Archive for the 'Moshe Wendel' Category

11
Nov
11

Kosherfest 2011 Highlights – Part 2


Wednesday, the last day of Kosherfest 2011, proved even more eventful than I expected. Irving Schild and I started the day by interviewing Alain Bankier (from Manischewitz) which you can hear motzey Shabbat at 8:30pm (Eastern Time) on BlogTalkRadio.com.

We then proceeded to cover the 4th Annual Kosherfest Culinary Competition, produced in partnership with the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts (see here, here and here) and sponsored by Jack’s Gourmet.

Shortly after getting there I was asked if I could take over as the third judge because cookbook author, James Beard Award winner and encyclopedist Gil Marks, had an emergency. The pressure started at this point… I had eaten at the various establishments represented and thought each was truly superlative. This was not going to be easy!

(Photos by: Esti Berkowitz of Primetime Parenting
for The Kosher Scene)

From left to right: Emcee Chef Avram Wiseman - Dean of CKCA, Chef Jack Silberstein - from Jack's Gourmet kosher sausages, yours truly and Chef Philippe Kaemmerle from CKCA

Chef Avram, last year’s Kosherfest Culinary Competition winner, more than ably emceed the event with wit and charm intermingled with educational tidbits. The three contestants were (in alphabetical order): Craig Solomon from Ariel’s (18 Engle St  Englewood, NJ 07631; Tel: 201.569.1202)

Chef Craig

Seth Warshaw, from etc steakhouse (1409 Palisade Avenue; Teaneck, NJ 07666; Tel: 201.357.5677)…

Chef Seth

Moshe Wendel from Pardes (497 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 11217; Tel: 718.797.3880)…

Chef Moshe, rarin' to get started!

Immediately before hitting the clock to allow 45 minutes for cooking and plating, Chef Avram unveiled the secret ingredient…

...Boneless Duck Breast!

Each Chef was allowed to bring something from his restaurant, each one’s individual style shone through as they made three plates each. Chef Solomon showed the gracefulness and precision of a well trained ballet dancer; Chef Warshaw betrayed no nervousness under pressure and was the first one to plate, with over a minute to spare; Chef Wendel, ever the innovator, performed his magic with unusual ingredients.

Chef Craig brought in habanero peppers and sugar cane, Chef Seth used pomegranate – his signature ingredient, while Chef Moshe preferred the exotic. He brought in amba, a tangy Iraqi mango pickle condiment, which he made into a heavy sauce.

The judges walked around to observe each chef in action. We were looking for cleanliness, technique and overall mastery, while Chef Avram periodically announced the countdown and kept the audience entertained throughout. A few minutes before the clock came to a stop the three of us sat down and readied to taste.

First to serve was Chef Seth he presented each of us with a beautiful tower of duck resting over three cornmeal johny or journey cakes. Next came Chef Solomon who showed had he cooked and moved with precision and graceful elegance but his square presentation looked like an architectural masterpiece.  Chef Moshe served a very aromatic duck covered with a generous helping of amba, another beautiful presented very succulent dish as I’d come to expect from him!

...remains of the winning dish

Each dish tasted very different, each showed the consummate professionalism and artistry of its creator. Incredible how the same basic ingredient can be made so differently! It was hard to decide which was best – specially as we tasted in very quick succession washing out our mouths in between each dish. The maximum number of points, per Chef, per judge, was 30 points for a total a grand total of 90. All three were within one or two points away, after a few minutes of deliberation in a back room (where each judge explained the rational for his grading on preparation, presentation and taste) we finally had a winner…

The winner, his silver trophy and $1000.00 in cash

Seth Warshaw from Teaneck’s etc steakhouse!

After the competition we visited with Brigitte Mizrahi, CEO of Anderson International Foods, makers of Sugar River, Les Petites Fermieres, and Natural & Kosher brand cheeses. Sugar River won this year’s Kosherfest Best New Cheese Award. You can hear the interview tomorrow eve.

From there we proceeded to Jack’s Gourmet (see here and here), while I had a pretty good idea (having tasted it at Dr. Broner’s while they were perfecting it, a couple of months ago) why they won this year’s Best New Sausage Award though I still was surprised by how much they had an improved an already delicious recipe. Needless to say, we kept on coming back again and again… As an old TV commercial used to say: Betcha can’t eat just one! Hear the interview with Dr. Broner tomorrow evening.

The wines we tasted at various price points were superb, proving yet again that great wines can be (and are!) kosher. Shortly before leaving, I run into Alex Veyg, from veygsgourmet.com. This young man produces a line of delicious natural flavored honeys and he too will be on our internet radio show, tomorrow eveningmothzey Shabbos – at 8:30 pm (Eastern Time). You will tune us in, won’t you?

CS

15
Nov
10

Pardes Restaurant


Pardes Restaurant‘s Chef/Owner, Moshe Wendel, opened this new eatery on October the 24th (497 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 11217; Tel: 718.797.3880), barely three weeks ago. Chef Moshe’s culinary talents and passion for food, along with the friendly enthusiasm of his tight-knit staff result in a successful venture. Through the years, he carefully and methodically honed his skills. Starting out as a dishwasher at age 16, he climbed through the ranks through various prestigious establishments such as Philadelphia’s celebrated Django restaurant. Moshe and his wife Shana became ba’alei tshuvah, and rushed back east to cook for Mosaica and Mike’s Bistro. He opened Basil as Executive Chef, stayed there for a short while, and is now fulfilling his own dream of owning a top kosher restaurant.

Small, warm, very welcoming

Moshe had a clear vision for Pardes. Located in an area filled with art galleries, bookstores, fashion shops and assorted eateries featuring every kind of cuisine, Pardes became an extension of the chic, upscale, urban cool mix. My companion (SYR could not make it this time) and I got there at around 3:00pm,  Lunch to Dinner transition time…

I ordered the Home Made Bouquerones [house cured white anchovies], with Red Pepper, Caper Berries, Arugula, Lemon Dressing.

Home Made Bouquerones with Arugula

With a hint of spiciness and ample richness of flavor, the well appointed dish was a perfect intro to the rest of the meal.

My companion chose the Tuna Crudo, with Porcini Popcorn,  Arugula and Corn Coulis. She found it beautiful to look at and extremely flavorful.

Nile Perch, Poached in Hazelnut Garlic Broth, “Risotto” of White Asparagus, Granny Smith Salad was my next choice. Again… the unusual mix of seasonal flavors were refreshing & delightful! My companion opted for the Saffron Linguine, Mojama, Almonds & Chiles. A spicey delectable mix of flavors, nicely presented.

Next we both had their Spicey-Smokey Chicken “Wings”, Red Pepper Saffron Vinaigrette, Tomato salad with Herbs, Preserved Lemon, Green olive and Jalapeno…

Close-up of one of the Spicy-Smoked Chicken "Wings" With red Pepper-Saffron Vinaigrette

Check this out!  A real treat for the taste buds!  We were instructed to place the meat into our mouths and then press the spice filled pipette releasing the wonderful burst of flavours… Pretty outrageous!

For the mains we shared both the Pizza of Beef Tongue Confi, With 24 Hour Roasted Tomato and Fresh Basil….

Pizza Beef Tongue Confi

…and the Short Ribs & Broccoli Rabe Lasagne.  The meat Pizza tasted sinfully delicious; the thin crust and beef tongue confi made the cheese topped pizzas, I’m used to, almost irrelevant. The Short Ribs Lasagne, was unusually tasty but had a rather limp presentation compared to the other dishes we sampled.

For dessert, we had the (“Manna” Bee Pollen Dusted Angel Food, Quince, Honey Ice Cream, Sugared Almonds and Olive Oil Cake, Chocolate Flan, Espresso Flavored Marron Glaces) all quite tasty – even gifted – although presentation was lack-luster. All in all, we were treated to an outstanding meal and each of us gave it two big thumbs up! In a lesser restaurant we might even have praised the minor negatives we encountered here.

Next time I’ll order from their ample beer selection, as well.

I was very gratified to see our favorite Chef, Lévana, shares our overall view after going to Pardes the evening after we did.

CS
Pardes Restaurant on Urbanspoon




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