This week the owner and creative mastermind behind Chef Geoff’s, Chef Geoff’s Downtown and Lia’s shares his favorite likes and dislikes in the day-to-day of owning three restaurants while still squeezing in time at home for six-month-old twins and wife, Norah O’Donnell.
What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
I love my vita prep. It’s a blender on steroids. It purees sauces, pestos, and soups to a really gorgeous consistency. Henry and Grace are almost six months old and I have been making their baby food with it. So far they have enjoyed purees of roasted sweet potato, gala apples, and baby peas.
What is the most overrated food/technique in restaurants today?
Kobe Beef burgers. You want a good burger…I’ll give you a good burger.
If you were to open a restaurant with a different type of cuisine than what you are cooking now, what would it be?
I’m a serial entrepreneur and love to dream up new restaurant ideas. One idea is a small wine bar featuring 100s of cheeses and charcuterie. Another is a big casual seafood restaurant focused on oysters and lobsters. A third is a bar/restaurant dedicated to the eternal greatness of beer and burgers with 25 types of burgers and 100s of different beers. I’d love to own a classic French brasserie, too.
What is your favorite local product or purveyor to work with?
I love fresh basil from my victory garden in Glover Park. I grow ten different kinds of basil plus sage, thyme, rosemary, lavender, oregano, chives, hot peppers, and tomatoes.
What is your biggest customer pet peeve?
People who claim to be personal friends of Chef George. Who? We love everyone else.
What do you drink/eat after work?
Usually I make pasta or bring home take out from one of the restaurants. Once a week Norah and I have sushi delivered from Sushi-Ko. Wine is my beverage of choice followed closely by bubbly mineral water.
What is your favorite thing to cook at home?
Blueberry pancakes, bacon, and maple syrup for my wife on Sunday mornings.
Click below for Chef Geoff’s recipe for Tortilla Soup!
makes 1/2 gallon
3 raw corn tortillas, diced
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp chili powder
¼ cup beer
½ cup pureed yellow onion
1 tbsp chipotle, pureed
1 quart chicken legs, pulled n’cleaned twice
2 large tomatoes, blackened n’ pureed (and when I say “blackened”, I mean black black)
1 quart roasted chicken stock
1 quart water (to maintain consistency)
Sweat tortillas and garlic in canola oil, then add the spices and beer.
Add the onions and chipotle puree and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the chicken, tomato puree and the stock.
Bring to a boil and simmer for approximately 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.