Archive for the 'Culinary Institute of America' Category

11
Jul
13

Tortilla de Papas


Back as a teenager in Uruguay a friend’s mother would often prepare this dish. Finding this recipe brought back fond memories of my youth. Where did I find it? Glad you asked! The Culinary Institute of America, aside from being America’s foremost culinary college, also publishes many books among them the At Home with the Culinary Institute of America series, for home cooks. The recipe below is from a book in that series, Healthy Cooking:

Tortilla de Papas

This flat Spanish-style omelet makes a great brunch or supper dish, or you can cut it into cubes to enjoy at room temperature as part of a tapas spread. Ideally the tortilla should be about an inch thick after it cooks, so choose your pan accordingly.

Detail from photo by: Ben Fink, page 234

Detail from photo by: Ben Fink, page 234

Makes 6 servings

2 cups quartered cooked artichoke hearts *

2 roasted red peppers, sliced **

2 roasted yellow peppers, sliced **

2 tbsp Vinaigrette-Style Dressing ***

1 tbsp chopped parsley

1 tbsp thyme

Freshly ground black pepper, as needed

4 tsp unsalted butter

8 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 Spanish onions, sliced

6 large eggs

1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

  1. Combine the artichokes, peppers, vinaigrette, parsley, thyme, and a pinch of pepper in a large bowl and toss to coat evenly. Set aside.
  2. Melt 1 teaspoon of the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the potatoes, season with the salt and a pinch of pepper, and cook, turning them occasionally to cook evenly about 8 minutes. Add the onions and cook until the potatoes are tender but not browned, 4 to 7 minutes more.
  3. Break the eggs into a large bowl and blend with a fork. Do not whip them to a foam. Add the potatoes mixture to the large eggs and toss gently to coat with the eggs.
  4. return the pan to medium heat and melt 2 teaspoons of the remaining butter. Pour the egg-vegetable mixture into the pan and cook without stirring until the bottom is set and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Tip the tortilla out of the pan onto a platter. Return the pan to the heat and melt the remaining spoon of butter. Slide the tortilla back into the pan, browned side up, cook until the second side is browned, 3 to minutes more.
  5. Serve the tortilla sliced into wedges, topped with artichoke and peppers and sprinkled with the goat cheese.

* Preparing Artichokes

Artichokes require some special attention before cooking. The barbs at the tips of the leaves are simple snipped away with kitchen scissors. Spread the leaves apart to expose the feathery “choke” and scoop it out with a teaspoon. To make hearts trim most of the leaves away from the base and the top of the artichoke. To make artichoke bottoms pull away all the leaves and trim the stem away. Reserve cut artichokes in water mixed with a splash of lemon juice, otherwise, they may turn brown.

** Roasting and Peeling Peppers

When peppers and chiles are charred over a flame, grilled, roasted, or boiled, not only are the flavors brought out, but the skins are loosened as well. If you have gas burners,, hold the the peppers over the flame with tongs or a large kitchen fork, turning to char them evenly.

If your grill is hot, char the peppers over hot coals or high heat. To roast or broil peppers and chiles in a hot oven or under a broiler, halve them; remove their stems, seeds, and membranes; and place them cut side down on an oiled sheet pan.Broil or roast until their skin is black and blistered. Once the entire pepper is evenly charred, transfer it to a paper bag or bowl and close or cover tightly . By the time the pepper is cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes, steam will have loosened the skin enough that it peels away easily. Peel and rub it away with your fingertips or use a pairing knife if the skin clings to some places.

*** Vinaigrette-Style Dressing

This dressing can be flavored in a myriad of ways. Try adding mustard, chopped fresh herbs, capers, onions, garlic, or citrus zest. Fruit and vegetable juices can be used in placeof the broth for a more intense flavor. Special vinegars such as balsamic, sherry, or red wine will give the dressing distinct character. Oils other than olive may be used., including various nut and seed oils (peanut, sesame, or walnut), canola oil, or other mono – or polyunsaturated oils. Refrigerated, this dressing may be stored for up to a week.

Makes 2 cups

1/2 tsp cornstarch

1/2 cup vegetable broth ****

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp kosher salt, or as needed

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or as needed.

  1. Combine the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of the broth to form a paste. Bring the remaining broth to a boil in a small pot over medium-high heat. Remove the broth from the heat.
  2. Gradually add the cornstarch mixture to the broth. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the broth has thickened
  3. Remove from the heat, stir in the vinaigrette, and cool completely. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

**** Vegetable Broth

Makes 2 quarts

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 celery stalk, thinly sliced

1 leek, thinly sliced

1 carrot, thinly sliced

1 pasnip, thinly sliced

1 cup broccoli stems, thinly sliced

1 cup fennel, thinly sliced

12 cups of water,

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

  1. Saute until starting to release juices, then add the water. Cover the pot and stir occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes.
  2. Simmer for 1 hour.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

30
May
12

This Evening’s Guest


This evening, on our internet radio show we will be talking with Jeffrey Elliot and Salvatore Rizzo, at 8:00pm (Eastern Time). Jeff will be teaching the essential techniques of knife skills necessary for the home cook at De Gustibus this coming Tuesday from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. To sign up for the class, please go to the De Gustibus‘ website. A light Kosher meal will be served.

Jeffrey Elliot has a degree from the Culinary Institute of America and has cooked at prestigious restaurants such as Le Cirque, and Le Bernardin in New York. Since leaving the kitchen, he’s owned an antiquarian bookstore, received an MBA and worked as a stockbroker. He has also worked for Share Our Strength, a non-for-profit dedicated to eradicating childhood hunger in America, organizing Taste of the Nation events in 15 cities across the US and Canada. Currently, Jeffrey is the National Manager of Culinary Relations for Zwilling JA Henckels. He is a co-author of The Zwilling J.A. Henckels Complete Book of Knife Skills.

Salvatore Rizzo (“Sal”), is the Director/Owner of De Gustibus School of Cooking at Macy’s. The school’s mission is “To continue the tradition of serving the culinary community by showcasing the talents of established chefs, rising stars, and sommeliers to food and wine lovers, with the utmost in hospitality.”

Salvatore Rizzo acquired De Gustibus Cooking School in April 2008. He has been active in the culinary world for over 25 years, honing his skills as the consummate host and interlocutor of chefs. Sal was the Director of the Italian Culinary Institute where he managed chef events for several years, after which he became Director of House Operations and Events at the prestigious James Beard Foundation until 2007. A true master of hospitality and friend to many a chef, Sal’s passion involves promoting the culinary arts and creating an environment where people can come together and share incredible experiences centered around food and wine, something he was exposed to daily, growing up in a Sicilian household.

Meanwhile, in case you missed it, why not listen to our last last broadcast? Our guest was Dietitian and Nutritionist Bonnie R, Giller. It was a fun an informative show.

Please, listen to our show this evening at 8:00pm (Eastern Time) on BlogTalkRadio.com.

CS

02
Dec
10

Natural Village Cafe


Warm, welcoming, classy, delicious… these four words give us a faint idea of my impressions of Natural Village Cafe (2 Avenue I – across from Shoprite Supermarket – Brooklyn, NY 11218; Tel: 347.492.5337 or 347. 417.6424). The restaurant is cholov Yisroel and pas Yisroel, with a mashgiach temidi and under the certification of Harav Meir Goldberg of the Va’ad Hakashrus d’Flatbush.

Upscale atmosphere, organic fare, beautiful and healthy in every possible way...

Nina Shapir, who presides over this eatery is truly a fascinating personality, the personal journey that changed her life and motivated her to open this establishment is full of commitment and dedication.

Fourteen years ago, Mrs. Shapir – a very young mother of three – found herself sick and unable to move, unable to cope. It was not a question of being financially overwhelmed, any such concerns were well taken care of. Medical tests and treatments produced no positive results, on the contrary things inexplicably kept getting worse. She met Harav Chay Azoulay, from Herzliya, who told her the real malady was not physical but rather one that affected her neshama. After some thought, trying to make sense of Rav Azulay’s words, she went on a detox diet with the help of healthfood stores, intent on ridding herself of all negative energies. This decision was followed by six very hard weeks before she saw any measurable improvements but soon after she was her old active, curious, intelligent, enterprising self again.

At this stage, Nina decided to help others who, though similarly afflicted, may not be aware of the real source of their health troubles. She went on to study Healing Arts at The School of Natural Healing in Utah from which she graduated. Seven years ago her first organic restaurant opened its doors. Her partner, however, was not frum and it proved frustrating eventually Nina bought her out. In 2008 she moved to the present location which combines her personal philosophy, her exquisite sense of aesthetics and the true love of a foodie for superb fare. She also has an an office adjacent to the restaurant where she treats the many in search of natural healing.

The restaurant sports geometric patterns on its walls and ceiling, with warm earth tones that give us a clue to the owner’s style and personality. Chef Bobby Brabaloni is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America – America’s foremost Culinary School – a fact which becomes obvious when you see the presentation, smell the aromas and taste the wonderful flavors.

My companion and I started our early dinner with a dish of Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed Mushrooms

It consists of white mushrooms with sauteed onions, creamy pesto sauce, melted mozzarella and feta cheeses with a kick of chopped parsley. It was a perfect opener to a memorable meal.

We segued with their Village Pizza

Village Pizza

It came in a sesame crust, red onions, mushrooms, two types of mozzarella cheese and their very own red sauce. I know pizza, I’m a pizza addict and I must confess this one ranks among my favorites. My companion also found it delicious.

Next we had their Salmon Salad…

Salmon Salad

A superbly tasting salad fresh romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, grilled salmon, pan sauteed red inions, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms with a subtle teriyaki sauce. A fitting crown to our meal!

Wholesome food, warm ambience, reasonable prices, a nice bakery on premises… I know I’ll be back again and again.

CS

Natural Village Cafe on Urbanspoon

06
Aug
10

Cheese! Cheese! Cheese! – Part 3


[My good friend, Eran Elhalal, gives us the third and last part of his Intro to Cheese.

Eran Elhalal is a chef/Entrepreneur working in Manhattan. An Honors Graduate of the  Culinary Institute of America,  Eran was Executive Chef of two Manhattan restaurants in the past few years and consulted several others. He began educating customers about food and wine pairing and cheese in 2007 while working as the Chef at UES’s BarVespa.

These days, Eran talks about food and wine pairing as the chef for the panel of Meetup, a wine club, dedicated to introduce and educate the American public about Israeli wines. Photos: courtesy of Eran Elhalal.

Not every type of cheese described below is, so far, made for the kosher consumer. That situation, however is changing fast as various distributors (here and here) and manufacturers are constantly introducing new and delicious cheeses into the kosher market. CS]

“How can you be expected to govern a country that has 246 kinds of cheese?”
Charles de Gaulle

Trying to Categorize Cheeses

There is no one set of rules by which to categorize the world’s cheeses. After thousands of years of cheese-making , we still are unable to agree on one set of rules, and here is why:

  • Some factors are very difficult to quantify – for example the classification relying on smell. Detection and rating vary from person to person depending on how accute their sense of smell is. No one category can address all types and nuances. For example, Classification relying on rind alone, puts hundreds of cheeses with no rind in the same category.
  • Another example is classification by aging, it would put a Danish blue cheese and a Farmhouse Brie in the same category. Traveling between different categories- Cheese is a living thing. Every cheese is released with a certain fat content and certain water content. As the cheese ages these percentages change due to water evaporation. Hence, the same triple creamed cheese , tastes much more pungent a month after you bought it! Moreover, a cheese that was classified as Semi-hard like a dutch Gouda will turn rock hard as it ages.

Knowing this, we can now learn to pickout, describe and appreciate cheeses using the more common categories for classification:

Queso Manchego - Spanish sheep's milk cheese, has a wonderful and unique bite to it

 

 

Texture

Classification determined by water content:

  • Very soft – 80 % water, spoonable, includes most fresh cheeses like Cottage cheese, Chèvre, Labane.
  • Soft – 50 %-70% water, spreadable, includes the double and triple creamed cheeses (Brie, Camembert, Robiola, Taleggio, Colummiers…), but also some Feta cheeses (cow’s milk mainly).
  • Semihard – 40%-50% water, sliceable, includes Edam, Gouda, Manchego.
  • Hard – 30%-50% water, very firm and dense, includes Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino, Piave, Ossau, Iraty, Mimolette
  • Blue -40%-50% water, a classification within the semi hard group of cheeses, may be sliceable, spreadable or crumbly, includes all blue veined cheeses, like; Valdeon, Cabrales, Roquefort, Gorgonzola

 

 

Noordhollander Gouda - Yes, there are some delicious kosher variations of this cheese

 

Aging

Length of aging prior to release:

  • Fresh – Un-aged, produced and released, include Cottage cheese, Cream cheese, Chèvre.
  • Brief Molding period – 2 weeks-10 weeks, produced and allowed to take shape in a mold ( tub or basket), or for the rind to bloom, includes Feta, almost all blue cheeses and bloomy rind cheeses (Grayson, Taleggio, Brie…).
  • Aged – Anywhere between 2 months and 5 years, depending on the cheese, produced and allowed to mature until the cheesemaker deems it fully aged and flavored, includes all hard and semi hard cheeses,like; Parmigiano Reggiano, Idiazabal, Pecorino, Cheddar, Gouda

Type of Milk

Classification by what animal produces the milk:

The most common are Cow, Goat and Sheep (ewe), but there are also cheeses made with a mix of milk from different animals, and even cheeses from Buffalo, Moose, Camel or Yak’s milk.

 

Taleggio

 

Smell

Classification by degree of pungency:

A very difficult classification,works mainly for bloomy rind cheeses like – Taleggio, Robiola, Camembert, Brie

Methods of cheese-making

Classification by main cheesemaking traditional methods:

  • Fresh Cheese – Unaged or matured, includes some slightly pressed cheeses(Feta),whey based cheeses that are only strained (Urda, Ricotta) and the spoonable, Cottage, Cream cheese, Chèvre.
  • Pasta Filata Cheese – The curds are cooked, then streched and folded repeatedly before molding or shaping. The cheese is then ready to eat or may be ripened further and even smoked (Mozzarella, Provolone, Paneer, Kashkaval).
  • Unpressed Ripened Cheese – The curds are minimally cut and allowed to drain . They are then ripened with mold or bacteria on the cheese surface (Camembert, Brie, Taleggio…) or using a starter culture that is applied to the surface or inoculated into the cheese (Stilton).
  • Pressed and Ripened Cheese – The curds are pressed before ripening. Examples: Manchego, Idiazabal, Cheddar.
  • Cooked, pressed and ripened – The curds are cooked in whey, then milled, molded and pressed. These cheeses are aged for up to 5 years (Parmigiano Reggiano, Piave, GoudaEdam, Emmental…).
  • Processed – After the initial cheesemaking process is complete (see 2nd part of this series), more milk and emulsifying salts are added, food coloring and preservatives. This yields a very consistent product, yet rather unhealthy. Unfortunately, these cheeses, sold in blocks, slices, tubes and even sprays are the most commonly consumed types in the US. (American cheese, Kraft singles, Cheez Whiz ….and other such varieties of poor excuses for cheese!)

Rind

 

 

Dutch Gouda -Uses an artificial wax rind, to lock in moisture and deepen the flavor as the cheese ages

 

Classification by type of rind:

The rind of the cheese controls the rate of water evaporation from the cheese, oxidation of the surface and escape of gases from within.

  • No rind – The cheese is produced and packaged or at most strained, salted and packed. Includes all fresh cheeses like: Ricotta, Urda, Cream cheese, Feta
  • White mold rind – The mold grows on the surface and is edible. The rind is sometimes brushed away a number of times throughout ripening, so the cheese will develop a thicker rind. The mold is white at first but as the cheese ages it darkens. Includes: Camembert, Brie, Robiola Bosina.
  • Washed rind – the rind is washed with alcohol, usually Marc (Grape pomace Brandy) or wine. The alcohol dries the surface of the cheese and the white bloomy mold turns pinkish/Orange. The rind is moist and a has a slightly grainy mouthfeel, thus it is not usually eaten. Includes Taleggio, Robiola Pineta, Grayson, Pont I’Eveque.
  • Natural dry rind – The rind is in fact the dry outer surface of the cheese. The rind can be brushed, scraped, oiled or wrapped in cloth depending on the desired result. The rind is inedible, types include: Parmigiano Reggiano, Cheddar, Piave
  • Organic rind – Leaves, spices and herbs applied to the surface of the cheese after its made. The reason is to impart flavor and protect from insects traditionally (Fleur de Maquis, Corsican ewe’s milk cheese rolled in herbs & Juniper berries, or Majorero Pimenton – rolled in smoked pepper). another reason is to lock in moisture. Examples include: Valdeon, wrapped in sycamore leaves; Banon, tied in chestnut leaves and tied with raffia.
  • Artificial rinds – Added after the cheese is made. Rind is generally inedible. Includes Gouda, Edam (wax rind), Cheddar (plastic) and ash edible in St. Maure (for example).

So… these are just the main categories. When I describe a cheese, I try to use all the categories that apply most, focusing on the ones that characterize the paricular cheese category more than others.

One last example. Morbier

 

 

Morbier cheese

 

Origin: Comte region, North East France
Milk: Raw or Pasteurized Cow’s milk.
Texture: Semi hard (40 %-50% water), sliceable.
Method of cheese-making: Pressed and ripened,with a layer of ash running through the center.
Smell: mild pungent
Rind: Natural dry rind,brushed for firmness.
Aging; 2-3 months
Fat content: 45 %
Interesting facts: This cheese was traditionally made for consumption by the cheesemakers themselves. Leftover curds were put in a tub, then covered with ash to repel insects, while waiting for additional leftover curds from the evening or the next day.

Eran Elhalal

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25
Jun
10

Cheese! Cheese! Cheese!


[Eran Elhalal is a chef/Entrepreneur working in Manhattan. An Honors Graduate Culinary Institute of America,  Eran was Executive Chef of two Manhattan restaurants in the past few years and consulted several others. He began educating customers about food and wine pairing and cheese in 2007 while working as the Chef at UES’s BarVespa.

These days, Eran talks about food and wine pairing as the chef for the panel of Meetup, a wine club, dedicated to introduce and educate the American public about Israeli wines. Photos: courtesy of Eran Elhalal. CS]

Cheese comes in a variety of shapes and types

Cheese: 8000 years in the making!
The first chapter in our love affair with manipulating milk

Cheese is one of the most uniquely varied and refined foods in the world. So meticulously formed and perfected in specific regions, we seek them out by origin and romanticize the process and the people making it. We want our Brie and Camembert to be from Île-de-France, our Gouda from Holland, our Parmigiano Reggiano from the Emilia Romana region in  Italy….

Cheese making’s true origins have long been forgotten, but many countries claiming the honors. Archaeological findings show it being made and stored in clay jars as far back as 6000 BC. There are murals depicting cheese making in Egyptian tombs from 2000 BC .

Cheese is mentioned in the Bible. For example, as David escaped across the River Jordan he was fed with ‘cheese of kine’ (cows) (2 Samuel 17:29), and it is said that he presented ten cheeses to the captain of the army drawn up to do battle with Saul (1 Samuel 17:18). Moreover, a location near Jerusalem called ‘The Valley of the Cheesemakers‘.

Legends about its origins abound, but one of the most commonly repeated themes is that cheese was accidentally discovered in the Mediterranean by an Arab nomad traveling through the desert.

Legend speaks of the nomad about to embark on a long journey on horseback, filling a saddlebag with milk to sustain him while crossing the desert. After hours of riding the nomad stopped to quench his thirst only to discover that his milk had separated into solid lumps and a watery liquid.

The combined heat, agitation from riding and rennets [rennet is a natural complex of enzymes produced in any mammalian stomach to digest the mother's milk, and is often used in the production of cheese. Rennet contains many enzymes, including a proteolytic enzyme (protease) that coagulates the milk, causing it to separate into solids (curds) and liquid (whey). The active enzyme in rennet is called chymosin or rennin but there are also other important enzymes in it, e.g., pepsin or lipase. There are non-animal sources for rennet that are suitable for vegetarian consumption]. The saddlebag, made of an animal’s stomach parts and lining, caused curdling of the milk and separation into curds and whey.

Cheese, cheese, delicious cheese!

The watery liquid, and the floating whey were found to be drinkable, while the curds were edible and nutritious.

What makes some cheeses kosher? First and foremost, the facility producing the cheese has to comply with kosher rules of food handling and preparation-that is obvious! The above legend gives us another reason… Renin, the enzyme that helps fermentation and coagulation, is a meat byproduct and therefore can only be used under certain conditions in the production of cheese, which is a dairy product. Luckily , nowadays, technology has yielded plant based rennets which are used to create styles of cheese we could have before! Some delicious examples of this type are kosher Parmigiano, Grana Padano, Manchego, etc. Yayyyyy!

Eran Elhalal

MORE FROM CHEF ERAN

The Art of Braising

Passover Almond-Pistaccio Cake

23
Feb
10

Abigael’s on Broadway


Abigael’s (1407 Broadway – at 39th Street, New York, NY; Tel: 212.575.1407) calls to mind the posh elegance of the bygone era where films like My Man Godfrey, with William Powell and Carole Lombard, were set. It is a classy, sedate and uniquely appointed restaurant. Yet… the simple but rich atmosphere and decor, are not all that attract the eye and whet the palate at Abigael’s… The dishes are inspired and delicious!

Partial view of Abigael's main dining room

I met Chef Jeff Nathan in the small private library (one of various party rooms at Abigael’s). There, amidst the Soncino Talmud and the Encyclopedia Britannica we discussed what precipitated his becoming a Chef. As a member of a generation where every Jewish parent dreamed of “my son the doctor” or “my son the lawyer,” Jeff Nathan journeyed against the grain and, after a stint in the US Navy, attended the Culinary Institute of America. Driven to transcend and surpass, as in all else he ever attempted, chef Nathan dominated the competition and graduated at the top of his class in 1980.

Since 1998 he has been the chef/host of PBS’ “New Jewish Cuisine, the only international gourmet Kosher cooking series, which is seen in four countries and translated into three languages.” He is also a kosher and restaurant consultant to various food and wine producers.

I started the meal with with Abigael’s Ultimate Sushi Platter which consisted of three sushi rolls.

Ultimate Sushi Platter presented with a soothing, drip fountain

The three rolls are: Tempura Trio (salmon, tuna, and fluke, tempura fried, with avocado, masago and scallions), Broadway (seaweed roll with tuna, yellow-tail and salmon, cucumber, avocado, Japanese dressing and masago), and Green Tea (yellowtail and avocado, topped with salmon, spicy tuna tartar and sweet wasabi soy sauce). Though fish and sushi are but a recently acquired tastes of mine, I did find the platter beautifully presented and deliciously toothsome to eat.

I then tried their Smoked Brisket Eggroll (Texas style, with barbecue vinaigrette and a chipotle potato salad). This dish fully demonstrates the creativity of Jeff Nathan as he metamorphoses the quintessentially traditional Brisket with a saucy bold new flavor and crispy exterior. Flavorful, as my mother used to say, ta’am fun ganeiden!

I followed that full flavored brisket with the Crispy Asian Chicken (crisp fried and tossed with spicy chile sauce, served with sweet and sour sesame-cucumber slaw).

Crispy Asian Chicken

Presentation was again an eyeful and the taste was quite savory.

A Latin American bred carnivore to the core, I loved the Argentine Smoked Short Ribs (house smoked rib tossed tossed with BBQ vinaigrette and chimi churri with scallion whipped potatoes).

Argentine Smoked Short Ribs

The ribs were succulent, heavenly smoked and spiced, cooked to tender perfection. The scallion whipped potatoes… just right!

Great dinner, in a great atmosphere, though missing Carole Lombard or Myrna Loy by my side, but life… isn’t perfect, could I really ask for more?

CS

Abigael's on Broadway on Urbanspoon

21
Jan
10

The Making of a Corporate Chef


Chef David Kolotkin is no stranger to these pages, but every time he reveals more and more about the Chef’s art. This time I went with him to Manhattan’s Union Square Farmers’ Market.

Chef David Kolotkin looking at mushroom varieties

We looked at tomatoes, cucumbers and some interesting varieties of mushrooms as the Chef explained about their flavor nuances, how the various types differed from each other. Next we turned to stalls carrying mesclun, arugula, and a few other salad greens. I really got an education today! Before we left the Chef picked up about four pounds of fresh Jerusalem artichokes for The Prime Grill.

But who is David Kolotkin? What makes him tick? He was barely in his teens when his interest in cooking first manifested itself. His mother had taken him to a restaurant where the food was prepared table-side. David watched fascinated and decided right there and then that one day he too would join that profession.

After high school he attended the prestigious Culinary Institute of America from 1991 t0 1993, he then went on to apprentice at the legendary Club 21Club 21 was a favorite meeting place for many of the rich, the famous, powerful politicians and entertainers. After a while he resumed studies at the CIA and returned to Club 21 for another 3 years.

Leaving Club 21, he became sous chef for the Restaurant Associates operated, very exclusive, Trustees Dining Room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. From there he went on to to become sous chef at Windows on the World, which occupied the 106th and 107th floors of the North Tower at the World Trade Center.

After 9/11 he landed at The Prime Grill (60 East 49th Street; New York, NY 10017; 212.692.9292). He left in 2005 for his own venture in Miami, it didn’t work out and on his return to New York he worked for famed restaurateur Kenneth Uretsky, whom he knew from his RA days. Mr. Uretsky hired him for his Butterfield 81 restaurant. In 2007 he went back to The Prime Grill. Since then while still primarily at The Prime Grill he went on to became Corporate Chef for Joey Allaham’s restaurant ventures, including Solo and soon to open up Prime Ko, an upscale Japanese steakhouse.

Unlike others in his profession, Chef David is no prima donna, he puts on no airs, is well aware of his self worth without any need to toot it around. He’s totally dedicated to his profession and the people at his restaurants. Is it any wonder that he rose in the ranks?

CS




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