

2. We served the ice cream over a few crumbles of cocoa bisquits and finished with a splash of strawberry concentrated (fake blood).

3. This dish was created in homage to Wimbledon (cream, strawberries and grass), working on my memory of strawberries and milk from my childhood.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Osteria Francescana/Chef Massimo Bottura, Sous Chef Yoji Tokuyoshi

Via Stella, 22

41121, Modena (Italia)

Osteria Francescana

PRESS

1. Fulgurances Paris (video by Lotta Jorgensen), Oct. 2011

2. Another Mag (review Loft Project), June 2011

NOTE: Copyright for the photo ©Per-Anders Jorgensen

Tous Droits Réservés. Copyright Scoffier ©2008-2012

THE GAME-BRITISH & SCOTTISH CHEFS: OLLIE DABBOUS

The Brits have been preparing for some time the after Marco Pierre White cuisine. Not that there is a british style but we can certainly say that the emerging chefs are pro-locavore and that they are sourcing the best products of the island of Albion. In the very cosmopolitan London, the influences of young chefs are many, which give them a unique culinary personality.

Just open the restaurant Dabbous (with the mixologist Oskar Kinberg) has already received several accolades. It was written in the sky that this young chef with an impressive career would one day open his own restaurant.

Indeed, after starting with Raymond Blanc (Manoir aux Quat’Saisons) and worked with Claude Bosi (Hibiscus), Ollie Dabbous has done stints with influential chefs: Andoni Aduriz, Pascal Barbot, Heston Blumenthal, Wylie Dufresne, Pierre Gagnaire, René Redzepi. Before eventually becoming Head chef of Texture.

This is at Texture that has developed and refined a unique cuisine, pure, natural, elegant based on an undeniable sense of creativity. There are a lot of light and the research of flavors in her cuisine, just to see a dish now recognized as Fig Leaf Ice Cream or the recipe below Celeriac with Moscatel Grapes, Burnet, and Toasted Hazelnuts.

Despite a desire to be casual and unpretentious, he hides in Dabbous a great chef!

 

 

 

 

Q+A WITH OLLIE DABBOUS (www.dabbous.co.uk ):

1-(Scoffier) How do you explain the philosophy behind your cuisine and what is it main characteristics? What is the concept behind Dabbous?

ODabbous– Simply to make the food taste as good as it possibly can, in the most restrained and natural way.

The restaurant and bar were always intended to be mutually conducive to a fun night out as opposed to just a meal out. We hope to offer stripped-down fine-dining, devoid of any pretension or ceremony, served in atmospheric surroundings by a friendly and enthusiastic front of house team. Nothing more, nothing less.

2-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?

ODabbous– Feels like a long time ago now! I’ve always loved bananas and custard.

3-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes?

ODabbous– Perilla, camomile, lemon verbena, acorn syrup, fig leaves, sea vegetables, virgin rapeseed oil, various teas, fennel pollen, grains and cereals, smoked butter.

4-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires your cuisine?

ODabbous– Inspiration comes simply from the ingredients, then pursuing how to make them taste as good as they possibly can. Sometimes that takes a lot of work, sometimes very little.

5-(Scoffier) You have developed a unique signature at Texture and the restaurant has earned many accolades. What differentiates the cuisine of Dabbous to that of Texture?

ODabbous– Firstly, Texture is 100% Aggi’s creation, and I’m not taking any of the credit for what he and Xavier have achieved. That is their signature, though I hope I was of some help setting up the restaurant and laying the foundations of what is now a thriving establishment. I’m delighted to see them doing so well after what were initially hard times. They should both be very proud.

The cooking at Dabbous and Texture is very different, though we share many fundamental priorities: such as sourcing, clarity of flavour, lightness and seasonality.

6-(Scoffier) How do you develop your recipes for your Tasting menu? What are your source(s) of inspiration (Nature, team…)?

ODabbous– There are various ratios that always work for salt/fat/acid/sugar/starch, whatever you are making, which form the building blocks foéér my recipes. Then just persistent refinement and improvement until you are happy enough for the dish to leave the kitchen. I’ll never serve anything I haven’t eaten. Then should anyone not like it, that is their prerogative.

7-(Scoffier) Question of chef…. I look at your menu and I saw Beef tartar with Cigar oil, Whiskey & Rye. Everything is about balance, but (I am curious) how do you create your cigar oil and you balance it all?

ODabbous– This dish came from a desire to create a slower-building, earthier warmth than black pepper or horseradish give a tartar. We combine whisky, honey, virgin rapeseed oil and toasted cigar to create a seasoning that is at once nutty, smokey and earthy, with a warmth and spiciness from the whisky and cigar. The dish sounds bombastic but is actually far more subtle than it reads.

8-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or other) that is characterized the cuisine of Ollie Dabbous?

ODabbousRecipe: Celeriac with Moscatel Grapes, Burnet, and Toasted Hazelnuts

9-(Scoffier) What are your goals (ambitions) as chef and for your restaurant? Do you think about write a book, a television show, others?

ODabbous– To have a steady team both front of house and in the kitchen that enjoy what they do and are proud to work there. You are only as good as the people you employ, and a working environment based on pride, not fear, underpins that. I’m lucky to have the team in place that I do; I just want to improve the working hours for everyone as it is overwhelming right now. That is my most immediate goal.

I don’t care for awards or accolades: as long as the customers have a good time and I am happy with the food I serve, then that is enough. This job is too hard to do forever. I’ll do this for a while then disappear and set up another business doing something completely different, though most likely design-based.

RECIPE: Celeriac with Moscatel Grapes, Burnet, and Toasted Hazelnuts
INGREDIENTS & PROGRESSION RECIPE
-1 Celeriac
-1 Lemon
-100g Extra virgin olive oil (fruity as opposed to peppery)
-50g Moscatel grapes
-5g Moscatel vinegar
-1/2 bun Salad burnet
-50g Toasted hazelnuts, lightly seasoned
-Salt
1. On a Japanese mandolin, cut fine lengths of the celeriac, as wide as possible, just 2mm thick.
2. Blanch for 10 seconds in simmering salted water (30g/1l) then refresh in salted ice water (30g/1l). Dry on a tea towel.
3. Juice the trimmings, bring to just under a boil to clarify, then pass through double muslin and chill over ice. Season very lightly with salt and lemon juice.
4. Halve the grapes, deseed, and add a single drop of moscatel vinegar to each half.
Assembly
1. Dress the celeriac sheets very lightly with salt, lemon and olive oil, then divide between 4 bowls, along with the grapes and hazelnuts. These elements must all be room temperature.
2. Top with burnet leaves, and pour in the chilled celeriac juice (ice cold).
(Incredibly simple, yet far more than the sum of its parts).
FURTHER INFORMATION
DABBOUS RESTAURANT & BAR/Chef-owner Ollie Dabbous
39 Whitfield Street
London (UK)
W1T 2SF
PRESS/LINKS
1. Review, The Independant, February 26, 2012
2. Fay Maschler/review, The Evening Standard, February 2, 2012
3. The Skinny Bib Blog (review), January 23, 2012
(Credits for the photos: Restaurant Dabbous)
Tous Droits Réservés. Copyright Scoffier ©2008-2012

THE ÉLECTRONS LIBRES TAKE -2–AMERICAN CHEF: DOMINIQUE CRENN

The Électrons Libres, is a group of chefs that are as individual or a leaders of a group have taken a unique route that goes beyond the learning process. Their philosophy transforms the cuisine of the present time as well as the cuisine of the future in a specific area (place) or country. Sometimes they are the leaders of a culinary movement but often, they are alone in their search.

In the USA, San Francisco occupies a unique place in the world of gastronomy. Aside from being the birthplace of different culinary movements and the place of the ‘’locavores’’, San Francisco has seen very talented chefs emerge.

(La) chef Dominique Crenn is one of those chefs that go beyond the trend bistronomie-locavore-casual. With its French roots and his travels, the chef decided last year to open L’Atelier Crenn, a fine dining restaurant with a tasting menu inspired and constantly evolving.

We can say that Dominique Crenn took classes at the restaurant Luce (Intercontinental Hotel, San Francisco) with a passage at the Intercontinental of Jakarta. Despite her star (Étoile) to Luce, it’s never easy to develop a unique signature with the obligations of a hotel restaurant. This is one reason for the opening of Atelier Crenn last year.

The chef who had the good fortune to grow up between the French countryside (Brittany) and great cuisine, with a politician father and epicurean, has developed a cuisine inspired by her memories of childhood and nature. A cuisine with a very high level of technical (French & Molecular), but where it remains “Technique”! Nature, the aromas, the purity of flavors remain the masters. This is a cuisine where we dive into the “essence” of the chef Crenn, in her poetry, her memories.

Definitely an experience to try with a chef in constant evolution!

 

 

 

 

Q+A WITH DOMINIQUE CRENN (www.ateliercrenn.com ):

1-(Scoffier) How do you explain the philosophy behind your cuisine and what is it main characteristics? What is the concept behind Atelier Crenn?

DCrenn– The concept of Atelier Crenn is a workshop. When I was little, my late father had a studio that he called Atelier Papa Crenn.” I loved spending time there, and learning about art. The space is an homage to that memory. The philosophy of our cuisine is French Moderne. I have aways been inspired by the imperfection of nature. My plates are organic in their nature, they give a sense of place. I want to create more than a great meal, I want to create an experience.

2-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood in France that is again memorable?

DCrenn– When I was little, I would spend the summer on a potato farm. We would dig the potatoes out of the earth, and cook them over a fire in that same hole. This is a strong memory of mine, and therefore have created a dish called New Potatoes, “Memoire d’Enfance”. It is a dish that constantly evolves with seasonal ingredients, but always centered around the humble potato- I pull flavor combinations from my childhood and update them.

3-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes?

DCrenn– I love vegetables. The bounty of nature is always so inspiring. Even though I may manipulate the forms of them, I still focus on keeping the integrity of the vegetable.

4-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires your cuisine?

DCrennMichel Bras and Olivier Roellinger have inspired me ever since I began showing an interest in food.

5-(Scoffier) You work as a chef for the Intercontinental Hotel in Jakarta. What remains (in your cuisine) of the Indonesian experience?

DCrenn– I still subscribe to a very asian influenced method of dining. I prefer to have many small courses, that tell a story, rather than a large plate of food. It is about balance, both within the plate itself, and over the course of the meal.

6-(Scoffier) How do you develop your recipes for your Tasting menu? What are your source(s) of inspiration?

DCrenn– I love my tasting menu, like I said earlier, I draw my inspirations though memories, so that I can create a sense of place. To have a piece of trout on a plate is not enough. Why is that trout there? What else would be around the trout in it’s natural environment? It is drawing from influences, cultures, and places.

7-(Scoffier) I saw your menu and your recipe “Walk in the Forest”. Have you been influenced by René Redzepi and also, what we call “Natural cuisine movement” ?

DCrenn– I think that René and I have similar ways of thinking. The natural cuisine movement is a very complex way of thinking. If you look at the cuisine that René puts out, it can be so whimsical and tounge in cheek. I love that, but it’s not my particular style. I like to draw on emotions, on memories. A Walk in the Forest, for example- it is intended to give the experience of wandering through a dark forest, foraging for food. There is a whiff of smoke (was there a forest fire nearby?), there are oil and herbs mixed in with all these different fungi, just as they would be in nature. I love that dish!

8-(Scoffier) San Francisco is one of the most dynamic and creative city in USA for the restaurant’s scene. In your opinion, what makes such city so unique (“culinairement parlant”)?

DCrenn– I feel that for a while, San Francisco was stuck in the “California cuisine” movement. There is nothing wrong with that style, but there needs to be variety. If you look at a city like San Sebastian, there are so many great chefs that are pushing boundaries, and creating amazing dishes. I think that the new generation of chefs here in San Francisco are starting to think the same way. It is very refreshing to see a variety of new cuisines starting to take shape in this city. I feel that San Francisco will become a top dining destination in the world, very soon.

9-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or other) that is characterized the cuisine of Dominique Crenn?

DCrennRecipe: Walk in the Forest

10-(Scoffier) What are your goals (ambitions) as chef and for your restaurant? Do you think about write a book, a television show, others?

DCrenn– I am currently working on a book. It will not be a recipe-based book, however. I want to highlight the creative process that occurs, when two chefs collaborate. It will be about the dialogues, the processes, the merging of creative minds. I am very excited.

RECIPE: WALK IN THE FOREST

20120227-085846.jpg

INGREDIENTS & PROGRESSION RECIPE
Pine Meringue: 200g sugar-50g water-125 g egg whites-Pine extract
-Pumpernickel Soil: 5 pieces pumpernickel bread-1 g salt
-Hazelnut Praline: 200 g blanched filberts-300 g blended oil
-Sorrel Oil: 4 bu sorrel-150 g blended oil
-Foraged Mushrooms: clean wild mushrooms
-Mushroom Paper: 100 g mushroom puree-50 g isomalt
1. In a pot combine sugar and water until it reaches 121 degrees Celsius. At the same time in a kitchen aid mixer whip egg whites until medium peak. Combine syrup with the egg whites slowly, then mix at full speed until a stiff peak is formed. While mixer is going add in 7-10 drops of pine extract for flavor.
2. Toast pumpernickel until completely dried out. In a robot coupe, grind bread and salt to make a soil.
3. Blanch hazelnuts in oil for about 15 minutes. Spin entire contents of the pot in a vita mix until very smooth, season with salt. Should be the consistency of a very loose peanut butter.
4. In a vita mix combine sorrel and oil, then strain through a coffee filter and fine sieve for 24 hours.
5. Save the bits and pieces from cleaning and trimming your wild mushrooms. Put them in a pot with a little olive oil, thyme, garlic, and shallot. Deglaze with sherry vinegar.
6. Once mushrooms are cooked, puree in a vita mix and and season with salt. Use this for garnish on the plate and mushroom paper.
7. Combine isomalt and puree and bring to a boil. Spread thinly on a sheet of acetate and dehydrate for 8 hours.
-Chickpea Paper: 100 g chickpea puree-50 g isomalt
-Dehydrated Mushrooms: 50 g isomalt-100 g water-24 ea thinly sliced wild mushrooms
1. Boil dried chickpeas until soft, then puree and season with salt. Combine with isomalt and bring to a boil. Spread a thin layer on acetate and dehydrate for 8 hours.
2. Bring isomalt and water to a boil. Dip mushrooms in solution and set on acetate. Dehydrate for 3 hours until crispy.
FURTHER INFORMATION
ATELIER CRENN/Chef Dominique Crenn
3127 Filmore Street
San Francisco, CA
PRESS/LINKS
1. Clout & About, July 2011
(NOTE: Credit for the photos: Atelier Crenn)

Tous Droits Réservés. Copyright Scoffier ©2008-2012