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From the Kitchen of: Rachael Harriman

Chef RachaelFrom The French Laundry to Per Se, today’s chef of the week, Rachael Harriman is certainly not short of any experience in the kitchen.  Harriman is currently the Chef de Cuisine at The Mandarin’s new restaurant, Sou’Wester.

What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
My favorite kitchen tool aside from knives would be a rubber spatula. In my opinion you can’t cook a meal without one. Whether you are mixing, stirring or scraping, a rubber spatula is a must have.

What is the most overrated food/technique in restaurants today?
This is a hard question to answer. There are so many different techniques to cooking, and because of all these techniques we have so many restaurants to choose from. If I had to choose one though, it would be the anti-griddle. There was one time I went to an event, ate something that was made on the anti griddle, and it burned my tongue.

If you were to open a restaurant with a different type of cuisine than what you are cooking now, what would it be?
If I was going to open a restaurant with a different cuisine, I would serve “country” Italian. Food that was rustic and highlighted the flavors of each single item. Fresh pasta, thin crispy pizzas.  Comforting and delicious.

What is your favorite local product or purveyor to work with?
I have been lucky enough to start working with Heidi Fahey of Chailey Farms outside of Purcellville, VA. This is the farms first year, so there has been a lot of wondering and waiting to see how the fruits and vegetables will develop. It has been a very interesting learning process, and I am very excited to see what becomes available this fall.

What is your biggest customer pet peeve?
I guess my biggest pet peeve would be when guests don’t show up for a reservation.

What do you drink/eat after work?
After work I always feel like something sweet. Usually if our pastry chef isn’t looking, I will snag on of her delicious cookies. Either the peanut butter or chocolate chip, both are amazing.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?
Whenever I cook at home, which isn’t very often, I generally make some type of pasta dish. Pasta is great because there are so many possibilities.

Keep reading for Chef Harriman’s recipe for homemade pasta…

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