Shop Like a Chef: Hush Bistro’s Chef Marc Anthony Bynum Shares His Tips

Ever wanted to shop like a chef? Want no more, as Hush Bistro’s chef Marc Anthony Bynum shares his tips to make the most of your trips to the market.

To market, to market to buy a fat pig…along with a couple of fat hens, some ducks, and maybe a side of beef. Marc Anthony Bynum, chef and owner of Hush Bistro in Farmingdale, New York, only has to stroll down the block to Farmingdale’s Main Street Meats to do most of his daily meat and poultry shopping. The Farmingdale native and two-time Food Network’s Chopped champion opened his first brick and mortar restaurant, Hush Bistro, just seven months ago, embracing both his hometown and local foodshed.

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There is no disputing that the catchphrase “farm-to-table” has become a bit overused, and, at times, misused. Bynum is fully committed to serving his patrons the best from Long Island’s farms, fisheries, and vineyards and visits these producers, ensuring his patrons get “the best of the best.” Idealistic, yet completely realistic, Bynum defines local as 500 miles from Farmingdale, which includes the rich Hudson Valley. In addition to carnivorous offerings from, literally, down the street, Bynum is “switching it up a bit and I am now working with d’Artagnan for some of the best organic meats and delicacies from upstate New York.” When shopping for beef or pork, Bynum recommends knowing the cuts; the best cuts (rump, ribs or loins) come from the back of the animal, while the working (for stews and marinating) cuts (shoulder, flank, and legs) come from the front. Don’t shy away from fat, he cautions. “Fat equals flavor.” A good cut of beef should have plenty of white flecks of fat. “A well-marbled cut is self-basting and will remain tender, moist and juicy. Super lean meats can dry out if not basted continuously,” explains Bynum.

Seafood appears, like most of Hush’s dinner offerings, as specials. Whatever is just-off-the-boat is what’s for dinner. Bynum’s number one rule when shopping for seafood is, “If it smells fishy, it isn’t fresh. Also, avoid finfish that looks slimy and has cloudy eyes, and shellfish that is gaping.”Continue Reading

10 Restaurants with Their Own Farms: Happy #EarthDay

In honor of Earth Day, we’ve rounded up 10 restaurants that take the farm-to-table concept to another level — they have their very own farms. Talk about private stock. Celebrate Earth Day and sustainability with a reservation at one of these eateries that takes locavorism to a hyper local level!

Pawtomack Farm 41. Black Cat Farm Table, Boulder, Colorado + Black Cat Farm, Boulder, Colorado.

Chef Eric Skokan wasn’t a trained farmer when he started Black Cat Farm, but he likely qualifies as one now. After trial and error and advice from fellow farmers, he is now a skilled self-taught tractor driver and producer of American Mulefoot pigs and grower of sublime heirloom tomatoes, both of which you’ll find on the menus at Black Cat Farm Table and gastropub Bramble & Hare.

2. Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, New York + Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, Pocantico Hills, New York.

Dan Barber was inspired by the past to forge the future in establishing one of the nation’s most important restaurant-farm partnerships. Blue Hill opened on Stone Barns’ 80 acres in 2004, and the farm and the restaurant serve as a model for sustainable agriculture and cuisine.

3. JG Domestic, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania + Luna Farm, Ottsville, Pennsylvania.

Jose Garces and his family purchased an all-organic 40-acre farm not just as a family getaway; the farm, named for the Garces’s dog and the region’s breathtaking harvest moons, Luna Farms provides freshly grown produce for chef Garces’s east coast restaurants, including Amada, Tinto, and Volver.

4. L’Espalier, Boston, Massachusetts + Apple Street Farm, Essex, Massachusetts.

Apple Street Farm was founded in 2009 by L’Espalier chef McClelland, and its 14 acres serve as the primary source of organic harvests of everything from artichokes to zucchini, free-range poultry and pork, egg-laying hens, honey, and more for L’Espalier. The restaurant is 26 miles away, and chef McClelland is known to hand-deliver just-picked product to his team of chefs.

5. The Mulefoot Gastropub, Imlay, Michigan + Romine Family Farm, Imlay, Michigan.

The Mulefoot’s namesake comes from the heritage breed of pork that is served at the gastropub and raised at their local family farm located about eight miles from the restaurant. Chefs and twin brothers Matt and Mike Romine look after the pigs when they’re not working in the kitchen of their restaurant, but father Joe primarily tends to the heritage hogs, first procured from local Toad Hall Farm in Emmet.

6. PRESS, St. Helena, California + Rudd Farms, St. Helena, California.Continue Reading

Roof to Table: 10 Rooftop Restaurant Gardens

Bachelor-Farmer-RooftopHappy Earth Day! In honor of the 44th year of putting the green back into the globe, we present 10 restaurants with their own rooftop gardens. Diners can savor the super-freshly grown flavor just hours after these hyper-local fruits, vegetables, and herbs were harvested by restaurant staffers. While rooftop gardens cannot provide a restaurant with all of its produce (Yet!), the culinary pros at these restaurants find inspiration from and clever uses for everything they are able to sow.

1. The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis, Minnesota

It’s only fitting that a restaurant with farmer in its name have a microfarm on its roof. Located in a lovingly refurbished warehouse, the Bachelor Farmer team grows herbs and hearty greens on their first-of-its-kind Twin Cities rooftop garden. Relying on containers, they use a series of vessels for the plants they nurture, including blue kiddie pools. Serving Nordic cuisine, The Bachelor Farmer carefully sources additional produce from area farms. Its rooftop farm dates back to the restaurant’s opening in 2011.

2. Bastille Cafe & Bar, Seattle, Washington

Bastille restaurant has one of the most successful and copied rooftop gardens in the country. Growing an impressive 12-15% of the produce and herbs served at the eatery in 2,500 square feet of space, Jason Stoneburner shared that they find great success “with various heirloom varieties of radish, carrots, turnips and arugula. These staples grow apace and are easy to cultivate.We do experiment with lesser known greens, veggies and flowers such as spilanthes, shunkyo radish, curry plant, ice plant, anise hyssop and winter density romaine. Just to name a few.” Diners can tour the garden, which was installed in 2009, during the high season by appointment for $10, which includes a tasty Pimms Cup cocktail.

3. Cedar, Washington, D.C.

Atop Cedar in the nation’s capital, chef Aaron McCloud sows a healthy portion of the produce that diners at his ‘field and stream meets urban’ restaurant. He favors herbs, tomatoes, and squash, but he also grows and serves edible flowers, including marigolds. “Marigolds are really pretty, but they have this nice little aromatic bite that I think enhance a salad or a garnish — that works really well,” he said.

4. flour + water, San Francisco, California

As Thomas McNaughton, David White, and David Steele were putting pizza on the map in San Francisco, they were also raising the roof — with a garden. With just 450 square feet, they revealed that they are able to source 5 percent of flour + water’s produce from the garden. There is also a beehive, and the resulting honey finds its way into dishes as well. Sister restaurant Central Kitchen also boasts a rooftop garden, where artichokes, peas, young favas, foraged greens and herbs are grown.

5. Fountain at The Four Seasons, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Even the folks at the swanky Four Seasons aren’t immune to the charms of digging in the dirt. These early-adopters added a rooftop garden in 2009. Eight stories above the city, in nine raised beds, Fountain staffers grow herbs, peas, bok choi, peppers, and more, all of which find their way into the dishes served at the restaurant. The green doesn’t end there, tho’. The Four Seasons also composts 128 tons annually of leftovers (off-site) and uses the end product to fertilize the beds and the grounds of the hotel.

6. Noble Rot, Portland, Oregon

Their website proclaims, “The garden is the soul at Noble Rot in Portland.” Even with that noble and fuzzy statement, though, these horticultural-culinary mad scientists take a rather mercenary approach to their garden. That which does not thrive does not stick around for long. And, as they continue to tinker with what they sow, they do the same with their systems, learning as they grow (or not). A whopping 3,000 square-feet, irrigated by an aquifer beneath the building, the garden provides menu items almost year-round (indicated in capital letters on the Noble Rot menu). There are free garden tours on Tuesdays at 5:00PM.

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Queen Seeks Chef; Farm-to-Table Restaurants Now Just Called Restaurants + More News

BreadFood and dining news from around the web and the world…

* Can you cook dishes fit for the Queen? She’s looking for a new chef. [Daily Mail]

* Bread crimes. They’re a real thing. [Calgary Herald]

* Is saying ‘farm-to-table restaurant’ redundant? Possibly — because most restaurants are sourcing from local farms. [Atlanta Journal Constitution]

* Chef: The Movie. Jon Favreau is set to do for chefs what he did for struggling actors and hipsters with Swingers. [Indie Wire]

* Are celebrity chefs making you fat? Maybe? [Time]Continue Reading