Monthly Archives: August 2011

Bouche

Carbonara Custard . Egg Yolk Caramel . Smoked Lava Salt

This was the amuse that I made a few days ago. Caramel is made with sugar, herbs, coriander and other aromatics, brought to blonde caramel and poured over organic egg yolks and allowed to thicken. The custard is made from a cream base with; bacon, herbs, pepper, garlic, marsala. It is then set with kappa carrageenan directly onto the plate. To finish is a little Hawaiian smoked lava salt


Utilization

One thing that I am truly passionate about is utilizing every part of each plant or animal that comes into my kitchen. Not out of the nessecity of being “green” but to be truly honest it is to show technique. How many ways can I utilize this ingredient, how many textures, flavors, visuals can this ingredient provide. That is one of the many reasons I like this dish. This dish is from the culinary imagination of the Chef de Cuisine Joel Huff. When I asked him what his inspiration for the dish was he answered it exactly how I expected. “Well, there are so many awesome tomatoes in california I just wanted to show case them” (He’s a Cali-Boy)

Heirloom Tomato, Panzanella, Burrata Panna Cotta, Basils

Gazpacho H2o

Heirloom Tomato Paste

These are heirloom tomato bricks used on the salad. You cant say Joel doesn’t have knife skills. Notice the scraps in the background on the left and below, we will get to these later.

                                                                                         

 

Salad Components Include:

Several sizes, and types of heirloom tomatoes, raw, dehydrated, marinated

Vinaigrette; Grapeseed and Olive Oil, Sherry Vin, Port Wine Reduction, Toasted garlic and shallots, white peppercorns, fennel seeds, dijon, honey

Burrata Panna Cotta, Fresh Buratta, Buffalo Mozzarella, Half and Half, gelatin, agar

Basils, Thai, Blue African, Sweet, Opal, Buds, Flowers

Flowers

Hydroponic Watercress

Croutons; Brioche blocks, kalamata olive bread crisps

Marinated Boccacini, capers, fine’ herbs, dried chili, lemon rind

Kalamata Olive Emulsion, olive oil, lemon, lime, zest and jus, xantham, tapioca starch

Dehydrated Olive Soil

Agrumato Lemon Oil

Maldon Sea Salt


Now back to the part of Utilization for which this post is named, we do an interrupter or a mid course between the appetizers and entrees. Since we are in Miami it is only right that we do a nice refreshing gazpacho. We did want to make it nice so making a gazpacho water or H2o was necessary.

In order to make the gazpacho we take all of the scraps from the tomato salad and puree them in the blender with these other aromatics (note: when making this you must make sure that you do not over puree other wise microscopic particles of the tomato and vegetables will cloud the juice).

Heirloom Scraps, Red Onion, Peeled and Seeded Cucumbers, Jalapeno, Ginger, Red Bell Pepper, Raw Garlic, Mint, Basil, Cilantro, Lime Zest, Lime Jus, Sherry Vinegar, Honey, Sea Salt

Take all of these components and blend them in the blender. Seasoning each batch with acid and salt. Pour the puree over and cheese cloth lined perforated pan then let drip at room temperature for 3-4 hours. or refrigerate overnight. You should have a gold tinted water when done.

  



Just When you think that you are done Utilizing you have plenty of tomato gazpacho puree leftover inside the cheesecloth once it is done dripping. Then only thing left to do is make tomato paste right. As far as I know everyone makes their own tomato paste! (J/K) After William and I spoke about this opportunity he took full advantage of the idea and executed it perfectly. We use this for our stocks and jus.

Utilize


Duck and Roots


Air Cured Duck Breast, Leg Confit, Absinthe Jade Rice Risotto, Roots, Sassafras Jus

This dish is one of my favorite plates to ever present, each plate is very different from the one before. For me it makes it personal for each diner. I like to think that the diners look into my dishes and look at it like a little world, each time they look they find something else. This was a great selling dish but let me tell you when you have six on fire its time to push because they do take some time.

Components Include:

Air Dried Duck Breast Pan Seared

Crispy Leg Confit

Absinthe and Jade Rice Risotto with Honshemaji and Morel mushrooms

Crispy burdock root, salsify, tarro root

Puffed Jade Rice seasoned with shiso

Garlic Roots

Malabar Spinach

Frilly Mustard Greens

Root Beer Gastrique

Sassafras Duck Jus

Shiso Oil


Moving Forward

It has been a long long time since i have been in a position that I thought I had enough influence on the menu and menu changes to continue this blog. This blog has help make me the Chef that I am today. In the early days of the blog I had no idea what I was doing but, I kept on trying new techniques and flavor combinations. Studying the best chefs in the world to get inspiration while still trying to be true to myself. Now I have gotten to the point where I can create dishes without the direct inspiration from “Classic” dishes or famous chefs, understanding the science of the cuisine, and of modern cooking overall have made it so much more interesting for me on a daily basis. Always asking myself, Why does the scallop flame up when put into a smoking hot pan (the scallop is mainly water and the water evaporates and when the hydrogen and oxygen separate into gas the extreme heat from the burner catches them aflame, as well as the oil evaporating with it), When should I add the acid to this puree, or sauce, do i want it to be on the front of the palate or the back to clear rich fatty flavors. These are things that keep me pushing forward in order to make the best food possible (I mean that is the point isnt it).

The old posts can still be found under the archives page, they are in one long blog roll (at the moment that I blogged this post not all of them can be seen I have to copy and paste at least a hundred more) because I wanted to present this new chapter in my career from a fresh start. I do like to look back at what I thought was really cool food, usually having a good laugh at myself but, still seeing what was my vision.

Recently I have moved to Miami to work at Azul in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. From the last time you heard of me I moved to Chicago to work at Alinea. It was not for me so after five weeks left to open up the Three Michelin Star L2O under Chef Laurent Gras, I was there a year and half. I left L2O for the One Michelin Start BOKA as Pastry Sous Chef just for a few months. Then there was and opportunity to open EPIC I was the Executive Sous Chef and in 2010 we were named on of Esquire Magazines Best New Restaurants. Moving Forward here is the first dish I got on the menu at Azul.

(The Chef de Cuisine is Joel Huff and the Assistant Chef de Cuisine is Jacob Anaya)

The first dish that Joel asked me to work on was the octopus. It was already being smoked and paired with madras curry and since I did not have all day to work on it I changed it one component at a time and in about a week and half we had a dish. It did transform continuously until it is now finalized. The citrus component was originally marinated kumquat (which in florida are very acidic and not too bitter) to, marinated orange, to now marinated grapefruit. The whole dish is controlling the flavors of bitterness, which when it comes to seafood octopus is one of the more “bitter” proteins.

I like to plate naturally I do not believe that a plate needs to look exactly the same every time that you put it up. That is what Mcdonalds does, same thing over and over, I want the cooks that are plating these dish to be inspired by each and every component. The dish should look like it is growing out of the the plate. Organic. Not produced.

Sous Vide Spanish Octopus, Cauliflower-Vadouvan Puree, Brown Butter Babbaganoush, Squid Ink


Components include:

Spanish Octopus, Scrubbed in salt then seasoned with madras curry powder, smoked paprika, cumin, and vadouvan. Then sous vide at 65C for 12-14 hr. with bruleed leek, ginger, garlic, and jalapeno. Aromatics including white pepper, coriander seed, crushed red pepper, rosemary, and thyme immersed in olive oil

Burnt Eggplant and brown butter babbaganoush. The outer parts including the skin of the eggplant are burnt in an iron skillet pan and pureed. Then mixed with a brown butter and onion confit mayonaisse.

Cauliflower and Vadouvan puree thickened with tapioca starch

Crisped eggplant skin, and cauliflower greens

Preserved Meyer lemon bruinoise

Grapefruit segments marinated with the same spices as the octopus

Pea Shoots

Hibiscus leaves (nice bite and acidity)

Leek rings

Squid Ink and Pedro Ximenez Vinaigrette

Olive Oil

The pic of the first changes of the dish.