Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Years Eve Menu

Our New Years Eve Menu this year is being called the "chefs whim".. 5 courses of whatever we want to do for you.  Most nights we roll with the punches and develop some dishes on the spot for our tasting menu. we have  fun with the ingredients we have in house and bring in a new item or two to throw on our tasting menus.
But a holiday in a restaurant is not one to screw with...no way we can just develop something on the fly for 150 seperate tasting menus...so I started developing some of this years dishes tonight. A hefty order from one of my favorite purveuyors brought in red leg partridge, hudson valley foie gras, heavy bag of fresh winter truffles, venison tenderloin, veal sweetbreads & painted hills beef to name a few.

Some of the dishes to expect this NYE

Cured Venison Carpaccio/walnut & horseradish cream

Veal Sweetbread "Lyonnaise"/1 hour egg/banyuls vinagrette

Red Leg Partridge/puy lentils/truffled cabbage

Gingerbread Stout Cake/egg nog froth/organic local cranberries

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Story (love story)

I think every chef and foodie has a story...a love story about one meal or dish that changed the way they think and approach food. For me it was a simple dish on the River running through Logrono in Spains wine capital of Rioja.Grilled Pork Belly over open fire of olive wood, sea salt & lime. Served with fresh baked baquette and a bottle of Rioja served in a traditional drinking vessel called a poron. It took me into a world in which a meal can tell stories of what is in season, where people are from, and if you read between the lines, where they are going.
As I beging to think about where I'm going professionally, I want to make sure that every dish that comes out of the kitchen tells the story I want it to tell. I want the diner to enjoy every bite as if it was their last, and with each bite dive deeper into a story about where the food came from, how was it prepared and why they think I decided to put certain components together.
I want to take my cuisine up a notch (or two or three), take what Ive learned this past year about sustainability & the local farming in my region and combine it with the ability to provide a dining experience that my guests will not forget. Building who I am as a chef is something that will constantly evolve and change as the time goes by, one of the best reasons for being a chef if you ask me. Its never mundane or repetitive, as long as you strive to challenge yourself and allow your cuisine to evolve into what you are..not what you think people want it to be. Stay true to who you are and where your from and let that story be told through your food. Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 20, 2009

2009 in pictures

As look back on 2009, I can honestly say that its probably been the of the best years in my career so far. One of my all time goals was achieved much earlier than I had ever anticipated...cooking at the James Beard House, I was humbled by winning a Rising Star Chef Award from starchefs.com. I have cooked alongside some amazing chefs starting with my own team at Tastings (Matt & Imani) and then outside the restaurant at some of the regions most well known culinary events including the Nantucket Food & Wine Festival where I was one of the 2009 culinary luminaries, I was invited to cook at the Governors Holiday Ball as well as some amazing wine dinners with some of the countries most influential people in wine today including Jorge Ordonez and the Duckhorn Wine Collection.

On a personal note, its been tough without my DAD around but my wife and family have been there for me. My wife and I purchased our first home together, have had a wonderful time watching our two children become their own persons, and my oldest has become a pre-teen....not sure what to expect in 2010 but I can tell you that if its anything like 2009....I'm in for a great year.
A lot of pictures but hope you have time to watch the slide show

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Berkshire Pork Shank is Back!!!

Vermouth Braised Berkshire Pork Shank
Peruvian Lima Beans, house cured pancetta, orange gremolata, almond milk froth

One of my favorite dishes we had on the menu last winter is back for a second tour of duty this seasson. For some reason we didnt include the pancetta, but after a week of saying "WTF is missing....pancetta!!!" the original dish returns....Matt stated to cure the pork bellies yesterday for pancetta and soon we will again have the best winter dish on our menu!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Governors Holiday Ball

I have been asked to cook at the Governors Holiday Ball this year.

What an honor to be selected to showcase the cuisine at Tastings among some of the biggest names in Bostons culinary scene of today....many of which I grew up with wanting to follow in their footsteps.

The event is called "A Culinary Affair" a VIP walk around tasting for the Governor and 300 of his special guests. I have decided to make my dish a celebration of what the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has to offer the culinary world.

Chilled Westport Rivers Poached Island Creek Oysters
 red beet mignonette ,caviar

Westport Rivers Winery is located in Southeastern MA, right on the ocean in Westport MA. The produce one of the finest sparkling wines made in the USA today.

I have written about Island Creek Oysters in the past, and many of you know that these oysters have graced the table of the finest restaurants in the world including Thomas Kellers restaurants The French Laundry, Bouchon & Per Se.

The Caviar is being purchased from The Little Pearl one of the countries leading distributors of fine American sustainable caviar, free of pollution and preservatives. Voted as the Best Domestic caviar by the Chefs in America Organization. The connection to MA, their home base......Boston MA.

I will bring a camera to this event for sure...not just for the food but more importantly to get a great picture of Matt in a tuxedo!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

White Carrot "Creme Brulee" /Saffron & Blood Orange Foam/Petite Basil Salad

Saturday marks our second year participating in the Rodman Ride For Kids Celebration For Kids, a fundraiser at the World Trade Center in Boston to raise much needed money for The Rodman Ride for Kids, an umbrella matching gift charity raising funds for youth-focused social service agencies in Massachusetts.

Tickets are still available by clicking here....hope to see you there.

Our dish this year, Savory White Carrot "Creme Brulee"/Saffron & Blood Orange Foam/Petite Basil Salad..I think we bit off a little more than we can chew....700 portions, prep begins tomorrow morning!!!
Honestly....all worth it.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Winter Menu 2010

a few selections off this seasons newest winter menu items were releasing this coming week

Hook & Line Caught Haddock Chowder/house smoked haddock/white truffle/chives

Duck "Lyonnaise"/fried duck egg/duck prosciutto/duck cracklings/frisse/blood orange & mustard vin

Plancha Seared Vermont Quail/Pear & sage stuffing/maple sherry jus/sweet potato hash

Blue Hill Bay Bouchot Mussels/winter lager/house cured pork belly/grain mustard

Domestic Lamb Ragu/pappardelle/cooksville grana cheese

Bombster Scallops/cumin & carrot puree/saffron oil/local foraged mushrooms/orange zest/cardamom

Northeast Family Farms Roast Sirloin/sunchoke & local potato gratin/crispy brussel sprout/black truffle

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Green Chefs Blue Ocean

Interested in running a more sustainable seafood program? One of my favorite organizations (Chefs Collaborative) has teamed up with the Blue Ocean Institute and created a website designed to educate professional chefs & culinary students about how to operate a successful sustainable seafood operation.

I am in the process of completing the course and I have passed this along to my crew at Tastings. Its great to be able to share this with my team and then talk about what we are all taking from this program.
Green Chefs Blue Ocean

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

James Beard House Dinner Saturday March 6, 2010

The date has been confirmed that our next James Beard Dinner will be Saturday March 6, 2010. Last year we sold out our venue so =buy your tickets early this year. Tickets can be purchased by calling the JBF directly at 212.627.1111.
We are excited to be working with Jorgr Ordonez & Fine Estates From Spain. on our 3rd project together. We have teamed up for some amazing wine dinners this past year and we are all committed to making this the creme de la creme of all our projects thus far.
The menu is just about finalized and will include center of the plate items from the North East Region combined with great Spanish ingredients....for me its back to my preferred style of cooking with strong Spanish influences. Matt & I are excited about this menu and the direction its going.

Bombster Scallops Crudo/salsify puree/lime/marcona almonds

Godello Poached Island Creek Oysters/green apple consomme/meyer lemon infused Las Brisas olive oil

Hudson Valley Lola Duck "Ham" & Confit/truffled Spanish lentils/gilfeather turnip

Braised Lamb Belly/Asturias white Beans/morcilla blood sausage (or foie sausage....not sure yet we will taste and then make a desicion ) /green harissa

Saffron Scented Flan/dried apricot cookie/cranberry

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I'm a kid at heart...in more ways than one. One of my favorite all American things to eat is a peanut butter & jelly sandwich on good ole' white bread. And my other favorite thing is Foie Gras....by no means is this a "new" application for foie, but can I tell you that it is one of the best combinations out there.

Pictured above we have a foie gras peanut butter & jelly "sandwich"...Wards Berry Farm Blackberries preserves, natural peanut butter, brioche fried in foie fat, and seared Hudson Valley foie gras, Maine sea salt. We were running this on tasting menus over the summer.

Recently we received a case of tempranillo grapes for a VIP dinner for one of the United States top Spanish wine importers. We changed this dish up a bit and made a Tempranillo Grape Jelly, Marcona Almond Butter & Foie Gras Sandwich. What an interpretation of a PB&J!

Now the season is screaming for apple & membrillo preserves and we received a few pounds of Rhode Island Grown Walnuts. I could go on and on..........but one thing is for sure, the PB&J is reborn!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

dessert menu

Coffee "Faux" Gras/Cardamom & Coffee Infused Dates/Red Wine Biscotti Crumble/Yogurt Cheese

I'm not a pastry chef, and lately I have been really trying to figure out how we can take our desserts to the next level. At Tastings we are not currently in a position to have a FT pastry chef, so we take it upon ourselves to develop, test and execute pastry projects for our menu. Believe me when I tell you that something about pastry and me don't mix.... I am a chef  though, so the basics I have down, and we develop great desserts but are always playing it safe,  but I really want to take it to the next level. Maybe I don't have to be so "safe" when it comes to desserts. But how?
The dessert above was "on the fly"  Matt & I were doing a tasting menu for Green Mountain Coffee and some of Bostons top food bloggers. The theme was coffee and every course had coffee in a different form, used in a different way or texture. I wanted to do something that was different, so I played on a classic dessert in Morocco where coffee is infused with cardamom and then that is used to infuse fruits. We had some dates and the result was extremely tasty...Matt was making a fluid gel, coffee of course, and the result was pretty cool. Instead of pureeing the gel to make the fluid gel, we left it as a firm gel. The look was pretty cool, texture needed some work but overall.....very good dessert. Why cant all our decisions on dessert come out like this. The winter menu is under development...I'm looking forward to sharing with you what we do for our dessert menu. In the mean time.....hopefully more "on the fly" ideas begin to shape our thought process in the pastry department.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Great Company

(photo by Star Chefs)
Last night was the awards ceremony and gala for the 2009 Boston rising star chefs awards....I am very honored to be included in this great group of chefs from some of Bostons best eating establishments. Made some great new friends and confirmed that chefs in our area just love what we do. After working in other cities and countries I am confident that Boston has the most committed group of chefs working TOGETHER to promote our passion for what we do.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fresh or Frozen

In our quest to find the highest quality products from the New England region we came across a small scallop company out of Stonington CT that sells sea scallops, beautiful, large, dry and sweet. The flavor and texture are unlike many scallops I have tried in the past. Firm,silky smooth texture and a delicate sweetness only found in the high quality freshest scallops on the market.
Bomster Scallops out of Stonington CT are one of the best scallops I have ever used......and the catch here is they are frozen!?
But before you stop reading and tell me Im crazy, and that I live and work near one of the largest scallop ports in the world(New Bedford), you have to pay attention to the story.
The condensed version:

sea scallops, unlike smaller bay scallops, live in relatively deep waters scallop boats typically go out for ten days or more at a time.

Scallops can’t survive long out of their briny bath, so crew members shuck their catch as soon as it’s hauled on board. Standard practice, is to then wrap the scallops in canvas bags and store them on ice. By the time the boats dock, the scallops at the bottom of the hold may have been sitting in melting ice for a week or more.

Seafood suppliers buy the catch and all too often subject it to a further indignity: a soaking in sodium tripolyphosphate to cut down on moisture loss in frozen seafood, but the chemical can also be used to get scallops to absorb extra water. This “wet packing,” as it’s called, increases the scallops’ weight—and suppliers’ margins. I believe it gives the scallops an off flavor and may mask the signs of spoiling.

Bobmster Scallops Story
Working side-by-side at two metal troughs, each member of a seven-member crew cuts the circular white abductor muscle from its shell. It takes about a second and a half to shuck each scallop. The scallops are quickly rinsed in ocean water, then vacuum packed and laid in a single layer on metal pans. The pans slot into an industrial freezer that can reach 20 below in a matter of seconds.

The packaging seals in the natural juices, while quick freezing means ice crystals don’t have a chance to form, compromising the texture. The flesh is never exposed to fresh water and never treated with chemicals. Virtually a product that when defrosted properly has the same charecteristics that it had on the boat.

So far I have not been able to get any of my friends to tell me by taste test which scallop is frozen and which is not....but in all honesty the scallop that they all say has a better texture and flavor......Bombster

Stonington Seafood Harvesters, Stonington Town Dock, 4 High Street, Stonington, Connecticut, 860-535-8342.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Amazing VIP Dinner

Not every day that I can say I had osetra caviar, sevruga caviar, white truffles, kobe beef, live sea urchin and more in my walk in at the same time for one dinner......but last night I was able to say just that.
Picture this....Monday holiday, 11am, phone call from one of the owners letting me know that a vip will be in for dinner at 7pm with 4 guests and he wants the best of the best. Knowing this person( and a heads up from one of his right hands) I knew that that meant the finest ingredients known to this season.
Great.....?! Monday holiday and 7 hours to source fresh white alba truffles, kobe beef, live sea urchin etc....and not to mention that we had one of the best weekends we've seen in a while, low on prep, and two of my top guys out of the state.
Called my sous chef and told him to prepare for a crazy day, call in one of my line cooks and get to work on writing a menu.
The menu: the day I should have a camera....none in sight!

Damariscotta River Oysters (cava mignonette)
Osetra Caviar & Sevruga Caviar Tastings (4oz each)

Live Sea Urchin & Braised Fennel Soup (served in shell)

Crispy Veal Sweetbread, smoked gala apple puree, pickled gala apples, vanilla balsamic

Foie Gras "PB&J" Toasted Brioche, Marcona Almond Butter & Fresh Tempranillo Grape Jam, little bunch of fresh Tempranillo grapes

Rioja Risotto(made with red rioja wine) parm foam, fresh white truffles (2oz)

Kobe Beef Tenderloin, last of the season corn puree, trumpet royale, cilantro salad

Spanish Cheese Tasting(sheeps milk Manchengo, mountain goat cheese,Galician Cream) membrillo

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fun Tailgating Video for HOW2HEROS

Matt & I shot some videos fro how2heros last week. A little out of the norm for cuisine style, but we had a blast shooting our version of great tailgating(with style) recipes!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Heirloom Harvest Week Oct 12-18

The purpose of the 2009 Grow-Out is to celebrate and raise awareness of agricultural biodiversity, while promoting the development of markets for locally-raised, regionally-significant, heirloom produce in New England.

The Grow-Out project is run with a belief in the power of community building and celebration in growing and enhancing local food economies. Twenty-eight farmers and thirty-five chefs in Boston, MA; Portsmouth, NH and Providence, RI are participating in the Grow-Out this year. Each farmer is growing some of the sixteen varieties of regionally significant, heirloom vegetables chosen for the project. Seeds were donated to the project by Seed Savers Exchange, Fedco Seeds and Old Sturbridge Village. Farmers are “growning out” these seeds and participant chefs are buying the produce, featuring and celebrating it on their menus. To read more about the project, farmers and chefs, check out the Chefs Collaborative blog.
Heirloom Harvest Week is a celebration of New England’s agricultural heritage, biodiversity and farmer-chef connections. On October 12th – 18th, all the Grow-Out participant restaurants in Boston, Providence and Portsmouth will have one or more items on their menu highlighting and honoring locally grown vegetables from the project. Stop by to eat delicious food while supporting your local restaurants and farms and celebrating New England’s agricultural heritage.


We will be serving the following dishes & cocktails at Tastings

Boston Marrow Squash Flan
Simply Fried Jimmy Nardello Peppers (heirloom sweet pepper)
Sweet Siberian Yellow Watermelon Cocktail titled "Nice Melons" (by mixologist Scott Shoer)

Monday, October 5, 2009


The LOLA DUCK is here and I made sure I was the first to order some in the Boston Area!
A true heritage breed duck, bred from a domesticated White Pekin and a not-so domesticated Mallard. It is truly unique and the very first project of its kind taken on by Hudson Valley duck farm. I am always looking for regionally local,Lola ducks are bred, hatched, raised and processed in Ferndale, NY.
The flesh of the LOLA DUCK is dark red/crimson in color and has a rich gamey flavor and texture reminiscent of squab. This bird is far leaner than is Pekin parent. The fat that it does have is rich in duck-fatty flavor. They are air-chilled, which is the proven hands-down best and cleanest way to process poultry.
The LOLA DUCK grows slowly. Definitely SLOW FOOD! It takes 12 weeks to get to its weight of 3 lbs, which is almost twice the time as it takes to raise a 5 lb Pekin.
The inspiration to produce the LOLA DUCK came from Normandy, France, best known as the region which exports the delicious apple brandy, Calvados. Their ducks are not commercially exported and therefore less is known about the rich diversity of heritage breed ducks. Every cluster of villages has its’ own unique style. Every farmer has his own unique breeding stock and there is a centuries-old tradition of raising artisanal heritage breed ducks.
A first of its kind in the US!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Rising Star Chefs Boston 2009

Well, I told you about the tasting for starchefs.com(TM) a couple of months ago, and early this week I received a phone call from the editor in chief informing me that I have been selected as one of this years Rising Star Chefs, Boston 2009! What a great honor and to be selected as one of about a dozen rising stars out of about 70 nominees is a great accomplishment for my crew and I.

StarChefs.com(TM), is an online magazine for culinary insiders,The Rising Star Awards recognize up-and-coming chefs, pastry chefs, sommeliers, and mixologists from around the country that represent future leaders of the national culinary scene. Candidates are nominated by the StarChefs Advisory Board, previous winners, local media, StarChefs' editorial research and through the StarChefs.com website. Winners are then chosen by the StarChefs editorial team by conducting interviews and multi course tastings with each chef.

Specifically, I won the award for most sustainable chef in this region, which is great because we focus a lot of our energy in making sure we follow a sustainability program that feasible to follow and allows us to maintain the high level of execution that we demand out of every dish. We also focus on sustainable practices as much as we can within the restaurant.

I could not have won this without my entire crew at Tastings especially chef de cuisine Matt Maue, who I promise you will be one of the next rising stars in the Boston community.

There is going to be a gala and awards ceremony November 3, 2009 at The State Room in Boston. I will get you details of the event( where to purchase tickets, cost etc) If you are an industry professional, there will be an industry only after party
(time and location TBD) that you can also send a request in to attend visit the starchefs.com web page. Space will be limited.

A few of the other culinary winners this year include:

Chef Will Gilson Garden at The Cellar
Chef Jamie Bissonette Toro & soon to be Coppa
Chef Joanne Chang Myers & Chang & Flour Bakery
Chef Luis Dibicarri Sel de la Terre
Chef Andres Grundy Clio
Chef Chris Chung Uni
Chef Rachel Klein Aura & Seaport Hotel
Pastry Chef Jiho Kim of L'Espalier
Chef Mike Pagliarini of Via Matta

Monday, September 28, 2009

Blackbird Farm

Much of our beef lately has been coming from Blackbird Farm in Smithfeild R.I, We have been buying a lot of beef tongue, ground beef, skirt and other offal. Less than 30 miles from the restaurant we are expereinceing some of the best beef the USA has to offer in my opinion. Unless I am looking for Wagyu Beef, Blackbird is my only other choice as of late.
Raising cattle is a family affair for Ann-Marie Bouthillette and her husband, Kevin. They—along with daughter, Samantha, and sons, Brandon and Troy—tend to more than fifty cattle at Blackbird Farm. Most of the bulls are Angus, chosen for optimal breeding and taste, though they’ve added a few Hereford as well
They select top Black Angus cows from across the country known for their production quality. The cows are then bred by artificial insemination on the farm with top Angus bulls that carry superior genetics. The better the genetics, the higher the yield with beautiful marbled meat. Angus females calve easily (i.e. give birth without much stress), partly because of the small size of a typical Angus calf, and have good calf rearing ability. After the calves are born, approximately at seven months of age, they are weaned and fed an all natural diet.
Cattle raised for beef are allowed to roam free on the grasslands surrounding the homestead and barn. They are fed an all-natural, very regulated diet of grain including oats and hay that is harvested locally just for them.Antibiotics are given only when needed, in the case of illness.For more information or to try Blackbird for yourself.....
Blackbird Farm
122 Lyme Rock Road

Friday, September 25, 2009

James Beard House Part 2

As mentioned a few weeks ago, we were invited back to NYC to host another dinner at the James Beard House. Last years opportunity was amazing! We held it down and were humbled by the opportunity to cook in the kitchen of the father of American Gastronomy.
Although the date(2010) is still TBD, I can tell you that we are excited to team up with Jorge Ordonez and his brand "Fine Estates of Spain". Jorge is well known to those in the business, of course, as the U.S.-based founder of Jorge Ordonez Fine Estates of Spain, we refer to him as the king of Spanish wine distribution on American soil.
Over the past year at Tastings Wine Bar & Bistro we have become very good friends of Jorge and his staff, traveling to Nantucket to host a premier wine dinner for some of Nantuckets high profile summer guests and have held numerous events at the restaurant featuring his wines,that have by far been some of the most popular wine tastings and events we have put on.

Its an honor to be able to team up with him at the James Beard House.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fair Trade Cook Off

Received an email yesterday inviting me to participate in a "top chef-masters" style cook off in a few weeks. The event is to bring awareness to the Boston press and foodies about Fair Trade. I will be competing against 3 other chefs who are focused on sustainability, locavore mentality and supporting fair trade. I don't have many details as of yet, but what I do know is that I have to create a dish using 5 fair trade ingredients one of those MUST be coffee(Green Mountain). The other talented chefs I will be competing against are Will Gilson(Garden At The Cellar), Peter Mcarthy (EVOO) and Jay Silva (Bambara). Winner gets money to donate to a favorite charity. As I get more details I will be sure to pass along to you!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Fall Menu Released Today at Tastings Wine Bar & Bistro!!!!

*** SALADS & SOUPS ***

Evas organic greens, white balsamic & local cranberry honey vinaigrette

warm garlic and Spanish white anchovy vinaigrette

Great Hill blue cheese, apples, dates, walnuts, sherry vinaigrette

sage dusted croutons, pumpkin seed oil



heirloom cherry tomatoes, pepperoncini, preserved lemon, kalamata olives, parsley, roasted garlic

truffles, parmesan stock

chorizo stuffing

smoked tomato, mozzeralla stuffed arancini

autumn succotash, tarragon oil

herbs, orange

*** ENTREES ***

butter basted,seasonal vegetables, roasted red bliss potatoes

wagyu skirt steak, bistro fries, truffle butter

hazelnut brown butter, capers, sous vide butternut squash puree, swiss chard

fresh horseradish potato puree, candied shallots

ricotta gnocchi, tomato, preserved lemon, Spanish olive oil

roasted apples, local turnips, baby rocket lettuce

crispy veal sweetbread, vanilla balsamic

late summer corn puree, Spanish chorizo, wild mushrooms

white beans, garlic sausage, Hudson Valley duck confit

Chef's Tasting Menu

Available every night. Experience the pleasure of a wide variety of tastes created by Executive Chef Rich Garcia and Chef de Cuisine Matt Maue, using local ingredients from sustainable resources. Also savor the best wines personally selected by Sommelier Dave Cicciarella to complement the dishes.

5 courses ...$59 with wine pairings ...$79

New England Artisan Cheeses 1 ...$6 / 3 ...$15 / 5 ...$21

Neighborly Farms Raw Milk Cheddar - VT, Boggy Meadow Fiddlehead Tomme - NH, Coupole - VT, Camembert - VT, Great Hill Blue - MA

Tastings Harvest Board ... 24

Designed for sharing, our Harvest Board consists of a tasting of house-made pates and terrine and the finest air dried and cooked sausages using classic techniques and recipes. Served with traditional accompaniments.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Carrots & Ginger

Our chef de cuisine (Matt Maue) at Tastings has recently started a new blog...some sexy pictures of some of the dishes composed for chefs tasting menus at our restaurant. I know I've fallen behind on the picture taking, but Matts camera is attached to his hip now that he has a new found love of blogging!
Keep up the good work buddy, pictures and food are looking great!!
Carrots & Ginger, a new blog to follow

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Battle Duck

Received some whole ducks today from Dartagnan. Not very interesting at first I'll admit, I've probably broken down hundreds if not a thousand or so ducks in my career.
But something was telling me to NOT "delegate" the job to one of the sous chefs or cooks, just do it. So I got right into it, necks, gizzards, heart, liver. Broke the legs & wings down to cure for confit, breasts were trimmed for schnitzel, bones for stock and the extra skin was intended for duck cracklings( a few minutes on expo and the duck cracklings went from almost done to burnt, oh well! it happens sometimes) But I didn't stop, like a sous who was given free reign on a tasting menu or something...point is I was in a happy place!

The gizzards were trimmed and cryovaced with the hearts. I'm thinking a sous vide application for a play on duck heart & toast.

I made a pate...a bad ass pate if you ask me. Brown butter, local shallots, summer granny smith apples (Hill Orchard in Rhode Island) apple brandy and a touch of cream from Lil' Rhody Dairy. Also made a porto gelee using agar agar, lemon zest, water & sugar to go with the pate.

I get caught up in the day to day grind sometimes. Invoices, food cost, labor cost, inventory management, business development and you forget why you chose to become a chef....the love of creating, using the whole animal from head to toe, nothing going to waste and ultimately enjoying and watching your guests enjoy what you made.

Oh,And to top it off today.....a call from Izabela Wojcik, Director of House Programming at the James Beard House in NYC....a formal invitation to return to NYC in 2010 and cook again at the home of the father of American gastronomy. It was an experience Ill never forget, and to get to do it again, well... that will be another post.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Changing Times

heirloom tomatoes, late summer melons, red kuri squash, apples, sweet corn....There is a time of the year that summer starts to turn to fall, the chill when the sun goes down is noticeable, and some of the lands greatest bounties run into each other. Late summer produce meets early fall....one of the best combinations known to man.For a chef its the same feeling a die hard spots fan has for the time of the year that Football, Baseball & Basketball are all in full swing.

At the restaurant we are getting ready and testing our newest menu items for the season...New Menu release September 15th.

Late Summer Corn/Bombster Scallops(CT)/Spanish Chorizo/Wild Mushrooms/Cilantro

Braised Short Ribs/Fresh Horseradish Root/Rhode Island Potatoes/Candied Shallots

Red Kuri Squash Ravioli/Hazlenut Cream/Maple Syrup

Heirloom tomatoes/Melon/Narragansett Creamery Ricotta/Chickpeas

Risotto/Sage/Chanterelle/Crispy Sweetbread

Lobster Croquetes/ Succotash/Tarragon Oil

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

La Caja China

La Caja China makes its debut at Tastings soon. A box made to roast whole pigs "Cuban Style". With this grill you can not only slow-roast pork but whole poultry and large cuts of beef without first having to dig a pit. In fact the concept and design of this grill allows you to cook as if you were cooking in a pit. The pig goes in the box, and then is covered, the charcoal sits on top of the cover and cooks from above.

A 100lb pig in 4-6 hours! "Pig Skin Sundays" this year during New England Patriots home games(sundays only).

Friday, August 21, 2009

Local, Sustainable, Delicious: A Seasonal Celebration!

I have been asked to participate in a project this year called the 2009 New England Grow Out....we are going to get together for a night of fine food and drinks and your invited! read below for more information.

Local, Sustainable, Delicious: A Seasonal Celebration!
Honoring New England Farmers and Chefs

Sunday, October 18, 2009 at 6 PM
Regattabar at the Charles Hotel
1 Bennett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Local, Sustainable, Delicious: A Seasonal Celebration! will celebrate the work of growers and chefs on the 2009 New England Grow Out – a project lead by Chefs Collaborative that promotes farm to chef relationships and promotes the agricultural history and culinary culture of New England!
Purchase Tickets

Enjoy small plates and drink from renowned chefs:

Peter Davis, Henrietta’s Table

Jody Adams & Nuno Alves, Rialto

Jason Bond, Beacon Hill Bistro

Jeff Fournier, 51 Lincoln

Rich Garcia, Tastings Wine Bar & Bistro

Will Gilson, Garden at the Cellar

Michael Leviton, Lumière

Evan Mallet, Black Trumpet Bistro

Tony Maws, Craigie on Main

Peter McCarthy, EVOO & Za restaurants

Bruce Tillinghast & Beau Vestal, New Rivers

Tim Wiechmann, TW Food

…and sweets from Canto 6 Bakery

Tickets are $100. Proceeds from the event benefit Chefs Collaborative, a leading nonprofit network of chefs that fosters a sustainable food system through advocacy, education, and collaboration with the broader food community. Purchase tickets online or call 617-236-5200 to pay by phone.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

2009 Best Of Rhode Island (Best Macaroni & Cheese)

Just got word that we (Tastings Wine Bar & Bistro) just won the 2009 Best Of Rhode Island, Best Macaroni & Cheese! I know....I thought the same thing, we are located in MA not RI?! But award winning none the less. Thanks for the accolade Rhode Island!
If you haven't been to Tastings and tried our mac your missing out. Something so simple has become one of our most popular items. I still remember how much time we put into developing a recipe much more complicated than it needed to be. The final recipe......simple, so damn simple. We use the best ingredients we can find and call it a day. The end result......

Summer Truffle Macaroni & Cheese/Fresh Summer Truffles/Vermont Sharp Cheddar/Smoked Crumb Crust

modified version to make at home:1 serving

3/4 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 cup shredded Artisan Sharp Cheddar Cheese
6 oz cooked mini penne pasta
1 oz black truffle juice
.25 oz fresh black truffles
salt & pepper to taste
- Place the heavy cream,shredded cheese,truffle juice over medium heat and allow the cream and the cheese to reduce by 1/4.Season with salt & pepper and TASTE for proper seasoning. Place the cooked pasta in a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds. Once the cheese sauce is made add cooked pasta to the sauce and toss well. Place in a bowl and top with shaved black truffles.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Recipe For Lobster Ceviche

A great weekend in Marthas Vineyard....My sous chef (my wife) actually kept me in check, making sure that everything was perfect, even kicking me off the "line" so that she could plate faster!

Many of you that were there asked for the recipe for the Lobster Ceviche. As promised here it is. Enjoy

Almond Gazpacho Sauce
50g White Seedless grapes
8g Almonds (peeled & blanched)
1 slice Country White bread (crust Removed)
5g Pine nuts
5g Peeled garlic clove
2g Kosher salt
10ml Spanish Sherry Vinegar
1g Fresh Cracked black pepper
400ml Purified Water
50ml Las Brisas Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Blend all ingredients together while you slowly drizzle the olive oil in a steady stream until well blended. Strain through a fine mesh strainer.

1 portion Lobster Ceviche
50g Lobster tail
15g White seedless grapes
2g Cilantro
1g Micro Cilantro
1g Onion (red)
2g Red pepper jalapeño
250ml lime juice
Cracked black pepper
25ml White Gazpacho Sauce
-Season a pan of water with lemon & salt and bring to a boil.
Toss the lobster tails into the boiling water and cook for 30 seconds, until the
skins start to turn pink, but the inside is raw.
Remove shell and thinly slice the whole lobster tail
Place the lobster into a metal bowl and mix together the cilantro, red jalapenos, red onion
Season with lime juice
Place the lobster in the middle of a plate and drizzle the white gazpacho around the outside of the plate.
Serve with halved grapes and micro cilantro

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Art Of Food & Wine

Heading to Marthas Vineyard for the Divas Uncorked Food & WIne Festival. The event I will be participating in is The Art Of Food & Wine. My dish....Lobster Ceviche/Almond Gazpacho/Green Grapes/Local Micro Cilantro/Spanish EVOO....My sous chef this weekend........ my wife(Nicole) who in the past has proven that she can hang with the best of them on the event line .

We are paired with South American Chief Winemaker at MI TERRUÑO Winery, she continuously studies the conditions of Mendoza's terroirs and explores how they can be expressed in outstanding wines. Her main focus is the production of elegant wines with very good tipicity.

Lets hope some extra bottles of the Mi Terruno Chardonnay Reserva makes its way back across the Cape Cod Bay in a familiar cooler!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Local vs Quality vs Organic

At Tastings we pride ourselves in using local product grown and sourced sustainably. But when does the locavore movement take over and quality become a secondary thought?

What about Local vs Organic? which is actually better?

There are benefits to organic (nutritionally and environmentally), but there is a fault, transportation of the products around the world to meet the high demand.

Eating locally often means eating healthier, produce is the most nutritionally dense within three days of being picked, but the weakness is the use of synthetic fertilizers and chemicals that may be used at certain farms.

And quality......I believe in getting my guests the highest quality product that I can find. And if I have to go an extra 50 miles 100 miles, 1,000 miles to find the better product I will. As long as it falls into my guidelines of being sourced sustainably.

I try to follow this rule when purchasing

1) Local/Organic/Sustainable (75 miles)

2) Local/Sustainable (75 miles)

3) Regionally Local Organic/Sustainable (250 miles)

4) Regionally Local/Sustainable (250 miles)

5) Organic and/or Sustainable (from anywhere)

Think about it though....Iberico ham from Upstate New York??? NO, not a chance. But I make sure that I am buying a product that was treated humanley, or grown with the enviornment in mind.

Eating local means something different to all. A great definition comes from food advocate Joan Gussow:

“Within a day’s leisurely drive of our homes. [This] distance is entirely arbitrary. But then, so was the decision made by others long ago that we ought to have produce from all around the world.”

Monday, August 3, 2009

Starchefs.com photos of recent tasting

Follow this link to see the pictures taken by Antoinette Bruno, Editor In Chief Starchefs.com. Photos Click Here
Starchefs was in about 3 weeks ago to conduct a tasting for the 2009 Boston Rising Star Chef Review.
I also had the pleasure of going to a blind tasting at Clio (Ken Oringer) in Boston with Antoinette Bruno and tasting the mixologist at Clios Bar with the editorial team from starchefs.com.
Hope you like the photos.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Rabbit: The other white meat

(photo by Tiffany Smith)
Braised Rabbit/English Pea & Ricotta Ravioli/ Parm Broth/ Fresh Summer Truffles/Pea Shoot Salad

Rabbit you don't see it on many menus......its a shame. Here are some facts to maybe persuade you to think about adding it to your menu.

Fresh or frozen, rabbit meat is sold all year round. It can be used in most of the ways in which chicken is used. Like other lean meat, poultry, and fish, rabbit meat is a good source of high quality protein. The meat is fine grained and mild flavored. Rabbits sold in the United States for food are commonly crosses between New Zealand and Belgian varieties, imported Chinese rabbits, or Scottish hares.

Among meats, rabbit is a healthful choice. Agriculture Department statistics show that rabbit meat is lower in saturated fat than beef and pork and slightly lower in cholesterol than chicken. The breeds used for meat (commonly California, New Zealand or a cross of the two) are almost twice the size of typical pet rabbits.

We buy our Rabbits from D'Artagnan. Farms that sell rabbits to D'Artagnan must sign a policy that requires humane treatment and slaughter. The rabbits receive no antibiotics and a vegetarian diet.

How are Rabbit Products Commonly Labeled?

Fryer or young rabbit—the terms "fryer" or "young rabbit" refer to a rabbit weighing not less than 1 ½ pounds and rarely more than 3 ½ pounds, and less than 12 weeks of age. The flesh is tender, fine grained, and a bright pearly pink color. These rabbits may be cooked in much the same way as young poultry.

Roaster or mature rabbit—the terms "roaster" or "mature rabbit" refer to a mature rabbit of any weight, but usually over 4 pounds and over 8 months of age. The flesh is firm and coarse grained, and the muscle fiber is slightly darker in color and less tender. The fat may be more creamy in color than that of a fryer or young rabbit. The meat of larger rabbits may be tougher so the best methods of cooking are braising or stewing.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I find it hard to believe that after 2 years of writing this blog I haven't posted a thing about ceviche, my all time favorite dish to make and eat!

Ceviche is a form of citrus-marinated seafood, popular in Latin American countries. Both finfish and shellfish are used; finfish is typically used raw while shellfish is typically cooked before marinating.

There are so many variations and there is debate as to how it got its name
One hypothesis suggests that ceviche got its name from the Quechua word "siwichi." Another hypothesis suggests that the name is a cognate of the Spanish word "escabeche" (marinade), derived from the Arabic term "sikbaj." Yet another hypothesis suggests that its name comes from the word Cebo, the name given to the corvina fish.

Wherever it came from its by far the best single dish on the planet.

Yesterday we made two ceviches using the "scrap" (nothing is really scrap in our kitchen) but we take the cheeks, head meat, collar meat, belly and the little pieces of meat that is left between the bones of the fish when we fabricate portions out of it.

1. Black Ceviche (Nantucket Striper/Squid Ink/Roasted Jalapeno/Celery/Garlic/Shallot)
2. Tuna Ceviche (Yellow Fin/Shoyu/Ginger/Garlic/Red Onion/Black & White Sesame)

Both were marinated using an equal mix of lemon & lime juice, 3% granulated sugar and salt & pepper to taste.

Marination time varies. I enjoy ala minute mix & serve still preserving the raw texture. But as long as the fish doesn't begin to break down (trust me you can tell) I think anything up to but no more than 24 hours is fine. It really depends on what YOU like.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Seared Tuna Nicoise

In this video from How2Heros.com , I take you on a quick tour of Wards Berry Farm, then we head back to the Tastings kitchen to prepare my version of the Nicoise Salad using the produce we picked at the farm.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Carrots & Ginger

Tasting chefs de cuisine Matt Maue has started a blog of his own! My longtime friend and now right hand man debuts his diary of creations in our kitchen. His advantage of having a professional photographer as a girlfriend really gives him the edge when it comes to posting some bad ass photos. Make sure to put his blog on your list....

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Like it OR NOT

Sometimes the dishes you create that you think are going to be show stoppers just don't perform the way you wish they would. I was confident that some of our early summer dishes were hits.

Crispy Lamb Spare Ribs/Mashed Peas/Chocolate Mint Oil/Pea Shoot Salad

For some reason this one just didn't take off. I as thrilled to take the classic combination of Peas/mint & Lamb to another level. The lamb ribs were beautiful, falling off the bone, the mashed peas gave you a new take on hat a fresh pea is, and the crisp pea shoot salad...I mean I don't know what else to say. But no one was ordering. 3 here maybe 5 another night...

Our replacement for this dish so far so good!

Braised Domestic Rabbit/Sweet Pea & Sheeps Milk Ricotta Ravioli/Truffled Parmesan Broth/Pea Shoot Salad

The response has been great. Hopefully this bistro dish stands the test of time.

Monday, July 13, 2009

2009 Marthas Vineyard Wine & Food Festival

Come join me for “Divas Uncork the Cure” , a special 4-day celebration of education, wine, food, on Martha's Vineyard. Produced by Divas Uncorked, Inc., “Divas Uncork the Cure” will bring renowned wine experts and chefs together on August 6-9th and will offer a taste of signature culinary delights

The Divas have presented two highly successful wine and food festivals on Martha's Vineyard bringing together aficionados and novices alike to enjoy a weekend of "sipping and sampling".

On Saturday August 8th I will be paired with winemaker Maria Eugenia Baigorria of Mi Terruno Mendoza, Argentina for a night titled "The Art of Food & Wine".This event will be held at the Featherstone center for the arts in Oak Bluff.

I will be serving Native Lobster Ceviche in chilled Almond Gazpacho with Green Grapes & Toasted Almonds. The wine pairings are sure to be perfect!

For more information click on the title to be directed to the Divas web page.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

How Local is our cuisine?

A lot of guests ask me, how local is your food? Many people still don't believe that great produce & meat can come from New England. Of course everyone knows that there is no better seafood on the planet than what we have here in the North Atlantic, but did you know chicken, beef, pork & lamb are plentiful and of very high quality?

Let me start by telling you that right now, July through October is the peak of the growing season here in New England. I would estimate that 95% of my fresh produce is coming from Massachusetts or Rhode Island. The other 5% is stretched between Pennsylvania(mushrooms) and New York.

Most of my produce is purchased from Wards Berry Farm in Sharon MA, or through an unbelievable program known as Market Mobile, a program developed by Farm Fresh Rhode Island to facilitate buying relationships between RI producers and business buyers and institutions.

Through Farm Fresh RI we also buy our pork(whole hogs or fabricated) beef(specialty cuts & ground) and milk & eggs.

Another Great program is Dole & Baily North East Family Farms, much the same concept as farm fresh RI, just on a much larger scale spanning the entire North East up into Maine & Vermont & New York, we are fortunate to be able to purchase our chickens (Misty Knoll or Organic Freebird) lamb products, pork, duck and rabbit.

I buy ALL my cheese from small New England Artisan Cheese Makers.Blythdale Farms VT, Boggymeadow Farm N.H., Narragansett Creamery R.I., Great Hill Blue Farm MA and Vermont Butter & Cheese Co. to name a few

All of this product is TRACKED back to the original farm it came from, making sure I know where EVERY piece of food I buy from these programs come from.

Lastly we have personal relationships with some small artisan producers including Round The Bend Farm(Hogs) Dartmouth MA, Evas Garden(the best herbs & greens on the planet) Dartmouth MA.

There are some products we bring in from further away, and I believe that sourcing out the very best product in the country and world and making sure that it is produced using sustainable methods. I think that there are many products that are just plain better than what I can find in the region or even the USA.
Piquillo peppers from New Jersey? come on! Or what about real fresh truffles? I know the truffles I buy are the best on the planet, if Oregon or Tennessee could produce a truffle like France or Italy, sign me up.
Look, I do my part because I want to support our local economy, I think 95% of my product that I buy locally is SUPERIOR to anywhere else in the country, but there are some things I make exceptions for. But I guarantee you that I do my homework, I know where my food comes from, how it is going to be packaged and shipped.

As leaders in the Haute Farm Cuisine movement I feel we go above and beyond people expectations when we tell them how local we really are with our food purchases.

Another blog to follow about our non food items and wine & beverage program.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Farm Tour with How2Heros.com

Monday I took the film crew for How2Heros out to the local farm we use for most of our produce. Wards Berry Farm, located in Sharon MA and about 2 miles from the restaurant grows just about everything you can grow in MA (except apples?!)I had a great time getting to show Jim Ward and his crew off to the film crew.

After we headed back to the restaurant to cook 2 dishes using all the beautiful produce we picked.

Click here to watch my sous chefs video debut, cooking a faux pasta dish using zucchini as pasta. Imani version of Zucchini Primavera with smoked tomato sauce is a great vegetarian dish.

Stay tuned for the videos to be released soon.

Click on this link for more information about our farm tour.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Star Chef Tasting Menu

We had the pleasure of cooking for Antoinette Bruno and one of her assistants (Katherine) this afternoon. Antoinette is the editor in chief of Starchefs.com, one of the industry's leading online culinary magazines.
The reason for the visit was I was nominated for the 2009 Boston Rising Star awards.

From Starchefs.com,
"Rising Stars are up-and-coming chefs and culinary professionals who represent the vanguard of the contemporary American dining scene. They have strong, compelling culinary philosophies, are able to see beyond the four walls of their restaurant, and are committed to fostering a culinary community by sharing their knowledge with fellow professionals. Ultimately, creativity, ambition, exquisite presentation and, most important, delicious food wins a chef the designation of StarChefs Rising Star. They are the future of American cuisine."

The menu we served today was 95% local & sustainable.......

New England Striped Bass Crudo & Live Taylor Bay Scallop Ceviche
baby fennel, orange, fennel powder and smoked paprika

First Course
Shaved Asparagus Salad
caper vinaigrette, Iberico ham, fiddlehead tomme, hearts of fire

Second Course
White Vanilla Gazpacho
almonds, roasted garlic, grapes, roasted chanterelles, extra virgin olive oil

Third Course
Pork Belly “Cuban”
blueberry mostaza, pickled green apples , crispy pork skin, manchengo foam

Fourth Course
Steak Frites en Sous Vide
compressed Wagyu skirt steak , piquillo pepper & green olive relish, truffled frites

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Hill Farm Rhode Island

About a week ago, I was invited to Hill Hog Farm in Foster Rhode Island. The purpose of the tour was to connect with the Farmer Louis Vinagro, a member of the RI Raised Livestock Association. He introduce us to his 14 acre farm founded in 2003. Louis and his wife Maria raise pure bred Devon cattle and pure bred Berkshire hogs.

The tour was followed by an old fashioned pig roast!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Inked Rogue Chefs

Looking forward to this coffee table book! I was fortunate enough to make the list of "inked rogue chefs"
I told you MOM, the ink would pay off someday!

From the Web page.....

"Inked Rogue Chefs is a coffee table book featuring America's top inked rogue chefs, their personal stories, and recipes from their home kitchens.
You get a glimpse of the chefs outside of their restaurant kitchens, past their Food Network persona's, and into their real lives"

Click Here For More Information and to follow the author, Melissa Lavrinc Smith, on her journey through the publishing process.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Food Inc.

I went to a screening of Food Inc tonight with my wife and a couple of my cooks from the restuarant. We were fortunate to get to watch this movie alongside the director of the film, award winning Robert Kenner, and get to ask questions and hear from him what the movie means and why he made it.

In Food Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, insecticide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won't go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.

Watch the trailer here

Sunday, June 14, 2009

New Summer Menu

After some long discussions and even some resistance on the culinary teams part, we are making some changes to the Tastings menu.
Currently we are open for lunch 2 day a week, those days being Saturday & Sunday. One problem, especially for our area....NO LUNCH MENU.
Maybe its chefs syndrome, whatever it is we are going to put some lunch items on. Some salads and sanwiches will make their way to the menu. A few of those are

Patio Burger
wagyu beef, tomato vinaigrette, red onion jam served on an English Muffin.

"1895" Cuban
serrano ham, roast pork, manchengo cheese, house made pickles, blueberry mustard

- the 1895 comes from the year the Sanish Cuban war started....

Our dinner menu will not change much, we are keeping the small plates format but adding entrees to the menu. The demand is there for entrees(although every person that Ive told since we made the desicion has been dissapointed and loves the small plates) but the small dishes are staying, just trying to capture more of the market.

Early summer is going to bring some great new items fromt he farms, already we are seeing some of the earliest strawberries I have ever seen. Lettuces and herbs are starting to pop up and everyday the lists are getting larger and larger.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Back to food blogging

Its time to get back into blogging about food.....no events, special VIP dinners or off site PR to do for a couple of months.
Pictures to come tomorrow of some of the projects we have been working on.Time to focus on summer,fresh from the farm Haute cuisine! For starters a glimpse into Springs final menu of the season.

"Farm Frites"
crisp local vegetables, fennel pollen, fine herb aioli

Maine Halibut
peanuts, peppered bacon, peas, American whiskey

Shitake & Red Spring Onion Strudel
house roasted peppers, great hill blue vinaigrette

Lamb Spare Ribs
spiced tomato, chocolate mint oil, red grape & spinach slaw

Monday, June 1, 2009

Back from Vacation: reflection

A whole week of relaxation....kind of anyway. I had a blast this week with the girls and the wife, really got to spend some much needed quality time with family and I think they enjoyed it too....I hope!

Being a chef though its tough to not think about food, the next menu, whats going on in the kitchen when Im not there. Its Saturday night.....busy, chefs tasting menus up the you know what....off site catered event and 2 cooks are off...aghhhhhhh

Luckily my crew is one of the best I have worked with in a very long time. As I walked in this morning there was peace and quite in the immaculate kitchen, clean everything in its place, inventory and weekly numbers came in great. No major issues to report.

I guess everything was fine... why did I worry? I didnt have to, thats for sure. Matt (CDC) always has things under control, Imani(Sous) steps up to the plate everytime he is supposed to. Maybe I miss being part of the action. I dont know what it is, Im a chef, Im a cook and its hard to take the kitchen out of me even when I am out of the kitchen.

But one things for sure, as I start to anylyze my carreer and my life, time away from the restaurant and food and more time with the family is a good thing,a great thing actually, keeps me balanced and refreshed. Im lucky to have a wife that understands my love for what I do, Im lucky to have a carreer that I love. Not many people are as lucky as I am. Off to play the lottery!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Spring Menu #4

A few of this weeks seasonal menu items........

Ginger/Beer Braised Pork Belly
pea puree, pea tendril salad, ginger vinaigrette

Chesapeake Bay Soft Shell Crabs
pickled (last of the season....) Ramps, wild mushroom dressing

Shaved Asparagus Salad
red ribbon sorrel, fiddlehead tomme cheese

Lobster "Bisque"
crispy potato

Seared Maine Jumbo Scallops
brandy pillow, morels

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Spring Menu #3

Soft Shell Crab & Pea Tendrils

Foie Gras Rhubarb Crisp

Pickled Mushroom & Fiddlehead Salad

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Probably The Best Ham In The World

Last week I was very fortunate to have collaborated on a dinner with Jorge Ordonez, the human dynamo of the Spanish Wine World. Our dinner was priced at $450 per person. Now I always strive for perfection regardless of what I am charging for a plate, but when a five course dinner is being prepared for just under $100 a plate, I don't care who you are the pressure is on!

Something that made the dinner extra special was the addition of 2 items that are probably known as the best ham products in the world.

1. Chorizo De Bellota: Made by Jose Gomez at Joselito Bellota acorn fed ibérico cured chorizo in natural casing
sweet nutty flavor & melting quality, slightly smokey

2. Gran Reserva Bellota Jamon: Jose Gomez at Joselito
Sweet, nutty, complex and rich, melting acorn oil and a long lingering aftertaste

Jorge Ordonez was kind enough to bring us each of these products to use at the dinner ( 16 people) and take it with us after we were done!

To make the ultimate ham and charcuterie you need - animals, land, charcutiers, curing chambers, the perfect dry climate. The people at Joselito control the whole cycle of production and have all the above.

The unique climate of Guijuelo helps create sweet, long-cured hams. The winters are cold so less salt is needed in the first stages than in the south.

Joselito own more land in Spain than any other ibérico producers.

Pigs eat grain when they are first born, until they reach 4 months which is when they are released into the wild to forage for food. However, Joselito even own their own pienso factory to produce high quality grain feed, rather than use what is industrially available.

Joselito pigs also live longer than most ibérico pigs, seeing two montaneras – one as a piglet then one as an adult. They are therefore not speed-fed artificially, which results in weaker bones and muscle. It takes around 5 years for a piglet to reach your plate at Joselito compared to an average of 3 or less for other hams.

Joselito are able to produce the crème de la crème by choosing the best pigs and allocating them to the best farms: most producers do not have this luxury.

Price you ask........if you ask me priceless.

Spring Vegetable Platter

Here was my favorite dish from this seasons ever changing spring menus

Roasted Sunchokes, fiddlehead ferns, baby thumbolina carrots, ramp stems, beets, tossed in a green almond & yogurt dressing. Finished with pea shoots tossed in Las Brisas Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Next week we release Small Plates Spring Menu # 4

Plancha Seared Maine Scallops….$16
morel sauce, asparagus, brandy “pillow”

Lobster Bisque…..$12
chorizo, crispy potato

Shaved Asparagus Salad….$10
red ribbon sorrel, jamon Serrano, fiddlehead tomme , caper vinigerette

Wild Mushroom Tortellini….$12
fava beans, almond mascarpone sauce, coffee bean oil

Chesapeake Bay Soft Shell Crab….$18
pickled ramps, baby leeks, rioja & honey braised cipollini

Braised Pork Belly….$14
spring pea puree, pea green & ginger salad

Sunday, May 17, 2009


My blogging rhythm has slowed this last week due to a crazy week.

Matt & I spent 4 days in Nantucket working the Nantucket food & wine festival. Gala on Thursday was great fun, we were paired with Dole Wine and our Foie Stuffed Black Mission Figs were a hit! The dinner on Friday night with Jorge Ordonez was amazing! First the price tag was about $450 per person. So the pressure was on Matt & I to make sure that every detail was perfect.
I think we nailed it.

We had such a great array of ingredients to work with, Mr. Ordonez was gracious enough to bring me a 5 pound chunk of True Jamon Iberico de Bellota as well as Chorizo Iberico made from the black footed pig. both extremely flavorful, have a sweet acorn flavor due to their diet and extremely expensive. I am fortunate enough to have been given the chance to take it home with me!

I also was fortunate enough to get my hands on Spains most expensive cheese, Torta de Casar, is a cheese made from sheep's milk in the Extremadura region of Spain. It is named after Casar de Cáceres, its city of origin. It is aged for at least sixty days. The fully ripe cheese has a creamy consistency in the center, and is traditionally eaten by slicing off the top and scooping out the inside.

In 1999, the cheese was given protected-origin status, regulations that stipulate not only where it can be produced, but also that it can only be made with the milk of Merino and Entrefina sheep. These breeds have a low yield of milk, and it takes the milk of 20 sheep to make a 2.2-pound wheel of Torta del Casar.

Torta del Casar is produced commercially today by eight family-run dairies. Only about 10 percent of the production is exported from Spain.

What a great dinner and unreal wines.

We had such a great time, but were so busy that all though we had a camera at the ready, we didnt take one photograph...agggghhhhhhhhh.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Recession Buster

Foie Gras "Peanut Butter & Jelly" $16

I want to apologize for not updating the blog last week. It was actually a week that we finally saw an upswing in guests at the restaurant. The economy has been taking its toll on restaurants like ours. Its great to have a $50-$60pp check average for the bottom line, but if people aren't spending like they used to they look for alternative options.

But last week we saw a turn, people were out, spending money, enjoying the weather,telling our servers the ll be back very soon.

Its great to see a light at the end of the tunnel. The hospitality business has been hit hard, they are practically giving away rooms and vacations at hot spots like Vegas, US Virgin Islands, Disney Wold. Restaurants have had to deal with rising cost of goods, but without drastically changing prices the restaurant takes a hit.

Lets see what happens on the next 6 months, but I think that we are about to see the economy start to slowly get better.

As a restaurant that provides exceptional service, world class cuisine and an amazing wine & cocktail list you have to believe that people have not lost interest in what we do. So to make it more affordable for our valued guests we have offered multi course tastings for $35, recession buster small bites (Pintxos) for $3, including items like Foie Gras on toast, black trumpet mushrooms on brioche, Jamon Serrano and Manchengo.

This week we are headed to the Nantucket Food & Wine Festival, our dinner alone costs $450 pp, and mind you we have the cheapest ticket price out of 16 dinners taking place that evening. All SOLD OUT!

Monday, May 4, 2009

"Secrets Of Success" :Food Service East

I was asked to participate in a Q&A article called "Secrets Of Success", an ongoing series of interviews with chefs, restaurateurs and foodservice operators, Secrets of Success looks at the paths taken to professional recognition and acclaim.

Click Here To Read Article

A little About Food Service East

Celebrating 84 years of providing news and information to the Northeast foodservice industry...

Foodservice East, the business publication for the Northeast foodservice industry, began life in 1926 as Hotel & Restaurant News in Boston, MA under the ownership of George Clark.

Through the years, the paper, which, under Harold R. Dolby, became Lodging & Foodservice News, was a leading source of news and information for New England foodservice operators.

In 1960, fresh from a stint in the US Army following graduation from Bowdoin College, Richard E. Dolby, Harold’s son, joined the business and later transformed the publication into what today is Foodservice East, now a quality tabloid paper on glossy stock, dedicated to editorial excellence.

Richard, who died suddenly at age 69 in July, 2006 was an advocate of professionalism and innovation in business press publishing, Richard’s spirit lives on both in the print publication, and on the web site which seeks to bring useful information to the region’s operators, commercial and non-commercial, in a new venue.

Susan Holaday, editor and publisher, joined the publication in 1972 and has been reporting on the foodservice industry for more than 40 years. She also freelances for Nation’s Restaurant News and FoodService Director.

Her goal is to bring to the Food Service East web the spirit of excellence, journalistic integrity and innovation that characterizes the paper and to fulfill her mentor and companion’s vision of changing with the times to continually offer value.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tastings Wine Bar & Bistro: The Movie

A 2 minute video about my restaurant, Tastings Wine Bar & Bistro. Great Work by Restaurant Confidential TV available in HD on YouTube!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Great Wines In Grand Houses: Nantucket Food & Wine Festival

Nantucket Island is renowned for its natural beauty, stunning architecture, cosmopolitan fare, and, of course, its 19th century role as a whaling community. From May 13-17, 2009, the world's historic whaling capital will become the nation's wine capital during the 13th annual Nantucket Wine Festival.

"...the Festival...has become one of the best wine events in the nation, with some of the finest global wine talent on hand every year...." (Quarterly Review of Wines, Spring 2008)

We have had the honor of being invited down this year to participate in 2 separate events. The first will be on Thursday May 14, 2009 The Ninth Annual Nantucket Wine Festival Harbor Gala This is sure to be the event of the season! The Gala will be held at the White Elephant on Thursday, May 14th, 2009, beginning at 6:00 p.m.
We are featuring Black Mission Figs with Foie Gras Mousse our wine partner this year is Dolce Wine or better known as liquid gold!

On Friday we are cooking for a small group of 20 people for an event known as Great Wines In Grand Houses, on Friday night there will be dinners throughout the island in grand mansions. We have the pleasure of pairing our food with wines from the portfolio of the human dynamo known as Jorge Ordonez, a Spanish Wine Maker, importer and by far the most influential man in Spanish wine today. The menu is below.

Passed Hors Dourves
Olive Oil marinated Salt Dried Tuna
Brandada de Bacalao
Pig Trotter Croquetas
Pintxo of Foie Gras
Chorizo & Chocolate on Toast
2007 Botani
muscatel seco

Maine Lobster Consommé
liquid center queso manchengo sphere

First Course
Razor Clams Escabeche
citrus, passion fruit , Las Brisas olive oil powder
2008 Shaya

Second Course
Braised Baby Octopus
organic tomato & garbanzo bean stew, morcilla blood sausage
2006 Mas De Can Blau
2004 Remirez de Ganuza

Third Course
Kobe Style Wagyu Flank Steak
summer truffle & quail egg ravioli, cetas, foie gras sauce
2006 El Nido Jumilla

Cheese Course
Selection of fine Spanish cheeses
Membrillo, marcona almonds, and fig cake
2006 Aquillon

Dessert Course
Saffron Scented “Flan”
orange fluid gel & edible flowers
2006 Jorge Ordonez & Co.
Victoria #2

Friday, April 24, 2009

Goat Cheese Cake: Revised

Easiest goat cheese dessert recipe out there!

5oz Creamy Goat Cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbl chopped rosemary(fresh)

- In stand mixer whip cheese, sugar & rosemary until very creamy
- Whip cream to stiff peaks
- Fold whipped cream into cheese mixture
- Put into mold of your choice and freeze until firm

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Stinging Nettle & Sorrel Soup

This plant is a very interesting plant. When you look at it, it looks like an ordinaryweed with attractive tiny flowers. It can be a very dangerous plant because when you touch it with your bare skin, you will get a terrible sting, which is very painful. The sting feels very much like a bee sting and can last for hours or days. The stinging sensation is caused by formic acid which covers the tiny hairs of the plant.

Believe it or not, stinging nettle can be very useful too. It has been used as a medicine in Europe for over 2,000 years. It can be turned into a tea made from the leaves and stems. This tea has been used to stop bleeding. Stinging nettle seems to have a lot of medical uses, but the nettle root is known to be a diuretic.

It loses its sting when dried or cooked. Be careful when handling. But the reward is well worth the risk of getting a sting. Much like spinach in flavor this green is great in salads, make a pesto with it or maybe use it in salsa verde. My favorite method of prep....soup. Enjoy the recipe


* 3 Tablespoons EVOO olive oil
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 cup chopped spring onions
* 1/4 cup sherry (dry)
* 1/2 pound nettle tops
* 1 quart vegetable stock
* Salt and Pepper
* 1 cup crème fraiche
* 2 Tablesoons fresh Sorrel
* 1 handful fresh baby spinach


1. Sauté shallots, garlic, and spring onions in butter or olive oil. Add sherry and nettles.
2. Add water and bring to a boil.
3. Cover and simmer until the nettles are very soft, about 8-10 minutes. Add spinach.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste, add creme fraiche, puree using vita prep blender.
5. Add fresh sorrel and serve with more creme fraiche

Sunday, April 19, 2009

2009 Earth Dinner

Tastings Spring Vegetable Medley( Ramp Stems, Thumbolina Carrots, Fiddleheads,Dandelion Greens,Sunchokes, Red Beets, Green Almond & Yogurt Dressing)


Come celebrate Earth Day with us as we collaborate with Organic Valley & Chefs Collaborative (the leading nonprofit network of chefs that fosters a sustainable food system through advocacy, education, and collaboration with the broader food community) to host the East Coast Earth Dinner.

Join us as select restaurants across the country all simultaneously host earth dinners together.

Our Earth Dinner Celebration is an opportunity for you to explore where each ingredient on your table comes from. Who grew the food? How was it grown? What is the geographic origin of the food?

The Earth Dinner is a joyful, animated and inspiring dinner, connecting people to the earth, their food and each other.

At Tastings we are offering a 3 course, pre-fixe menu for $35 per person (+$15 for organic/biodynamic wine pairings).

The menu will be developed the week of Earth Day to ensure the freshest possible ingredients from the market, local farms & New England Ranches and fisheries.

Reservations are recommended. Please call 508-203-9463.

For more information please go to Earth Dinner

Friday, April 17, 2009

Green Almonds: Spring Underdog

Springs nutty underdog - green almonds.

Because they are only available for 3-4 weeks each year, green almonds are usually overlooked, or are considered too hard to find. Some people dismiss the olive-sized green things as too much prep work; everything depends on how far along the almond inside the furry green casing is. If you’re waiting for fiddlehead ferns, you’re not feeling all the bulky white asparagus, or you just want to try something new, here’s what you should know:

- They come from California, most of the time. The name refers to the both the ghost-white almond inside and the soft, cerignola-green shell that surrounds it.

- Like walnuts, almonds begin to harden after harvest. The pale green, egg-shaped exterior turns into the pointy, holey, brittle almond shell everyone knows and loves, if left alone. Don’t ever leave green almonds alone.

- When soft enough, you can roll them in some fleur de sel and olive oil and eat the whole thing; here’s where it gets tricky. Green almond season is very short, and typically within a matter of days, both the outer shell and almond within change in character and taste. The outer portion becomes more bitter and inedible; the inner almond goes from a litchi-like gel with a grassy flavor to a more milky solid with the tiniest hint of amaretto. If you’re not sure what kind of green almonds you’ve got, use a paring knife and just go inside. When in doubt, always trust the almond, doubt the shell; some cultures ignore the outer shell entirely, even when soft.

Come try them on this weeks menu at Tastings, Sping Veg medley with green almond @ yogurt dressing.............

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Beard House Photos

I think you all get the overall feeling I have ahd about cooking at the Beard House. So please enjoy some of the photos