Chefs

Live the Fantasy: 17 Chefs Share Their Dream Diners

As diners, we spend a lot of time thinking about the chefs whose cuisine is on our wish lists. But, what about chefs? Surely they have folks they’d like to see grace their dining rooms. In that spirit, then, 17 chefs share their dream diners, from artists and prominent businesspeople, such as Action Bronson and Richard Branson, to famous chefs, past and present, like Auguste Escoffier and José Andrés.

Tim Maslow, Ribelle, Brookline, Massachusetts: Lamont Coleman, a.k.a. Big L
“Not because I know if the man loved to eat or not, but because of the short-but-prolific career he had that so many of our cook-generation can identify with. I would want to thank him for making me feel like less of an outsider and that it’s permissible to blaze trails outside the norm.” “A hard core life I toast to ex flaw, therefore I live raw and went to war wit the law.” – Big L, “Bring ‘em Back”

Maslow

Carl Schaubhut, Café Adelaide, New Orleans, Louisiana: Chef Jamie Shannon
“The late chef Jamie Shannon has rock-star status in my world. He changed the way cuisine in the great city of New Orleans was executed. He truly put haute Creole food on the map during his tenure at Commander’s Palace in the 90s, and I remember growing up and loving eating the food at such a wonderful, fun, exciting restaurant. He was also one of the earliest local television chef personalities that I recall. So much of his influence runs through the DNA of everyone who has cooked in Commander’s kitchen or has been taught by a chef that has been there. I’d love to prepare charred jalapeno-lacquered confit duck leg over a citrus-white bean puree with crispy Brussels sprouts, bread and butter pickled beets, bacon-onion jam, spiced New Roads pecans, wilted frisée, and duck crackling. It’s a very complex dish with layers of flavors that all harmonize into a beautiful celebration of a beloved Louisiana bird and great legumes and produce.”

Schaubhut

Suzanne Tracht, Jar, Los Angeles, California: Peter Frampton
“My dream diner would be Peter Frampton. Just like JAR, Frampton is all about nostalgia and good times. You might not think of Peter Frampton every day, but when “Baby I Love Your Way” comes on the radio it’s like – BOOM! – the volume dial immediately goes to 10 (ed. note: or 11!), and you’re singing, “But don’t hesitay-ay-ay-ate….” Jar reminds people of a swinging Rat Pack steakhouse; Peter Frampton reminds my generation of the fun days of high school in the mid-70’s. Because Frampton is a strict vegetarian, and my restaurant is famous for its steaks, chops, and pot roast, you might wonder what I would cook for him. But the truth is I have so many ideas. Depending on the time of year, I would go to the farmer’s market to choose an array of the most beautiful in-season organic vegetables. I would compose a dish with some gnocchi and let my creative juices flow.”

Jar

Zach Meloy, Better Half, Atlanta, Georgia: Elvis Presley
“All of Presley’s food loves were completely over the top: fried chicken crusted in ground-up potato chips, Jell-O made with 7-Up, fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Hillbilly haute cuisine … seems like something that’d be fun for an evening. I’d imagine you’d leave with more than one amazing story.”

Meloy

Tyler Kinnett, Harvest, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Chef Auguste Escoffier
“This might be a little out there into fantasy and time travel, but I would like to cook for Auguste Escoffier. The other day, Brian, the executive pastry chef at Harvest, and I were talking about Escoffier, who is sort of the father of modern cooking and is responsible for much of the technique that we use today. His recipes are ultra- complicated and have a scroll of an ingredient list involved. They are very time- consuming and technical, and many of the flavors are masked with 10 others, which back then was considered impressive. I would like to see what he would think of the simplified modern cuisine that we have today. Would he think we were hacks and simpletons? Or, would it make sense? I would serve him our summer tomato soup with a mini prosciutto-and-gruyere griddled cheese sandwich. Mainly because my recipe has about five ingredients and actually tastes like tomato.”

Kinnet

Jeremy Glover, Ceia Kitchen + Bar, Newburyport, Massachusetts: Lemmy Kilmister
“Lemmy Kilmister is pretty iconic in the metal world — he’s the lead singer in Motörhead. I think I’d serve him a pig head, roasted whole, no silverware, and a fifth of Jack Daniels– he likes Jack.”

Glover

Diane Kochilas, Molyvos, New York, New York: Bill Clinton/George Clooney/Tina Fey
“There are so many people I’d like to cook for, but here are a few that come to mind – Bill Clinton, because he’s vegan and Greek cooking (and our menu) has some of the most amazing, delicious vegan dishes in the world, which show off that perfectly incongruous Greek culinary characteristic of food that is both healthy and indulgent. Then there’s George Clooney, so I’d have the impetus to go on a diet before serving him! Lastly, Tina Fey because her maternal grandmother was Ikarian, and I would relish in serving her those Ikarian greens pies and telling her stories that might actually make HER laugh about the island and where her ancestors are from.”

Kochilas

Jon Oh, Scarpetta, New York, New York: Anyone who serves or has served in the armed forces
“These people deserve all the respect in the world. Their sacrifice is something that should never be taken for granted. In terms of dishes, I’d start off with the polenta with a fricassee of truffled mushrooms, then go into our spaghetti. For me, those two dishes are like a big, warm hug.”

JonOh

Jay Murray, Grill 23 & Bar, Boston, Massachusetts: Dave Eggers
“As a once-aspiring writer, I am at least still an avid reader, and I can’t say enough good things about Dave Eggers. Two of his works – What is the What? and Zeitoun — are among my all time favorites; I devour anything out of McSweeney’s; and his two literary non-profits are visionary in how they successfully create opportunities for those who might never had them otherwise. I do know that Dave hails from a pre-Grill 23 Boston (hard to believe, but there was a time…), and spent most of his life between the Chicago and San Francisco Bay areas. So, what does that mean? Well, nothing, except that, I’m hoping he’s not some kind of non-meat eater; steak is probably a good bet. But, Chicago, you murmur. Sure, Chicago’s the land of Gene & Georgetti (great garbage salad, by the way), and Gibsons, and San Francisco has no shortage of amazing dining experiences. But neither has the 100-day aged Brandt prime rib eye. So, Dave, ship up to Boston, or just hop on a red-eye, and check this steak out! I’ll throw in some truffle tots and miso-glazed eggplant while you’re here, and you cannot miss Molly’s desserts.”

Murray

Troy Guard, TAG Restaurant, Denver, Colorado: Jon Bon Jovi
“My dream diner would be Jon Bon Jovi – I just think he’s the coolest! He came out in the 80s, and he’s still selling out 20,000 seats 30 years later. I love his music and how he’s changed over time – adapting his look, music, and songwriting. He’s innovative, he’s a family man (did you know he married his high-school sweetheart and has four kids?), he’s a smart businessman, he gives millions to charity, and he’s a big advocate in politics. He’s just the coolest guy. I would make him a menu of our bold and tasty dishes – oak-grilled octopus, heirloom tomato salad, hanger steak, and banana cream pie. We’d talk all night about business, politics, and rock n’ roll!”

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#ProducePlayoff Benefit for #NoKidHungry at Betony: Dish, Drink + Behind-the-Scenes Pics

Produce_Playoff_0126Betony general manager Eamon Rockey and chef Bryce Shuman joined forces with No Kid Hungry on Tuesday, August 25th, at the 2015 Produce Playoff to help end childhood hunger in America. The event was an epic culinary throwdown featuring the season’s best bounty, which the chefs and wine and spirits experts, including Daniel Humm (Eleven Madison Park), Eli Kaimeh (Per Se), James Kent (The NoMad), Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske (Contra), and Rebecca Isbell (Betony), Jeff Taylor (Betony) and Thomas Pastuszak (The NoMad), personally selected in the #ProducePlayoff draft several days ago. Curious to see what Kevin Denton made with all those carrots? How about what chef Stone created with that lovely baby lettuce? Did the chefs all play nicely together in the kitchen? Check out our slideshow of pictures shot by New York photographer Simon Lewis for a look at how the delicious evening unfolded in the front of the house, in the kitchen, and, randomly, in the middle of 57th Street.

With a menu of Greenmarket-driven food and drink, live music, and words of inspiration and enlightenment from Debbie Shore, founder of No Kid Hungry, the 2015 Produce Playoff is a shining example of the magic that can happen when talented culinary professionals unite. Co-host Rockey noted, “The more talented people there are rallying together behind the same cause, the greater the impact and the more powerful the momentum.” Shuman said of his and Betony’s support for the organization, “No Kid Hungry seriously strikes a chord with me, having a daughter, and they maintain goals that are small enough to achieve and big enough to matter.”

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Heirloom Tomatoes: 24 Chefs Share Their Favorites

Sure, the end of August signals that summer is almost over, but it also heralds the height of heirloom tomato season across the nation. There are a seemingly endless number of varietals of heirloom tomatoes from which to choose, including Black Krim, Hungarian Heart, and more (and endless debate as to what constitutes an heirloom tomato, which we won’t get into here). To narrow down the field we asked chefs to share their favorites and showcase how they’re serving what is arguably the most delicious ingredient of this year’s harvest.

Philippe Bertineau, Benoit, New York, New York
“Deliciously flavored Sun Gold, Red Currant, and Green Zebra heirloom tomatoes pack more sweetness.”
Order them in: The heirloom tomatoes from Eckerton Hill Farm with red onion, basil, sherry vinegar, and olive oil.

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Eric Brennan, Post 390, Boston, Massachusetts
“We are now getting our heirloom tomatoes from Kimball Fruit Farm in Pepperell, Massachusetts. Owners Carl and Marie Hills grow some great tomatoes, especially the Black Prince, Pink Brandywine, and Green Zebra. After they did some research on other areas that were growing heirlooms, they started their own in 2004 and soon became the award-winning growers of heirloom tomatoes and cherry tomatoes in the state.”
Order them in: Kimball Fruit Farm’s heirloom tomatoes + charred sweet corn with griddled halloumi, fig balsamic, and purslane pesto.

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Matt Christianson, Urban Farmer, Portland, Oregon
“At Urban Farmer, we grow heirloom tomatoes on the restaurants’ rooftop garden. My favorite variety is the Indigo Blue Berries tomato because of its rich, dark color and because they are high in anthocyanins, which protect against a myriad of human diseases.”
Order them in: The heirloom tomato salad.

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Kevin Cuddihee, TWO, Chicago, Illinois
“In-season tomatoes are one of my favorite ingredients, green zebras have a great natural acidity that goes great with burrata, and the red onion basil vinaigrette rounds out the dish nicely. We like to let the ingredient shine on the plate and in- season heirloom tomatoes are the perfect star.”
Order them in: The Green Zebra tomatoes with burrata cheese, Vidalia onions, and red onion-basil vinaigrette.

Heirloom TWO Green Zebra Heirloom Tomato Salad

Laurence Edelman, Left Bank, New York, New York
“Any heirloom tomato that is perfectly ripe is going to be the best tomato you’ve ever had. There are a few that are particularly beautiful. There’s an heirloom tomato that is shaped like a heart called Hungarian Heart. It’s a good mix of flesh and juice and they’re really big and cool looking. Sometimes they are so big that one tomato could be a light meal.”
Order them in: The heirloom tomato salad with Spanish goat cheese and marinated eggplant.

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Michael Ferraro, Delicatessen, New York, New York
“The Cherokee Purple are my favorite because they’re very plump, juicy, and large in size. Plus, they’re very flavorful and taste a bit less acidic than other heirloom tomato varietals.”
Order them in: The heirloom tomato + burrata salad with green olive pesto and focaccia croutons.

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Michael Goodman, Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada
“I like the versatility of Brandywine tomatoes. This sweet tomato has a pinkish flesh and a wonderful acidity that is great for salads. Seared or grilled, they work very well with a nice, cold pressed extra virgin olive and sea salt and paired with a sexy white wine.”
Order them in: Zucchini “spaghetti” with zucchini pesto and heirloom tomato tartare.

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Todd Kelly, Orchids at Palm Court, Cincinnati, Ohio
“I prefer the smaller Black Cherry heirloom tomatoes because they are sweet and juicy with a more moderate acidity, making them very versatile. “
Order them in: The heirloom tomato and mozzarella “balloon” caprese salad with saffron tomato gelée, pickled onion, arugula, and shallot lavosh.

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Michael Kornick, mk, Chicago, Illinois
“I love Brandywine tomatoes because of their rich flavor. Brandywines have a balanced amount of acid and are thick and meaty with a delicious juice. Their skin peels easily for quickly cooked pasta sauces and with freshly grilled fish.”
Order them in: The colorful heirloom tomato salad with watermelon, pineapple, mint, oil-cured olive, and a buttermilk crisp.

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Chris Macchia, Labriola Ristorante, Chicago, Illinois
“My favorite type of heirloom tomato is the Cherokee Purple because it has fantastic tomato flavor—and of course, it’s fun to say!”
Order them in: The caprese salad with tomatoes, pesto powder, heirloom tomato sorbet, buffalo mozzarella, and basil foam.

Heirloom Labriola Purple Cherokee Caprese (3)

Aaron Martinez, Intro, Chicago, Illinois
“The Sun Gold tomato is always consistent in flavor and texture. Very sweet tomato and not mealy. I chose this tomato for a melon dish because of its sweetness that pairs so well with the seaweed-infused tomato water. The savory and sweet combination really balance each other out.”
Order them in: The tomato and summer melon plate.

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Tory Miller, L’Etoile, Madison, Wisconsin
“We use a large variety of heirlooms for this dish, but my choices this year are Cherokee Green, Cherokee Purple, Yellow Brandywine, Jaune Flamme, and Aunt Ruby’s German Green. I pick tomatoes with low acid and small seed to meat ratios. Then, all you have to do is add salt.”
Order them in: Part of the seven-course tasting menu, Miller serves Snug Haven Farm heirloom tomatoes with baby cucumber, radishes, peekytoe crab, and pine nuts.

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#ProducePlayoff Draft for the #NoKidHungry Benefit in NYC on 8/25: ICYMI

On Tuesday, August 25th, Betony restaurant in New York will host the Produce Playoff benefit in honor of No Kid Hungry. In anticipation of the event, participating chefs and beer, wine, and spirits experts, including Daniel Humm (Eleven Madison Park), Eli Kaimeh (Per Se), James Kent (The NoMad), Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske (Contra), and Rebecca Isbell (Betony), Jeff Taylor (Betony) and Thomas Pastuszak (The NoMad), gathered at the Union Square Greenmarket in Manhattan to officially draft the fruits and vegetables they’ll be showcasing next week.

Emceed by Eamon Rockey of Betony, the draft had strict(ish) rules set forth by host chef Bryce Shuman. Everyone could select one vegetable or fruit in two separate rounds. We ran (all around the market and even into chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten), we laughed, we perspired in the hot sun, and a few chefs even made a couple of under-the-table trades. It was all in good fun for a good cause — helping to end childhood hunger in America. Follow their exploits as they raced against the clock and each other to claim the most coveted local bounty of the season, with these shots from photographer Simon Lewis. Then, purchase your tickets to join us on Tuesday for a delicious meal prepared by these talented culinary professionals while supporting No Kid Hungry.

Bryce Shuman practices his game face in the hopes of intimidating his fellow chefs.
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Chef Daniel Humm mugged for the camera before the fun began.
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The Union Square Greenmarket’s most promising players waited patiently, hoping to be selected.
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On your mark, get set…
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Do these ‘maters have what it takes to make the cut?
In a last-minute bid, they accessorize in the hopes of catching the participants’ eyes.
In a last-minute decision, they accessorize in the hopes of catching the participants’ eyes.
File this one under ‘Great New York Moments’: Chef Daniel Humm bumps into chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who was browsing the market over his morning coffee.
File this one under ‘Great New York Moments’: Chef Daniel Humm bumps into chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who was browsing the market over his morning coffee.
Is it a coincidence that chef Humm chose French breakfast radishes after his run-in with Jean-Georges? We think not.
Is it a coincidence that chef Humm chose French breakfast radishes after his run-in with Jean-Georges? We think not.
The corn tries to act natural while chef Shuman ponders his decision.
The corn tries to act natural while chef Shuman ponders his decision.
Chef Shuman sinks his teeth into his Produce Playoff pick with corn from Sycamore Farms.
Chef Shuman sinks his teeth into his Produce Playoff pick with corn from Sycamore Farms.
True story: Chef Eli Kaimeh went straight for the gorgeous fairytale eggplant.
True story: Chef Eli Kaimeh went straight for the gorgeous fairytale eggplant.
I really hope he remembered to use the #produceplayoff hashtag.
I really hope he remembered to use the #produceplayoff hashtag.
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There were grape expectations around the pours the wine experts would pick.
Some of the somms got really into feeding their fellow competitors grapes.
Some of the somms got really into feeding their fellow competitors grapes.
Seriously, what's up with the wine guys and the grapes?
Seriously, what’s up with the wine guys and the grapes?
No, really.
No, really.

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