Posts tagged chef spotlight

Chef Q&A: Joseph George of Grand Traverse Resort & Spa

Chef Joseph George

Chef Joseph George

I’m still pondering some Thanksgiving tweaks for this year. What about a little pumpkin in the potatoes? I recently spoke with Chef Joseph George, executive chef at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa in Acme, Michigan who shared some foodie insights as well as a recipe or two.

What three ingredients do you always keep stocked in your pantry?

At home you can always find different types of cheeses like brie, chevre and baby bell which I love eat with rustic breads from local bakeries. I also drink lots of orange juice with eggs, deli meats for sandwiches and cereals.

Your favorite meal to make or serve?

My favorite meal to make is braised short ribs. The there are several cooking techniques involved, which I love, from marinating to searing, to braising to proper cooling so the meat stays moist. You can make this dish multidimensional by pairing it up with several different types of sides.

We all have a favorite indulgence, for a chef like you it must be something spectacular?

I have a sweet tooth. When I indulge, I go for the chocolates in life. I enjoy a rich smooth chocolate infused with different flavors in a truffle or a bon bon. It is quite a treat so I love to analyze it, is it smooth, is it flavorful, is it tempered correctly and the list goes on.

What’s one of your worst cooking mistakes?

One of my worst cooking mistakes happened when I was 19 trying to force my knife through an onion. The knife was dull, slipped and I cut myself pretty bad.  Needless to say, I am a big advocate of sharp knives from then on out since most injuries occur with dull knives, not sharp ones.

There are so many great Michigan-made food products, what is your pick?

My favorite is a new one I just discovered this year and that is the honey cream line from Sleeping Bear Farms. It is a richer form of honey that they produce plain, with lemon or cherry. Great product for home and for a professional kitchen.

What do you suggest for first-timers to Grand Traverse Resort & Spa? What menu item should they make sure to try?

When staying at the hotel or a local going out to dine I highly recommend eating breakfast in Sweetwater bistro and ordering my favorite salmon Benedict. For dinner I would go right to the top of the tower in Aerie Restaurant and Lounge to try the Tuna Tartaki appetizer followed by the Maytag Encrusted Filet.

Yield:  6 servings

Spiced Sirloin:
6 Sirloin Steaks
1 c. quatre espice – (equal parts ground: ginger, cinnamon, white pepper, nutmeg, clove)
2 T. bacon fat
Salt

Pat dry all steaks.  Season steaks with salt, rub generously with quatre espice.  In a large sauté pan, sear both sides of steaks in bacon fat until dark brown.  Roast in oven on roasting rack for 10-12 minutes (medium steak), more or less for different temperatures.

Pumpkin Potato Gratin:

1 quart heavy cream
1 16oz. can pumpkin puree
8 peeled Idaho potatoes
1 T. nutmeg mixed with 1 T. cinnamon
Salt and pepper
1 pound grated parmesan Reggiano

Grease a 9×13 baking pan.  In a small container, mix pumpkin puree, cream and cinnamon mixture.  On a mandolin, slice potatoes very thin, layer potato, cream mixture, salt and pepper then parmesan.  Continue again until pan is full to the top.  Bake covered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes (or until soft all the way through), bake uncovered for an additional 10 minutes until golden brown.  Let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes before cutting.

Mushroom Braised Swiss Chard:

8 stalks Swiss chard – julienned
4 pints button mushrooms – sliced
3 peeled shallots – diced
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 head garlic cut in half
Salt and pepper
12 oz. white wine
½ pound butter
Juice of 2 lemons

In a medium rondo pan, place mushrooms, shallots, thyme, garlic, wine, butter and lemon cook on medium heat covered for approx. 15 minutes.  The mushrooms should release a good amount of liquid, at this time, add the Swiss chard and simmer for 5-7 minutes covered.  Strain and serve.

Assembly:
Cut potato gratin into squares, place over braised Swiss chard/mushroom mixture.  Slice sirloin next to potatoes, cover again with Swiss chard and more mushrooms.  Garnish with fried onions, shaved Reggiano or fresh vegetables.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Chef Q&A: Thai Bistro’s Lada Sripinyo

Photo credit: Barron

Years ago when our family moved from New York to Michigan a friend told us we had to try the Thai Bistro in Canton. Italian food. Chinese food. Mexican food. Japanese food. I’d already learned that I liked to sample a variety of flavors. But I’d never had Thai fare, with its spicy-sweet sauces, rich curries and tender noodles. The first time we went to Thai Bistro, I ordered the drunken noodles. I was hooked.

The owner and chef of Thai Bistro, Lada Sripinyo moved from Thailand to the U.S. in 1968 and at the urging of a friend opened the restaurant in 1994. “I said, ‘Sure, why not?’” explains Sripinyo. The eatery quickly drew notice and a devoted following in the area. “We opened in February 1994 and by April we were very popular,” she recalls.

For a MKES first, the digital-shy Sripinyo passed along a handwritten recipe for her Thai BBQ ribs.

What three ingredients do you always keep stocked in your pantry?

Chile. Red chile, onion, garlic.

Your favorite meal to make or serve?

My favorite is ga poa guy because it’s a little spicy and it tastes really good. It’s very popular here at the restaurant.

We all have a favorite indulgence, for a foodie like you it must be something spectacular?

Dark chocolate. Not in ice cream. Either in a bar or a box, I just like dark chocolate.

What’s one of your worst cooking mistakes?

I don’t know. Maybe once when I made a stir-fry and I put too much salt in it and it was way too salty. I didn’t even let people try it. I tried it and then just threw it out.

There are so many great Michigan-made food products, what is your pick?

Potato chips.

What do you suggest for first-timers to Thai Bistro? What menu item should they make sure to try?

If they like noodles then the pad thai—it’s a little sweet and it’s very popular here. You can choose whether you want it mild or spicy. If you like something with rice than the ga poa guy is very good and spicy. It comes with chicken, Thai basil, red pepper. The eggplant stir-fry with shrimp is very good too.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Q&A with The Henry Ford’s Head Chef, Nick Seccia

Oven-Seared Amish-Raised Chicken Chop
Decadent & creative

Fiddling in the kitchen one day, The Henry Ford’s Executive Chef, Nick Seccia, dreamed up one of his signature creations—a flavor-infused chicken breast modeled after a pork chop. Using fresh herbs grown at the Greenfield Village (the historic town which is part of the museum’s property) and animals raised on local farms, Chef Nick concocted the inventive dish. Did I mention that the chicken breast is wrapped in bacon?

Buying local not only helps support Michigan’s economy, explains Chef Nick, but it’s also good for the environment too. And there’s an even better reason why Chef Nick uses local ingredients in his professional kitchen and in his home—it tastes better. For home cooks, Chef Nick suggests getting to know the farmers’ markets in your area. He’s also a regular at the Eastern Market in Detroit. “I remember how exciting it was to go there as a child,” recalls Chef Nick, who grew up in Novi and Gaylord. “It’s really coming back. It’s a lively, happening place now with lots of great, local vendors.”

Below Chef Nick, who regularly creates everything from 5-course meals for high-end events to finger foods for visiting school groups to menus for the museum’s on-site eateries, shares some insights into his cooking style. He also passed along the recipe for his Oven-Seared, Amish-Raised Chicken “Chop” with Morel Sauce.

What three ingredients do you always keep stocked in your pantry?
It’s tough to choose just three. But, I’d have to say veal stock, fresh herbs and butter. Real butter.

What is your favorite meal to make or eat?
Anything braised. I like dishes where the meat has been seared and then cooked for a long time so that it just becomes tender.

We all have a favorite indulgence, for a foodie like you it must be something spectacular?
Chocolate. I like ganaches (smooth, creamy chocolate sauce or frosting) that are made with a high percentage of chocolate.

What’s one of your worst cooking mistakes?
I learned how to cook first and when you’re cooking you create dishes using your eyes and your palette. I tried to do the same with baking. Now this was a long time ago, but I made this cake without measuring any ingredients. I can’t even remember what kind of cake it was supposed to be–it was just terrible.

There are so many great Michigan-made food products, what is your pick?
Real Michigan maple syrup.

What do you suggest for first-timers to The Henry Ford? What menu item should they make sure to try?
At the Eagle Tavern, we make our own sausage. We use Berkshire hogs. And these hogs are raised exclusively on apple pulp. It’s something you won’t find anywhere else.

If you’d like a taste of Chef Nick’s culinary creations, you can head to The Henry Ford in Dearborn and try any of the eateries there, or you can master one of his dishes at home.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Oven-Seared Amish-Raised Chicken “Chop” with Morel Sauce

Oven-Seared Amish-Raised Chicken Chop
Decadent & creative

Oven Seared Amish Raised Chicken “Chop” with Morel Sauce
Nick Seccia CEC
Serves 6

Chicken Chop
Ingredients

6 Airline cut Amish raised chicken breast 6-8oz ea
6 Slices thick cut hickory smoked bacon
1/4 Cup pure olive oil
2 Cloves garlic peeled
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley
2 Tablespoon fresh thyme
2 Tablespoons fresh basil leaves
2 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon organic apple cider vinegar
1/2 Tablespoon Kosher salt
1/2 Tablespoon ground black pepper
Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients except chicken and bacon, puree in a blender
  2. Remove the meat and skin from around the bone on the chicken
  3. Pour marinade over the chicken and marinate overnight
  4. Place chicken skin side down flat with the bone pointing away from you then roll the thin edge towards the chicken until rolled into a chop shape
  5. Stand chicken up so the bone is straight up then wrap the bacon around the bottom
  6. Roast at 350F for about 35 to 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through
  7. Serve with morel sauce

Morel Sauce
Ingredients

1 cup fresh Morel mushrooms sliced in half lengthwise and cleaned
1 large shallot minced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons brandy
1 cup roasted veal stock reduced from 2 cups
1/4 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and ground black pepper as needed
Directions

  1. Saute the mushrooms and shallots in butter until the shallots are clear and the mushrooms are tender
  2. Add the brandy and reduce until almost dry
  3. Add the stock and heavy cream reduce until thickened
  4. Season with salt and pepper
Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)