Friday, July 29, 2011

Attention Boston Chefs & Hospitality Professionals -A Letter From Chefs Collaborative



FYI a letter from Chefs Collaborative Network Coordinator , Rob Booz, sent out this past Tuesday
(please share with anyone you think may be interested)

Hello All!



I hope this email finds you enjoying your summer. This past winter Chefs Collaborative undertook a new approach to fostering sustainability within specific communities. As an organization we're committed to establishing what we are calling Chefs Collaborative "Locals" in specific geographic areas. The thinking behind this is that every location has its own community of forward thinking food professionals grappling with issues of sourcing and sustainability. In Rhode Island, for example Chefs Collaborative is helping chefs to increase their access to fresh, locally raised meat. In the Seacoast area of New Hampshire and Maine, we are working to improve access to fresh fish that doesn't have to travel through so many different hands from boat to kitchen. Because we think these "Locals" work best when they're self defined, we rely on leaders from within the community.

With this in mind, we are pleased to introduce Chef Richard Garcia of 606 Congress and the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel as our "Local" leader. Rich has committed to Chefs Collaborative, and to the greater Boston community of food professionals, some of his time and resources to try help to steer us all towards a more sustainable, productive, and delicious future.



We would be thrilled if you would join us on Monday, August 22 at 10:30AM for an informal meeting to help establish what are the successes and challenges to running a sustainable, locally sourced kitchen in the greater Boston area so that we can help the group go about solving these challenges. We want you to have the power to shape the future of food in the area so please join us at the Renaissance Hotel for this important planning meeting and help bring a unified direction in solving the problems you are having and enforcing the successes.


If you can attend, and we hope you can, please RSVP no later than the 20th of August directly to me. We look forward to seeing you and hearing what you have to say.


Sincerely,


Robert Booz
Network Coordinator
Chefs Collaborative
89 South Street
Lower Level
Boston, MA 02111
617 236 5258 (direct line)
617 236 5272 (fax)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Current Menu @ 606 Congress

I apologize for this being so late, I always like posting my most current menu and this one has been running for about 4 weeks at the restaurant. You'll notice a little more casual approach as we are in the middle of the Boston tourism season with lots of transient guest at our hotel. Interestingly as I continue to evolve as a chef understanding the guest base at a hotel is so much different than understanding it at an independent restaurant. Since we have a specialty restaurant we can get away from the more traditional hotel fare, but always keeping in mind that our valued guests at the hotel are people we want to make sure we make happy during there stay. The demographics change weekly and that has been an interesting challenge in my career that I have never had to deal with in the past very much. Without losing focus on who we are in our restaurant, always providing an indigenous experience focused on Modern Farm cuisine and Modern New England Seafood dishes we did add some casual items focused on the summer season.

SNACKS

Flash Fried Point Judith Calamari…. 10
pickled red peppers, lime, scallions

Duxbury Oysters ..….18
summer melon, fennel pollen

Octopus Carpaccio…. 12
ceviche sauce, sea urchin

Blackbird Farms Grilled Beef Heart ….10
horseradish “mayo”, roasted beets



SOUPS & SALADS

Vegetable Garden …. 8
organic lettuces, herbs & vegetables of the season, banyuls vinaigrette

*Caesar Salad…. 8
white anchovies, croutons, Parmesan, lemon

Smoked Haddock Chowder…. 9
house made oyster crackers

 Gazpacho Verde ….9
grapes, toasted almonds

Evas Pea Tendrils …. 10
sea salted ricotta, crispy shallots, preserved lemon vinaigrette

MAINS

Bone In All Natural Ribeye (24oz)…. 38
sweet corn puree, roasted cippolini onion, pickled mustard seed

Chicken² …24
spelt risotto, baby arugula
Brandt Farms Filet Mignon ….32
duck fat fingerlings, glazed thumbolina carrots,bone marrow, sauce bordelaise

Hand Cut Papardelle …. 26
fresh summer truffle, 1 hour farm egg

Bombster Sea Scallops… 27
farm raised cockles, popcorn chowder, dehydrated corn, basil, chorizo

Wild Striped Bass “Pastrami” ….29
rye spaetzle, brussel sprout kraut, whole grain mustard

Local Catch of The Day  ( Trace & Trust Certified Fish)….28
white coco beans, Spanish sausage, dill, Narragansett yogurt

Escoffier Burger …………21
Hudson Valley foie gras, truffles, Madeira sauce, brioche,  truffle fries



Sunday, July 24, 2011

SO What Is Trace & Trust?

Everyone is putting emphasis on locally sourced meat and vegetables,, it’s only a matter of time until the majority of people will want to ask about where exactly everything on their plate comes from. More Often than not is up to us as chefs to pass along the information to our servers in order to tell their customers what’s on the menu.

 However, a new program called Trace and Trust has taken an extraordinary step towards seafood transparency. I have been involved in this program now for aprox 8 months, many of you who read my blog regularly have seen the funny QR codes and a fish id almost weekly telling you about the fish I am using at the restaurant. But alot of people still ask me ...SO what exactly is Trace & Trust??


Trace and Trust is program developed last year by a small team of fishermen in collaboration with a small number of local area restaurants in Providence and Boston. The general idea was to allow both chefs and their guests alike to know exactly where their seafood came from. Everything from who, what vessel, when and how much was delivered to what restaurant. The information is obtained through a FISH ID number assigned to each individual  catch and species. You can go to the web site http://www.traceandtrust.com and enter a fish id on the home page, or I am currently giving all my guests who order a dish using Trace & Trust certified seafood a business card with a QR code and the ID so that the guest can scan the code at their leisure using their smart phone, the link takes them to a mobile version of the T&T website that again allows the guest to input the FISH ID in order to get the information.

I've been testing QR codes on my menus for a few months, the goal is to enable guests to pull out their smart phones and “track” their fish. In my opinion it’s getting a rave reviews.



Additionally, Trace and Trust has local Facebook pages that show fans where their fish are coming from and to which restaurants they’re going.

As a chef I can call my fisherman now and ask him when and where he is going fishing. Believe it or not the  fisherman can call me from his boat, at sea, telling me what the weather is, how far out to sea he is, what waters the fish are biting in, and exactly what and when he’ll be able to get to my kitchen within the next 24 hours..... It’s something that I am confident in saying that only a few restaurants that I know of in the country can claim this type of freshness and connection to the source.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Compressed & Grilled Watermelon Salad
grapefruit & tarragon vinaigrette, french breakfast radish, ricotta salada

I  grilled  pieces of watermelon and then seasoned them individually using salt pepper, tarragon & purslane from Evas Garden.I then vacuum sealed them with their seasonings and cooked them at 85°C for 20 minutes. Once the melon  were cooked  I dropped in ice bath. After they cooled I trimmed them up and served them as is, the flavor of the taragina nd purslane were embeded into the flesh of the watermelon, awesome flavor and even aroma.
In this case I made a simple salad, Im sure the possibilities are endless with flavor combinations and even cooking times. I was even thinking about making a grilled watermelon and purslane sorbet......

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sustainable New England James Beard Dinner Photos

Here is a preview  of the Beard Dinner we did on Thursday night. Amazing lineup of chefs and friends I was fortunate enough to cook with.

Matt Maue -  now cooking in the Cobble Hill Section of  Brooklyn NY at Strong Place, ( Formerly Executive Chef of Tastings Wine Bar)
Matthew & Kate Jennings-  Farmstead Inc.
Will Gilson- Eat

A great group of assistants from the French Culinary Institute and a great surprise "assistant".... Jamie Bissonnette of Coppa & Toro (also Food & Wine Magazines Peoples Choice Best New Chef) came down from Boston to help us out.

Sous Vide Scallop "Crudo",Popcorn Puree, Corn Textures, Toasted Almond Milk Foam
"me"

Crispy New England Heritage Pork Torchon with Radishes, Eloté Velouté, Fennel Pollen, and Chicharrón Crumbs
Matt Jennings


 
Roasted Lamb Loin with Summer Vegetables, Romesco, Watercress Salsa Verde, and Potato Espuma
Will Gilson


 
Brambly Farm Goose Sausage with Rhubarb Mostarda, Buttermilk, Soft-Boiled Egg, and Summer Greens
Matt Maue


 
Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake with Ward’s Strawberry Ice Cream and Brown Butter Crème Anglaise
Kate Jennings


 
Great night, great friends, great food & great wine provided by Frogs Leap Winery which by the way is awesome juice!!