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
Smithfield
401-742-6990

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 ***

SIMPLE SALAD ...$7
Evas organic greens, white balsamic & local cranberry honey vinaigrette

ROMAINE HEART SALAD ...$8
warm garlic and Spanish white anchovy vinaigrette

ARUGULA SALAD...$10
Great Hill blue cheese, apples, dates, walnuts, sherry vinaigrette

ROASTED WINTER SQUASH & APPLE SOUP ...$8
sage dusted croutons, pumpkin seed oil



*** SMALL PLATES ***

TASTINGS AWARD WINNING MAC & CHEESE ...$12

POINT JUDITH CALAMARI ...$10
heirloom cherry tomatoes, pepperoncini, preserved lemon, kalamata olives, parsley, roasted garlic

MUSHROOM & QUAIL EGG RAVIOLI ...$13
truffles, parmesan stock

CAPE COD CLAMS "CASINO" ...$10
chorizo stuffing

HILL FARM PORK MEATBALLS ...$10
smoked tomato, mozzeralla stuffed arancini

LOBSTER CROQUETTES ...$12
autumn succotash, tarragon oil

WARM MARINATED OLIVES ...$7
herbs, orange



*** ENTREES ***

ALL NATURAL 1/2 ROASTED CHICKEN ...$18
butter basted,seasonal vegetables, roasted red bliss potatoes

AMERICAN WAGYU SKIRT STEAK ...$21
wagyu skirt steak, bistro fries, truffle butter

CRISPY ATLANTIC SKATE ...$22
hazelnut brown butter, capers, sous vide butternut squash puree, swiss chard

PINOT BRAISED BEEF SHORT RIBS ...$25
fresh horseradish potato puree, candied shallots

HOUSE MADE HILL FARM PORK SAUSAGE ...$18
ricotta gnocchi, tomato, preserved lemon, Spanish olive oil

DUCK SCHNITZEL ...$19
roasted apples, local turnips, baby rocket lettuce

ARTICHOKE RISOTTO ...$12 / $18
crispy veal sweetbread, vanilla balsamic

DIVER SEA SCALLOPS ...$24
late summer corn puree, Spanish chorizo, wild mushrooms

CASSOULET ...$21
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.