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Blog posts of '2015' 'July'

MATFER ANNIVERSARY WINNER PAYS IT FORWARD

By Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes & Traditions Expert

Chef Liz Sutton Thompson

Matfer Bourgeat cooked up a fun question and answer contest with some great prizes to celebrate its 200th anniversary. To honor the company’s bicentennial birthday, chefs around the country were asked why they trusted Matfer products and how they used them. The diverse responses were phenomenal and Matfer was most appreciative of the time and effort each chef took on their application. Every applicant had a terrific story to share and choosing the top three was no easy task. The added flavor and flair to the submissions from Grande Prize Winner Liz Thompson, 2nd Place winner Andrew Miller and 3rd Place Winner Barron Hamilton caught our judges’ attention to declare them the winning recipients.

What moved Matfer most was what we heard once the contest was over and what Grande Prize Winner Liz Thompson Sutton did with most of her prize winnings. Take a look below to see why. Enjoy and happy cooking!

GRANDE PRIZE WINNER: Pastry Chef Liz Thompson Sutton, Los Angeles, California 
As a culinary professional who teaches pastry, Liz loves going through the Matfer Bourgeat catalogue putting together her wish list of items. In her inspiring Matfer story, she told how “chocolate was an area that I was never totally trained in but always fascinated by.”

“When I went to my first Matfer Bourgeat Warehouse Sale last year and saw all of the chocolate molds and supplies that were affordable, I went crazy and bought a lot of things! They sat for a while and then I was asked to teach a chocolate class at work so I got busy using all of the things I purchased. I self-taught myself all about tempering and went on to make beautiful hand crafted chocolates. Coincidentally soon afterwards I was asked to participate with other chefs in a restaurant show in China and I ended up demonstrating chocolate. Thank you Matfer Bourgeat for giving me the opportunity to learn to work with chocolate because of all of your fantastic items.”

As the winner, Liz received 200 Matfer Bourgeat items worth $5,750. She chose to keep the ones that worked for her professionally, especially the many different kinds of Matfer pastry tips.

But what makes her win so inspiring is that Liz then paid her joy and appreciation for food and preparation forward by personally donating many of the Matfer Bourgeat items that were more suitable for savory use to a food bank where she volunteers called MEND. They cook for and feed over 30,000 people a month. Click here for more information on MEND.

Liz also gifted some specialty items to dear friend Executive Chef Claud Beltran (See our July Chef’s Spotlight) who just opened Bacchus Kitchen, a new restaurant in Pasadena, California. 

2ND PRIZE WINNER: Chef Andrew Miller, Seattle, Washington

“My favorite Matfer story takes me back to my early cooking days in Portland, OR. I was a line cook at Atwater's in 1995. My buddy Don was in the purchasing department and brought me a Matfer Bourgeat spatula. Don was so excited and leaned into me to make the point that this was a high-end professional small ware. Don hit the prep table repeatedly with the grey spatula exclaiming that it would last forever. I’m not sure what happened to Don, but my spatula has been with me ever since with my knife kit. And it has been with me and used in many different kitchens in various countries. When I introduce Matfer products to others, they are impressed. It always reminds of the time when Don gave me my first Matfer Bourgeat product—that great spatula.”

3RD PRIZE WINNDER: Chef Barron Hamilton, Austin, Texas

“I have always had a passion for copper cookware from France. I wanted the best copper cookware I could get, and that is indeed what I got. The first time I was able to actually feel the magnificent weight of my Matfer Bourgeat copper pots and pans with iron handles, to see the gleam of their beautiful rosy copper, and to be forced to squint as the light beamed from the highly polished stainless steel interior, was a moment that will always stay with me. The excitement of putting the smallest of my Matfer Bourgeat pans on the burner of my little apartment stove and to perfectly saute some shallots is one of those moments I savor. To be able to serve a gorgeous Coq au Vin, or Daube de Boeuf in the large Rondeau that was now mine was a true triumph as an amateur home cook who would soon embark on a professional career. These pieces of culinary art will outlast me, and whoever continues to use them long after I am gone, will, no doubt, get the same pleasure.”

MANY THANKS!
Liz’s generosity made a huge impression on the Matfer team. Community outreach to give back and make a difference so mirrors our company philosophy that we then sent MEND additional Matfer products to use in their food bank kitchens. It was all in all a winning combination with a very happy ending.

CHEF SPOTLIGHT: EXECUTIVE CHEF CLAUD BELTRAN / BACCHUS RESTAURANT

By Mara Papatheodorou, Your Tastes & Traditions Expert

Claud Beltran Bacchus and Eatery Restaurant Pasadena

Executive Chef & Restaurant Owner Claud Beltran made the rare transition from aerospace engineer to professional chef before opening his own successful establishments. His passion for home cooking lead him to enroll at UCLA Extension Culinary Courses followed by hard work and being mentored by Chef Thomas Keller in all levels of a restaurant kitchen. A native of Pasadena, Chef Beltran started a catering company Claud & Co. and now is also the proud proprietor of The Eatery and his recently opened restaurant Bacchus Kitchen. Both have received stellar reviews with an impressive loyal following.

INTERVIEW:

As an established Executive Chef of your own restaurants and catering company what inspires you?
Passion, commitment to excellence, integrity, humor and a sense of adventure all inspire me. Growing up, food was important in my home. I’m of Mexican and Lebanese descent so time at the table was important. But I began my career as an aerospace engineer, and then went to cooking school and worked and trained further in restaurants.  I’m very passionate and logical at the same time. This combination works perfectly as a chef who owns and runs a business because I’ve found I need to have both a practical and passionate mindset.  I often make sure I’m hungry when I cook since this regularly motivates me to create something that is much more enticing to me and for my guests. I love what I do and I want my patrons to enjoy each and every dish that comes out of our kitchens.

MATFER PREP CHEF - SLICER Claud Beltran

What do you like about being the Executive Chef/Owner of Bacchus Kitchen, The Eatery and the Claud & Co. Catering Company?    
I like the diversity of working on the big and the small picture. Intimate restaurants are more free flow and individualized compared to the larger catered events. However, the two cover both sides of the spectrum for me. Bacchus Kitchen and The Eatery are simply extensions of inviting friends into my second home. And my restaurants, I hope, are that- homey neighborhood places with a warm and welcoming vibe that offers great quality delicious tasting food and wines.

I want it to feel like an intimate casual dinner party every night. I change my menus every month and keep them very seasonal. I love doing special tasting menus like the paella. I can try unique interesting dishes with a global appeal at the restaurants and if they are well received I can add them to my bigger event offerings. I enjoy making small and big impressions on patrons’ palates that may surprise them and, I hope, make them happy. It’s what keeps cooking interesting for me.

Black Steel Paella Pan

Black Steel Paella Pan

Black Steel Paella Pan

Black Steel Paella Pan

Paella is such a versatile recipe with different interpretations. What makes your version unique?
I really enjoy creating a one-meal dish that features diverse elements and flavors that blend well together. Paella allows me to do that. I make different paellas all year long as the seasons change. In this instance, I omitted the classic sausage and seafood and played up the summer vegetables. Chicken breast complements the traditional saffron and it allows the freshness of fantastic heirloom tomatoes and asparagus to shine through along with the onions and red bell pepper. I’m really happy with its colorful layered presentation so that it looks as good as it tastes. And I like to make sure our wines match well with our menu selections. This summer paella pairs beautifully with light white wine like a Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc or a red Pinot Noir.

Black Steel Paella Pan

How do you go about preparing your various dishes?
For me, it is all about quality and authenticity. I only use the freshest of seasonal ingredients and the tools I use to make a dish have to be of that high caliber too. As an engineer who became a chef, I really respect the design, efficiency and durability of my professional kitchen utensils.  I’ve got to say on the prep side the Matfer Prep Chef - Slicer with all of those inter-changeable blades is an amazing game changer for me in vegetable chopping! It is light to the touch, quick and easy to use and it delivers perfect even cuts. I also like how a mixing bowl fits right under the slicer to catch the vegetables as they drop. The slicer works for restaurant dishes as well as for mass chopping for the catered events.

On the cooking front, the Paella Pan is a stunner. It is heavy and thick enough for the broth to boil the rice yet the sides are high enough to build the elements. Most importantly, it distributes the heat evenly for balanced cooking. It’s a terrific size that can serve 6-8 people. I love that it goes straight from the oven to the table.

Aluminum Conical Collander

Geisser Messer Chef Knife

What are your favorite Matfer must-haves?
I really like the Giesser Messer Multi-Purpose Kitchen Knife. It chops beautifully and I like how the handle feels in my hand. I can really chop and control at the same time! The design and depth of the conical colander really works for me when washing vegetables and fruits. And I use the various sized Flat Bottom Mixing Bowls all of the time.  For instance, I really like how the bowl fits right under the Multi Prep Chef - Slicer so the chopped vegetables just drop right into it.

Geisser Messer Chef Knife

Geisser Messer Chef KnifeExoglass Spoon

How did you choose the names for your restaurants?
My love of food and wine is so true and so simple that both names made sense! The Eatery came first and evolved as an extension from our catering company Claud & Co. As the God of wine, Bacchus fit the notion of a casual bistro/wine bar where people could come to sip and savor.

Claud Beltran Bacchus Kitchen

Famed opera singer Luciano Pavorotti said, “One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote attention to eating.” Do you agree? 
This says it all for me. It is why I wanted to open neighborhood restaurants. He was right. Devoting attention to eating is one of the nicest things about life. Stop. Come in and dine at my restaurant. Please enjoy the food, the drink and the company. The appreciation of music, food and wine are a lot alike and this quote hits that note.


TOOLS FOR THE TASTE
As an inspirational chef, you are guaranteed an outstanding outcome for your own personalized paella when you use Matfer's Black Steel Paella PanMatfer Prep Chef - SlicerAluminum Conical Collander & Giesser Messer Multi-Purpose Kitchen Knife.

TASTES & TRADITIONS - PAELLA PERFECTION

By Mara Papatheodorou, Your Tastes & Traditions Expert

Black Steel Paella Pan

Viva L’Espana! Paella - Spain’s national dish- adds sizzle and spice to any summer menu. This alluring one-pan wonder classically combines seasoned saffron rice, garlic and onions with elements from the country’s fertile Mare y Montana (the sea and the mountains). 

The history of this unique grain-based specialty blends the tastes and traditions of two cultures. Over 1200 years ago, when the Moors invaded the Iberian Peninsula, they brought their agricultural expertise with them. They introduced an improved rice irrigation system from the Arab and Roman worlds to the local farmers when they realized the area’s weather and soil made the crop thrive, especially in Valencia.  

With its warm Mediterranean air and water, this Eastern Spanish region became the hub for growing and then exporting the commodity throughout the country and Europe. Royal banquets often featured rice dishes. Savvy field laborers and kitchen servants gathered banquet leftovers-whether they were chicken, rabbit, fish or vegetables and cooked them with their daily rice staple in a “patella” (Catalan for a high sided skillet pan). Hence, thanks to the name of the pan, “paella” was born.

Throughout the centuries, its palate power and prestige has gained mouthwatering momentum with multiple ingredients and diverse interpretations. Today, from city to city, the entrée remains a delicious shining star on menus, at culinary competitions, family feasts and festive fiestas.

FEATURED CHEF SPOTLIGHT: CHEF CLAUD BELTRAN

Chef Claud Beltran

The Matfer team spent a fun and food-friendly day at beautiful Bacchus Kitchen in Pasadena where Executive Chef & Co-Owner Claud Beltran created a summertime stunner of pristine paella using ideally matched Matfer tools.

Chef Beltran’s passion for paella allows this talented chef to reach a whole new level of flavor and flair thanks to the use of sensational summer vegetables with a spicy sizzling twist. Turn up the heat and take a peek at his scintillating dish. Read the spotlight!


TOOLS FOR THE TASTE
As an inspirational chef, you are guaranteed an outstanding outcome for your own personalized paella when you use Matfer's Black Steel Paella PanMatfer Prep Chef – slicerAluminum Conical Collander & Giesser Messer Multi-Purpose Kitchen Knife