Culinary Point of View

October 9, 2015

Culinary Point of View is an interview series with chefs from all walks of life. Check back each month for a new point of view from those who love and live food.

Chef Mark Allison

Chef Mark Allison: Changing the Nutrition Conversation

As the first director of culinary nutrition for the Dole Nutrition Institute (DNI), Mark Allison hangs his chef whites next to lab coats and lines up his cookbooks next to scientific journals. He collaborates with plant, food, and nutritional scientists at DNI and the North Carolina Research Campus to blend scientific findings with culinary arts to motivate the public to cook healthier meals. His goal is to move the food conversation away from what you shouldn’t eat to focus on what you should be eating—more fruits and vegetables.

Recipes: Melon & Shrimp and Sunset Slaw

 Chef Sarah Simmons

Chef Sarah Simmons: Celebrating the Everyday

Winning Food & Wine magazine’s Home Cook Superstar contest in 2010 enabled Sarah Simmons to leave her job as a retail strategist to follow her passion for cooking. In 2011, she opened City Grit, a New York “culinary salon.” In September 2014, she opened Birds & Bubbles, a NYC restaurant focusing on fried chicken and champagne. In less than five years, this former business-by-day, home-cook-by-night has become a well-known chef with her own line of City Grit-branded products at Williams-Sonoma and fans that include Oprah Winfrey.

Recipe: Carolina Coleslaw

 Chef Jeremy Bringardner

Chef Jeremy Bringardner: Achieving the Food Trifecta

Delicious, affordable, and nutritious. As the Corporate Executive Chef at LYFE Kitchen, this “trifecta” is the goal of every dish that Jeremy Bringardner creates. At LYFE Kitchen, an acronym for “Love Your Food Everyday,” Bringardner combines his extensive fine-dining cooking skills with his nutritional knowledge to develop a menu that champions taste, focusing on familiar flavors, with no dish containing more than 600 calories and most with less. And with LYFE expanding at an astounding rate, Bringardner balances taste and nutrition with operational and supply chain challenges.

Recipe: Chocolate Budino Dessert

 Chef Marc Forgione

Chef Marc Forgione Forges His Own Path

Chef Marc “Forge” Forgione began his career at the age of 16, joining his father, Larry Forgione (a culinary legend), in the kitchen at An American Place. After a culinary apprenticeship in France cemented that he did want to follow in his father’s footsteps, Chef Forgione opened his eponymous restaurant just as the Great Recession began in 2008. He managed to keep the restaurant afloat and his efforts were rewarded in 2010 when the restaurant received its first Michelin star. That same year, he was crowned Food Network’s Next Iron Chef. No longer just the son of culinary legend, Forgione has created his own unique culinary identity.

Recipe: Strip Steak, Escargot, and Braised Lettuce with Sorghum Air Bread

 From top: Tal Ronnen and Monte Casino

Kite Hill: Balancing Innovation & Tradition

What does a celebrity vegan chef have in common with a cheese-making instructor from the Le Cordon Bleu? They work together to create almond milk-based cheeses that follow the time-honored techniques of artisanal dairy cheese-making. Chef/Product Developer Monte Casino and Chef Tal Ronnen, both co-founders of Kite Hill, work with the other team members to combine the best ingredients, naturally occurring enzymes, and a specially developed lactose-free culture to slowly age their cheese using traditional French equipment. Their goal is to create cheeses that rival the best artisan dairy cheeses and entice the full range of food lovers: omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans alike.

Recipe: Cauliflower, Butter Bean & Ricotta Stuffed Shells

 Chef Kyle Connaughton

Chef Kyle Connaughton: Making Crickets Tasty

Kyle Connaughton decided that he wanted to be a chef after eating sushi for the first time at the age of nine. After attending what would become Le Cordon Bleu and California Sushi Academy, he worked at Toya Japon in Japan and then as Head Chef of Research and Development at Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck, overseeing a team of food scientists and chefs. Now, Chef Connaughton directs product development for Exo, a protein bar company that uses cricket flour as a nutritious and sustainable protein source.

 l to r: chef Dan Barber and Cornell plant breeder Michael Mazourek

Chef + Plant Breeder: The Future of Flavor

Chef Dan Barber’s respect for farming led him to open up Blue Hill restaurant in New York City in 2000 and, four years later, Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, N.Y. With access to Stone Barns’ farm, Barber was able to develop his signature approach to close-to-the-land cooking married to agriculture and stewardship of the earth. Barber believes modern agriculture has become more about high yields than flavor and nutrition. Enter Michael Mazourek, assistant professor in Plant Breeding Genetics at Cornell Univ. Barber and Mazourek have spent the past 10 years working together to develop new organic crop varieties that emphasize flavor.

Recipe: Honeynut Squash Hash

 Chef and Food Stylist Lisa Heathcote

The Real Mrs. Patmore: A Chat with Chef Lisa Heathcote

As the foodie movement grows, it’s no surprise to find that food’s presence has taken on supporting roles in television and film. On shows such as Masterpiece’s Downton Abbey, food indirectly weaves a common thread throughout most episodes. Behind the scenes, it is Chef and Food Stylist Lisa Heathcote drawing on her arts and catering background to create the intricate dishes for the Edwardian era show. While baking pies for an upcoming shoot of BBC’s Sherlock, Heathcote shares the diverse and sometimes challenging aspects of being a food stylist.

Recipe: Salmon Mousse

 Chef David Lebovitz

Chef David Lebovitz: Living ‘la Bonne Vie’ in Paris

It’s been more than a decade since David Lebovitz, former Chez Panisse Pastry Chef, left the United States to explore the cuisine and culture of Paris. During that time he started his eponymous and popular blog, acclaimed both for its humorous depictions of expat life in Paris and its recipes, and has written seven cookbooks. Now considered one of the leading voices on French cooking, dining, and living, Lebovitz shares his views on Paris cuisine and the business of blogging.

Recipe: Counterfeit Duck Confit

 Einat Admony

Chef Einat Admony: Redefining Israeli Cuisine

Known to many as the “Queen of Falafel,” Isreal-born Chef Einat Admony opened her first New York City restaurant—Taïm—in 2007 elevating the simple street food item. Since then, she and her husband have opened two other restaurants—Balaboosta in 2011 and most recently Bar Bolonat in March 2014. While the food served at Balaboosta evokes Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, Bar Bolonat offers a modern take on traditional Israeli food. At a time when Americans are clamoring for new ethnic dishes, Chef Admony helps diners explore the range of influences and flavors that shape Israeli cooking.

Recipe: Shakshuka 

 Jennifer McLagan

Chef McLagan Sees the Beauty in Bitter

After working in restaurants around the world, Chef Jennifer McLagan’s love for cookbooks led her to put down spatula and pick up the pen. Since 2005, she has written four cookbooks exploring under-appreciated food treasures like Fat, Bones, Odd Bits, and most recently Bitter: A Taste of the World’s Most Dangerous Flavor. In each, McLagan explores an ingredient through science, culture, and history, while providing unique recipes that bring the ingredient to life. In Bitter, she urges us to reconsider bitterness as a taste that not only challenges palates and culinary sensibilities, but also adds depth and balance to dishes.

Recipe: Radicchio Pumpkin Risotto 

 Katrina Markoff

Vosges Chocolates Tell a Sensory Story

After graduating from Vanderbilt University with a degree in chemistry and psychology, Katrina Markoff moved to Paris to pursue her dream of studying the culinary arts at Le Cordon Bleu. She then embarked on a world tour that began with an apprenticeship in Spain under the direction of Ferran Adrià and continued east through Southeast Asia and Australia. Upon her return to the states, Markoff founded Vosges Haut-Chocolat. Chocolate became her medium to explore other cultures, artists, religions, or movements through the senses.

Recipe: Sizzlin’ Bacon in Shot Glasses with Maple Syrup “Pudding” 

 Chef Jorge Collazo

Chef Jorge Collazo: Revolutionizing School Food

As Executive Chef for the New York City public school system, Jorge Collazo is on the front lines of the school food revolution. He is regarded as one of the leaders in the movement to provide healthier menus for school children. Chef Collazo is involved in training, developing culinary concepts, writing standards, reformulating recipes, and collaborating with manufacturers to offer superior nutritional choices to the city’s more than 1,700 schools that serve 850,000 meals a day—the largest such operation in the country.

Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower Chop 

 Chef Syrena Johnson

Journey of an Aspiring New Orleans Chef

A New Orleans native, Syrena Johnson’s love for cooking started at home but it wasn’t until she enrolled in Liberty’s Kitchen—a non-profit cooking school designed to help disadvantaged youth throughout New Orleans—that she realized she could turn it into a career. Johnson then entered the first-ever scholarship competition held by the John Besh Foundation’s Chefs Move! and won a scholarship to the International Culinary Center in New York. After graduating and returning to her hometown, she worked in a handful of upscale restaurants, learning from top chefs like Susan Spicer and Michael Gulotta. Here, 24-year-old Johnson shares her whirlwind journey and the kind of chef she aspires to be.

Recipe: Crawfish, Shrimp and Okra Etouffee with Rice Pilaf and Blackened Speckled Trout 

 Jared Rouben

Brewmaster Brings Produce to Pint

A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Jared Rouben has worked both kitchen and service positions in Michelin-starred restaurants in Chicago, Ill. A passion for beer brought him to brewing school, then to Rock Bottom Brewery, and finally to Goose Island’s Clybourn brewpub, where he made his mark creating beers with more than 50 chefs and farmers from nearby Green City Market. Now, Rouben’s new project, Moody Tongue Brewing Co., will emphasize what he calls “culinary brewing.” Moody Tongue employs classical cooking methodologies and techniques to incorporate ingredients into beer aside from malt, yeast, hops, and water.

Homebrew Recipe: Tingly Tongues 

 Jose Andres

Improving the Food System One Stove at a Time

Named “Outstanding Chef” by the James Beard Foundation in 2011 and one of Time magazine’s world’s 100 most influential people in 2012, Chef Jose Andrés is an internationally-recognized culinary innovator, passionate advocate for food and hunger issues, author, television personality, and chef/owner of ThinkFoodGroup. He owns restaurants in Washington, D.C., Beverly Hills, Las Vegas, Miami, and Puerto Rico. And if that doesn’t keep him busy enough, after traveling to post-earthquake Haiti, he launched World Central Kitchen, which aims to feed and empower vulnerable people in humanitarian crises around the world. Here, Chef Andrés talks about the World Central Kitchen and the responsibility he feels as a chef to help feed the world.

 Michael Laiskonis and Florian Pinel

Unusual Pairings Drive the Next Byte

After winning Jeopardy three years ago, IBM’s Watson decided to take its supercomputing skills into the kitchen. Teaming up with chefs from the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE), the Watson team launched the Cognitive Cooking project with lofty goal of seeing if a computer can help the most ingenious chefs in the world be even more creative. Drawing on a database of tens of thousands of recipes and ingredient combinations, and input from the chefs, Watson produces a list of ingredients for a dish that the regular foodie has probably never thought of. Florian Pinel, Senior Software Engineer at IBM Watson Group, and Chef Michael Laiskonis, Creative Director at ICE, share their experiences developing and interacting with Watson for the Cognitive Cooking project.

Chef Laiskonis recipe developed using IBM Watson's cognitive computing: Ecuadorian Strawberry Dessert

 Senior Culinary Nutritionist Kristy Del Coro

Kristy Del Coro: Good food, guilt free

After studying history in college, Kristy Del Coro’s passion for food and nutrition led her to pursue her M.S. in Clinical Nutrition from NYU. Armed with her Registered Dietician credential, she still longed to enhance her culinary skills. So, while working as a clinical dietician at a cancer center she enrolled in night classes to acquire her Culinary Arts degree. Now, as the Senior Culinary Nutritionist at Michelin-starred Rouge Tomate in New York City, she has the ability to combine her unique skillset to work hand-in-hand with the chefs to ensure the dishes are just as healthy as they are delicious.

Recipe: Roasted Broccoli & Marinated Potato Salad

 Richie Farina

Art + Science = Moto's Perfect Marriage

In 2008, Chef Richie Farina showed up at the back door of Moto, resumé in hand, vying to work in the Michelin-starred Chicago restaurant. In January he was named Executive Chef. His goal since day one? To elevate the idea of molecular gastronomy by marrying traditional cooking techniques with the latest in scientific technology to showcase food in a way that harkens back to where it originated from. He uses his passion for science and art to reinforce the number one driver behind his dishes—the taste.

Recipe: Strawberries & Cream

 Brad Nelson

Marriott’s Corporate Chef Wants You to Follow the Food

Chef Brad Nelson’s 36 years of cooking in the hospitality industry have led him to become Vice President, Culinary and Global Corporate Chef at Marriott International. He leads a culinary team that focuses on building travel memories through food and beverage experiences. In addition, his passion for sustainability inspired him to create a seafood program that enables guests to know where their food comes from.

Recipe: Brad's Quick Pickle

 Square Meals Chef Alison Mountford

Chef Alison Mountford: Bringing the Restaurant Home

Chef Alison Mountford started her culinary career as a personal chef, but she soon realized she wanted to be able to offer her restaurant-quality meals to bigger audience. And so San Francisco-based Square Meals was started in with the goal of elevating take-away food from greasy containers and unhealthy calorie splurges to wholesome meals and fresh, tasty dishes you can feel good about eating.

Recipe: Alison's Turkey Meatloaf

Chef Gale Gand

Chef Gale Gand’s Sweet Success

Growing up with artists as parents, it was easy for Gale Gand to find herself studying metalsmithing in college. However, she found her true calling while waitressing at a local restaurant. From there, her entrepreneurial spirit and artistic nature lead her to become a nationally acclaimed pastry chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, television personality, and James Beard Award winner.

Recipe: Gale's Butter Ball Cookies

Georgia Pelligrini

Chef Georgia Pellegrini: A Girl Hunter's Guide to Conscious Eating

Chef Georgia Pellegrini’s passion for good, simple food began at an early age while fishing for trout in upstate New York. Now this chef, blogger, author and guide is shering groups of women through what maybe their first experience with hunting, cleaning, and cooking their own food.

Her purpose: to know and understand where her food was coming from—whether it is from field or stream. 

Recipe: Whiskey Glazed Wild Turkey Breast

Chef Michael McGreal

Chef Michael McGreal: Drill Sergeant & Veggie Ambassador

While pursuing a degree in veterinary medicine, Michael McGreal got a job in campus foodservice to pay the bills. Little did he know, that job would lead him to his true calling—culinary.

Much like a drill sergeant to the enlisted, McGreal hammers his students with skills they will need in the restaurant world.

Recipe: Roasted Beet and Mixed Berry Sorbet

Chef Andrew Hunter

Chef Andrew Hunter: Bringing flavor to the masses

As an R&D chef, Andrew Hunter thrives on the challenge of translating high-end culinary dishes and concepts into affordable food for the masses. His mantra: “Flavor doesn’t have to be expensive.” Relying on smart compromises that don’t sacrifice the integrity of the food, he works to successfully bridge culinary and sensory sensibility with the manufacturing or production realities. And to all started scrambling eggs for his parents.

Recipe: Santa Maria Tri-tip Roast

Chef Jacques Gautier

Chef Gautier made it hot before it was cool

Chef Jacques Gautier was delving into sustainable agriculture, local sourcing, mixing eclectic flavors, and community food education before they were cool.

Palo Santo is in its seventh year of operation, and Fort Reno—his new barbeque joint down the street—is in its second year, giving Chef Gautier a solid foothold in Brooklyn’s thriving dining scene.

Recipe: Orange Almond Cake

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