This week Haidar Karoum, Executive Chef of the newly opened Proof shares his thoughts on the same seven questions.
What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
I love rasps…otherwise known as a Microplane grater. We use them to finely grate citrus zest, nutmeg, chocolate, macadamia nuts, cheeses, ginger. They are really versatile.
What is the most overrated food/technique in restaurants today?
Not so much an overrated food/technique, but a restaurant trend of Bigger & Bigger or the “mega restaurant”. I wish there were more spots like Makoto on Macarthur Blvd where the dining experience is so intimate.
If you were to open a restaurant with a different type of cuisine than what you are cooking now, what would it be?
I really love South East Asian flavors… and I really like offal (sweetbreads, foie gras, tripe, etc.). Maybe we could meet in the middle. Might be a bit of a stretch but I’d go.
What is your favorite local product or purveyor to work with?
Local organic produce from Tuscarora Farms or Path Valley farms. Support your local farmers market. Once you taste the difference between local celery and the water pumped grocery store version grown 3000 miles away, there is no turning back.
What is your biggest customer pet peeve?
Food coming back to the kitchen from a table having a Chef’s Tasting Menu because they stepped out for a smoke.
What do you drink/eat after work?
To drink, Rhone reds, done.
After service on Sundays, General Manager Michael James, Wine Director Sebastian Zutant and I like to catch raw bar oysters, and perhaps a cold beer, or two.
What is your favorite thing to cook at home?
I don’t cook at home. My oven’s four years old and brand new, but I’m not sure if it works! It’s ok, the stoves at Proof fire up just fine.