Tag Archives: chef

From the Kitchen of: Graham Duncan

From recycling to choosing fuel-efficient vehicles, being “green” is quickly becoming a focus in every part of our lives. Finding such “green” fare just became much easier for Washingtonians, with the opening of Founding Farmers. With sustainable agriculture at the heart of its menu and environmentally safe measures built into the 8,500-square-foot space, Founding Farmers is designed to meet Leadership in Energy Efficient Design (LEED) certification criteria, and Certified Green Restaurant operational standards, noteworthy efforts that will distinguish this restaurant from others claiming ‘farm fresh’ or ‘green’ in their descriptions. Led by Chef Graham Duncan, Founding Farmers will offer breakfast, lunch, dinner, Sunday brunch and Sunday supper with menus that include all homemade traditional American classics inspired by the heartland. We were able to snag a few minutes of Chef Duncan’s time to learn more about him before the restaurant’s grand opening tomorrow!

What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
A good maple wooden spoon – you can use it for anything in the kitchen.

What is the most overrated food/technique in restaurants today?
Foam. It was a novel idea when it was first practiced in Spain, but eating foam as food is just silly to me.

If you were to open a restaurant with a different type of cuisine than what you are cooking now, what would it be?
Definitely Italian Mediterranean. My wife and I spent two and a half months in Europe for our honeymoon, and once we tasted that food we said to each other that we should never go home.

What is your favorite local product or purveyor to work with?
Trickling Springs Farm, who supplies most of our dairy. The people are extremely nice and their product is phenomenal.

What is your biggest customer pet peeve?
That’s difficult to say in a customer service field – but I’d have to say people who season their food before they taste it.

What do you drink/eat after work?
Last night I had cold pizza and a Blue Moon – that’s pretty much as far back as I can remember in the midst of opening the restaurant!

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?
Bread and roast chicken. I have a great bread recipe where you mix flour, water, and yeast at night – no stirring, no kneading – and in the morning, pop it in the oven and watch it rise. With roast chicken, I just put it in the oven and walk away, which gives me more time to spend with my family.

Click below for Chef Graham’s recipe for Cornbread-Crusted Strawberry and Rhubarb Cobbler

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In Print: Clips from Food Sections

5. – The Boston Herald Mmm… bacon (and more…) ” ‘Everything is better with bacon. It’s one of my favorite foods,” said Don Yovicsin, the owner of Jake’s Dixie Roadhouse in Waltham. “So when one of my friends mentioned the idea of bacon and vodka, it piqued my curiosity.’ ”

4. – The Chicago Tribune Old School Tool “Today, we’re looking at another old tool from the old school, one that’s still popular in professional kitchens but which largely has fallen out of favor at home: the food mill.”

3. – The LA Times Entertaining with an entree-free dinner “Let’s face it: Late-summer nights are perfect for entertaining but not so great for cooking or eating three-course meals. This kind of weather calls for a different battle plan for dinner. “

2. – The NY Times Even Chefs Have to Wait for a Table “Restaurant openings in New York are beginning to require the kind of planning that went into the Beijing Olympics. A few of the restaurants in this annual preview were also in the preview last year, prematurely, it turned out.”

1. – The Washington Post At the Dinner Table, A Comedy of Manners “It’s a cathartic job: You get to complain a lot. When the receptionist put me on hold and forgot, I not only had a beef, I had a column. And I had particularly juicy fodder the week the maitre d’ stuck his thumb in my espresso to verify my claim that it wasn’t hot enough. Thirty years later, that maitre d’ is still protesting that it was his waiter’s thumb, not his.”

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Late Breaking News…

Word on the street is 1789 is looking for a new executive chef. Nathan Beauchamp has given his notice – we don’t know what his plans moving forward are, but we are disappointed to hear he will be leaving.

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A Little Teaser…

from the lilliputian adventures at The Inn at Little Washington’s 30th Anniversary Gala last night.

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From the Kitchen of: David Guas

While attending the International Wine and Food Fest‘s Grand Cru tasting last Friday, I had the pleasure of meeting David Guas of davidguas.jpgDamgoodsweet Consulting Group. I was drawn to his table after Bonnie Benwick insisted I try his delightful Chèvre Cheesecake. And delightful it is! With a slight tang from the goat cheese and a hint of a kick from the peppercorns, this is a dessert with a serious WOW factor! Serve it at your next dinner party and your guests are sure to be asking for the recipe… and leftover cheesecake to take home! (David was nice enough to share the recipe – see below!!!)

Oh, I almost forgot – David’s delightful too! Serving up his cheesecakes in a seer-sucker chef’s coat (I was swooning over the coat!), David was telling attendees about the upcoming opening of Bayou Bakery, his next culinary adventure where people will be able to stop by and pick up good ole’ southern desserts (think New Orleans) and even grab a bite for lunch!

What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
I think I’m torn between my propane torch and my hand held immersion blender. The torch, it seems, I use for a lot of little things. I use it for removing air bubbles from unbaked brûlées and custards, caramelizing sugar, and heating up the sides of my electric mixer’s bowl while creaming butter and sugar or while making buttercream.

What is the most overrated food/technique in restaurants today?
Soufflés, hands down. I don’t know what the big deal is with them. I’ve made them for over 12 years and people love them. Maybe I’m just burnt out from making them.

If you were to open a restaurant with a different type of cuisine than what you are cooking now, what would it be?
It would, and will soon be, a tribute to my home state, Louisiana. I will be opening a place called Bayou Bakery which will primarily focus on the sweets of my childhood and have a few non-sweets as well for the lunch crowd.

What is your favorite local product or purveyor to work with?
As simple as he says it is to produce, I love Pipedream Farms fresh Chèvre curd. It has the perfect saltiness and texture. Brad Parker, the owner, is a genuine guy and loves what he does and he really seems to enjoy his relationship with his clients (mostly chefs).

What is your biggest customer pet peeve?
When a guest says, “It’s not right,” or, “It tastes off.” After being asked what’s wrong with it or to elaborate, they don’t know how to or they give you nothing in the way of detailed and intelligent feedback. Boy, do I sound bitter!

What do you drink/eat after work?
Bourbon or beer to drink and anything fried or slow cooked (braised).

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?
I love making pizza with my two boys, Kemp and Spencer. Something about the dough and watching them try to toss it up in the air just makes me laugh. I also love to make turkey meatballs and fresh pasta (my wife doesn’t eat pork or beef).

Chèvre Cheesecake
Pepper-Port Syrup, Pine Nut and Rosemary Crisp

David Guas, Chef Owner
Damgoodsweet Consulting Group, LLC

Chèvre Cheesecake
yields 12 4-ounce portions

Ingredients
4 ounces cream cheese
12 ounces fresh chèvre
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups crème fraîche
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 each vanilla bean, split and scraped
3 sheets gelatin
1/4 teaspoon salt

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Sweet Hope at Citronelle

This past Saturday, Citronelle hosted their annual Sweet Hope party – a benefit for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Guests bring an unwrapped children’s toy or monetary donation for entry and then can indulge in Michel Richard’s incredible desserts. A variety of desserts are served up by elves right in the kitchen. And it wouldn’t be a holiday party without champagne, eggnog and delightful hot chocolate.

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And of course, Chef Richard was on hand and signing autographs for his book – Happy in the Kitchen.

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To sign up for their mailing list (and be informed of the party for next year), click here and go to the bottom of the page for email signup.

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From the Kitchen of Haidar Karoum

This week Haidar Karoum, Executive Chef of the newly opened Proof shares his thoughts on the same seven questions.ki.jpg

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.

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From the Kitchen of Todd Gray

This week one of the surest culinary talents in the nation’s capital, Todd Gray, Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Equinox, gives us a little taste of his personality.toddgray.jpg

What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
A knife – I don’t do many gadgets.

What is the most overrated food/technique in restaurants today?
Organic food!

If you were to open a restaurant with a different type of cuisine than what you are cooking now, what would it be?
A BBQ joint.

What is your favorite local product or purveyor to work with?
Soft shell crabs from Baxter.

What is your biggest customer pet peeve?
We have no pet peeves – our customers are great.

What do you drink/eat after work?
Leftovers from the family dinner and drink a nice chilled vodka.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?
Anything on the Weber.

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Last Meal for Famous Chefs

Time recently did a piece on My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs and Their Final Meals written by Melanie Dunea.

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DC’s Jose Andres would “recreate a barbecue he once had in an old mill in Tazones, a village in Asturias (northern Spain). It consists of warm tortillas and potato omelets, piles of percebes (gooseneck barnacles), llámpares (snail-like mollusks), and centollos (gigantic spider crabs).”

Check out what others such as Mario Batali and Nobu would eat in My Last Supper by Melanie Dunea.

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