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TASTES & TRADITIONS: CALLING ALL CLAMS!

By Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes & Traditions Expert

Eric Greenspan's delicious clam and pasta dish at Maré  served in Matfer Bourgeat's Mussle Pot and lid.

Many members of the mollusk family—clams, mussels, scallops, oysters-arrive at the table as main attractions or as part of a bigger plated picture. The most underrated of the group is also the sturdiest, sustainable and subtle. Simply stated, when given the chance, the clam has cache. On its own or as a supportive ingredient, its presence plays an important role in evolution, culinary history, environmental responsibility, and merchants money.

For over 500 million years, it has burrowed itself deep into the sandy shores of the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Western Mediterranean. The deep crevices upon its top and bottom exteriors provide vital messages for marine biologists about aquatic life and survival at sea. Meanwhile, fishermen embrace its abundance in the coastal centers of New England, the Northwest, Canada and European countries like Italy, Spain, Portugal and Southern France. They all recognize that its tender interior makes it a restaurant commodity delight. Steamed, smoked, fried, baked or roasted, clams have an appealing flavor and texture all of their own. They are also low in calories, high in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals.
Broth is its buddy and cream, potatoes, bacon, tomatoes or breadcrumbs are often part of its most enticing equations. They are prominent components in chowders whether it is the famed creamy white New England version or the red tomato based Manhattan choice- both recipes were concocted by regional fishermen as a local specialty. Fresh fried clam rolls or buckets of steamers are standards at many casual eateries or at oceanfront boardwalk “Clam Shacks”. Fine dining establishments feature clam casino, or versions of international seafood stews like paella (Spanish), bouillabaisse (French) or cioppino (Italian) with clams as part of those dishes' entourage. And bartenders keep clam juice ready as their secret splash to a hearty Bloody Mary.


This mighty mollusk has also cultivated itself as a synonym for many of life’s details. It generally keeps its shell shut hence the silent term “clammed up,” or when lots of shells are poured together they create noisy “clamor”. Content to nestle in the sand has led to the emotional endearment “happy as a clam,” while its wet cold “clammy” inside is now an adjective referring to being sticky or sweaty. Native Americans, seafaring trade merchants and fishermen used them as money, while other cultures turned the shells into jewelry. They are also an inspiration for architectural design (a construction digger’s clam bucket or a lighting fixture clam shell) and have even been a part of comedy (Bette Midler’s Clams on the Half Shell Revue).

Chef Eric Greenspan creates delicious clam and pasta dish with Matfer Bourgeat's Mussle Pot and Skimmer for chef spotlight.

Executive Chef Eric Greenspan loves the sturdy shell yet delicate flavor and tenderness of clams. Noted for coastal cuisine at his magical restaurant Maré, his unique mix and match approach in which patrons choose and pair shellfish with a flavored broth is a not-to- be-missed winner.

There is no clamming up when these magnificent mollusks unite with a beautiful blended broth, an egg, and spaghetti for a dish that makes a mouthwatering impression. Check out how this bigger than life award winning chef delicately handles the clams’ “it” factor’! See the Chef Spotlight with Eric Greenspan.


TOOLS FOR THE TASTE
As an innovative chef, make clams the star to create your own shellfish-based concoction and use Matfer's Copper Sauté Pan with Lid, the Mussel Pot with Lid, the Exoglass® Skimmer and Spoon as well as the diverse Giesser Knives.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT
"I follow three rules. Do the right thing. Do the best you can do and always show people you care."
--Lou Holtz, American college football coach and former coach of the
New York Jets

CHEF SPOTLIGHT: PIERINO JERMONTI

By Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes & Traditions Expert

Pierino “Perry” Jermonti was born and raised in Italy, and inspired to become a pastry chef at an early age under the guidance of his parents. He then sought out apprenticeships with renowned pastry chefs and eventually moved to the United States to pursue his passion as well as a culinary degree in the pastry arts. Jermonti now has more than 30 years of experience. Prior to joining Terranea Resort in 2009, Jermonti worked in some of Arizona’s top kitchens including the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Wrigley Mansion Club and 8700 at the Citadel.

Jermonti, Executive Pastry Chef at Terranea Resort, who now calls San Pedro home, has also been featured in Bon Appétit, Food & Wine and Cucina Italiana. 

INTERVIEW:

As an established Master Pastry Chef what inspires you?
Seasonal ingredients, opera and exercise all inspire me. I love giving classic desserts a creative twist and ideas come to me when I am calm and relaxed outside of the kitchen listening to music or doing exercise. Then I can take those ideas and work out the process and refine the procedure inside of the kitchen where I am very focused. My parents were also a huge inspirational influence on me. I think I was baking before I was walking! We are a family of bakers so making bread and then pastry became very second nature to me. What inspired me early on and continues to be intriguing to me is how to blend flavors uniquely. I like to mix sweet and savory elements to balance out the sugar with the simplicity of the fresh ingredients.

What are some of your favorite ingredients to work with?
My favorite ingredients are citrus, chocolate, caramel and sea salt. On the resort property, I have amazing access to the finest of California ingredients right here. We have beautiful Meyer lemon trees, orange and tangerine trees and an abundant fresh herb garden with rosemary, tarragon, oregano etc., but one of the most interesting things we have here is our Sea Salt Conservancy. It is fantastic. All of the sea salt we cultivate is used for our different dishes in the diverse restaurants. Many are infused with lemon or an herb and are wonderful to use in desserts. If salt is added correctly it can really enhance a sweet recipe. I grew up on the waterfront in Calabria, which is the boot of Italy and the Italians use and respect sea salt in a big way.

It is a balancing act to be the Master Pastry Chef at a resort like Terranea where you oversee everything sweet for the restaurants, the bakery, the private events and the weddings. How do you manage all of that with such success?
I’m lucky. I love doing what I do and I have a great team. I also learned from a great team at home and then in Arizona. I believe that practice makes perfect and I have very high standards. Pastry and presentation design are very precise with flairs of flavor. To me, it is architecture on a plate. To have a positive productive team that works well together and can produce the volume and diverse desserts that we do means that I need to show and teach by example. Everyone in the kitchens are committed to the cause of delivering delicious memorable results from the simplest chocolate chip cookie or ice cream to more intricate cakes and tortes.

 

What advice do you pass on to your pastry team and apprentices?
Being a pastry chef is a focused art. To create is an art but to do it well- to master it-takes time and attention to every detail. Use the best ingredients and finest utensils to get the best results. Care about everything. Make sure your pastry toolbox is fully equipped to make complicated processes more simple. Matfer products for pastry are absolutely the best and I can show and tell my team all about them by exposing them to the various items. My personal toolbox is filled with Matfer materials from spatulas to pastry brushes, cutters, whisks and tips. The frames, the zester, the decorator comb are fantastic and guide your hands to a perfect smooth and even result.

Are there special events you particularly enjoy creating desserts for?
Well I want get everything just right and make a lasting impression and memory for the patron and their palate. I like designing wedding cakes and creating new seasonal desserts that are memorable. It is also an enjoyable change to make desserts that complement wines for our Wine Library Dinners.

Do you have a signature dessert?
I think I do! I seem to be very well known for my Caramel Cheesecake Crème Brûlée. I first made it when I was invited years ago to make a dessert at the James Beard House in New York. It was a hit and I’ve been making it ever since. It is on our dessert menu at Catalina Kitchen and available for special events. I love cooking with caramel. I make a caramel pot a crème for our dessert menu in our elegant Mar’sel restaurant and a caramel bar dessert for Nelsons, our casual eatery.

You refer to building pastry as a type of architecture. Renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright said, “The thing always happens that you really believe in and the belief in a thing makes it happen.” Do you agree? How does this quote relate to you?
I really like this quote. Believing in something and the ability to make it happen is vital to living well and to achieving success. Since I was a little boy, I always believed I could get to the USA to further my expertise as a pastry chef. I worked hard to make it happen and I got to the United States. I persisted and believed I would become better with each experience. And I did. Thankfully, I think that continues to happen. I do believe creating pastry and a special dessert like the cremeaux torte is similar to architecture. Each dessert I “build” starts from an initial inspiration from a moment or an ingredient that I find or notice at a market. It gets me asking myself, “What can I do with this information or item in front of me? How can I make it work as a dessert?” I picture it in my mind before I begin and then believe I can do it. That is my ongoing challenge as a pastry chef and that’s what keeps me creating. I believe I can make a new dessert from the bottom up, from crust, to ingredients, to flavors and finally to garnish. You never want to lose the belief of accomplishment. For me ,it is important that I keep the juices of new ideas flowing and my curious mind seeking.


Your Chocolate Tangerine Cremeux with Blood Orange Glaze is stunning. What is the story and inspiration behind this holiday dessert?
I alter and edit the dessert menus to honor every season and the fresh ingredients that are especially available then. With the festivities of the holidays, I wanted to create something that was beautiful, unique and elegantly said Christmas. Blood oranges, chocolate and espresso are all elements that remind me of my childhood Christmas times in Italy. As an adult, Sambuca came into the equation too!! So I started fiddling and blending the ingredients and textured layers and created this torte. I like it. It feels special for the season. The opposites of the sweet chocolate with the sour yet sweet citrus of the tangerine cremeux and the blood orange glaze come together well. This Chocolate and Tangerine Cremeux will be featured on our holiday dessert menu in Mar’sel. 

Personally, what do you like to cook and eat at home?
Protein and pasta! Being Italian, I love stuffed eggplant and lasagna.

TOOLS FOR THE TASTE

As an established executive chef, you know the creation of an eye-catching divine dessert requires the use of the finest seasonal ingredients alongside top-notch utensils. Chef Jermonti uses Matfer's Stackable Frames & Pastry Bags and Pastry Tips, Mixing BowlFLEXIPAT® SheetOffsetThermometer Spatulas and Rolling Pin a for this tantalizing Chocolate & Tangerine Cremeux recipe

MORE ABOUT CHEF JERMONTI
For 13 years, he served as Executive Pastry Chef at the popular T. Cook’s restaurant at the Royal Palms Resort & Spa in Phoenix. At T. Cook’s, Jermonti became well-known for his signature caramel cake crème brûlée, which was named “Best of” by Phoenix Magazine. In January 2009, he was also named “Food Artist of the Month” by the publication. Other awards and recognitions include Best Baker in America from Travel & Leisure, Gold Medal Award for best desserts from the Scottsdale League for the Arts, first place for Best Ginger Bread from Chefs Estate in Prescott, AZ, Arizona’s Gold Plate Award, and Best Dessert audience winner on Phoenix Citysearch.com.

ABOUT TERRANEA RESORT
Terranea (terra-NAY-a) is a land unto itself. When you step onto their 102-acre private peninsula paradise, it's like stepping into a whole new world - minutes from the bustle of Los Angeles. On three sides, you're surrounded by the tranquil waves of the Pacific and across the channel is Catalina Island. The coastal setting of Terranea embraces its Mediterranean heritage and incorporates it into its architecture. From the resort lobby and outdoor gardens to private terraces and inviting courtyards with outdoor fireplaces, our carefully tended southern California family resort continues to evolve naturally over time.

CHOCOLATE AND TANGERINE CREMEUX

Chocolate and Tangerine Cremeux Featured Chef Spotlight Dessert with Chef Pierino Jermonti Terranea Resort Professional Pastry Tools

YOU'RE GOING TO WANT YOUR PASTRY BAGS & TIPS READY FOR THIS RECIPE! 

Zing and zest make a lasting impression as a meal’s phenomenal finishing touch when Pastry Chef Master Pierino Jermonti at Terranea Resort majestically marries blood orange, tangerine, pastry crème and chocolate into a triumphant torte. What a stunning dessert! Compliments of Chef Perry, we’re sharing this fantastic Chocolate & Tangerine Cremeux recipe.


CHOCOLATE AND TANGERINE CREMEUX 

SAMBUCA ORANGE ESPRESSO CRUST, VALHORNA DULCEY CHOCOLATE TORTE, TANGERINE CREMEUX , BLOOD ORANGE GELEE, TARRAGON DROPS 

Compliments of Terranea Resort - Executive Chef Pierino Jermonti

  • 1 # POWDER SUGAR
  • ORANGE ZEST
  • 2 # BUTTER
  • 4 EGGS
  • 2 TBL SAMBUCA
  • 2.5 # CAKE FLOUR
  • 8 OZ COCOA POWDER
  • ½ C ESPRESSO POWDER

Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment. Cream powder sugar, zest, and butter.  Add eggs one at a time.  Add Sambuca and dry ingredients.  Cool in fridge. Then roll out to 1/8 of an inch thickness and bake in a pre-heated oven at 350F.  

MILK CHOCOLATE CAKE

  • 2.125 # VALHORNA DULCEY
  • 2.125 # MILK CHOCOLATE 
  • 1 # BUTTER
  • 24 EGGS

Over a double boiler. Melt chocolate with butter. In a different bowl, over double boiler, heat eggs till warm using a wire whisk, constantly whisking till 110 F. Transfer the egg mixture to a mixer with whisk attachment. Whisk eggs to full volume. Fold in chocolate. Pour the chocolate mixture in to baking sheet.  Bake 25 mins at 250 degree F. chill the cake. Then place the cake layer over the top of the Sambuca flavored short crust. Keep it chilled in the freezer.

TANGERINE CREMEUX

  • 500 G SUGAR
  • ORANGE ZEST
  • 2300 G TANGERINE JUICE
  • 1320 G HEAVY CREAM
  • 1 QT YOLKS
  • 27.5 GELATIN SHEETS
  • 110 G COINTREAU

In a small bowl filled with ice, bloom gelatin.  In a sauce pot over the stove, bring sugar, juice, and heavy cream to boil.  Temper eggs and cook to 185 degree F. Take off heat and place into mixer with whisk attachment. Add gelatin and Cointreau.  Mix till cool. Pour over the chilled chocolate layer with extenders.

BLOOD ORANGE GLAZE

  • 2 QTS BLOOD ORANGE JUICE
  • 2 # SUGAR
  • 3 OZ CORNSTARCH
  • 2 OZ GELATIN

Bloom gelatin in an ice bath.  In a sauce pot, bring blood orange and sugar to a boil.  Make slurry with cornstarch and add to blood orange.  Cook till thick.  Strain and add gelatin. Let it cool, to room temperature, then pour over the layered dessert. Let it chill in the freezer, till firm.

BLOOD ORANGE SAUCE

  • 850 G BLOOD ORANGE PUREE
  • 40 G AGAR
  • 180 G SUGAR

Combine Blood Orange puree, agar-agar, and sugar. In a small sauce pot over the stove, bring to a boil and cook till thicken. Cool in ice bath. Blend in blender till smooth.

TARRAGON DROPS

  • 1 C SUGAR
  •  1 ½ C WATER
  • 20 G TARRAGON
  • 8 G AGAR-AGAR

In a sauce pot over the stove. Bring sugar, water and tarragon to a boil.  Blend and strain back to pot.  Add agar-agar and cook till thicken.  Cool in ice bath.  Blend in blender till smooth.

PLATTING
Pull the layered dessert out of the freezer, unmold the frame. Cut the dessert portion 4 to 1-1/2 inches, then cut again lengthwise across the middle. Brush the plate with the blood orange sauce. Place the 2 pieces of desserts to offset each other’s. Garnish with abstract chocolate and edible flowers. Pipe 2 sets of 5 drops each of Tarragon drops.  

TOOLS FOR THE TASTE!

Matfer Pastry Bags

For a pastry chef master, citrus, chocolate and sugar blend beautifully to create your own festive creamy dessert when using Matfer's Stackable Frames & Pastry Bags and Pastry Tips, Mixing BowlFLEXIPAT® SheetOffset & Thermometer Spatulas.

THANK YOU! 

Many thanks to Chef Pierino Jermonti and his team at Terrenea Resort! More on Chef Pierino Jermonti in the Matfer featured chef spotlight

TASTES & TRADITIONS: ODE TO THE ORANGE

By Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes & Traditions Expert

Matfer Taste and Traditions - Ode to the Orange

The holidays are here and nature’s nod to this season of appreciation and celebration is the Citrus Queen herself-- the majestic orange. Its lifeline and legacy are as long as it is delicious. Cultivated as far back as 2500 BC, this juicy eatable ball with hearty bright skin originally hails from China and India where it was initially regarded as a sour delicacy. Visiting Romans in the 1st-century AD, were enticed by its exotic taste and brought orange trees from India to Europe to grow. Those disappeared, however, along with the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire.

Centuries later the North Africans introduced oranges and tangerines (from Tangiers, hence the name) to Spain. In 1493, aware that sunshine was an important component to its sweet tasting growth, Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus sailed with seedlings across the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to Haiti to plant orange groves. Countries with parallel weather patterns like Panama, Mexico and Brazil soon followed and an orange medley industry was born. Californian William Wolfskill was the first American to harvest the fruit in 1841 where they became scrumptious snacks for miners of California’s gold rush. When the trans-continental railroad began in 1877, Wolfskill’s business acumen kicked into gear and he arranged transportation of oranges to St Louis. The crop also thrived in Florida where it went on to become and still remains the state’s primary commodity.

Considered the largest and most popular in the citrus family, this happy go lucky fruit has extended seeds of orange-type citrus cousins that vary in size and sweetness. These include the navel, valencia, tangerine, mandarin, clementine, blood orange and pixie. The fruit and color share the same name for very good reasons. Folklore attributes its successful growth to the yellow sun combined with the earth’s red soil and behold when those two colors are mixed, orange appears. In many cultures, whether fruit or hue, both symbolize joy, happiness, endurance, wealth and prosperity. Bursting with flavor, they are delectable on their own, as a juice, a sauce or a recipe ingredient, zest and peel included! They are also loaded with Vitamins C and B6, rich in fiber, potassium, magnesium and calcium.

Oranges are harvested in winter and this is how their tie to the yuletide began. With December being the time for giving, oranges became a desired edible gift and their segmented slices still represent the ability to share with others. The ancient European legend of St Nicholas who became St. Nick or Santa Claus claims that the former bishop threw gold coins down the chimney of a poor father’s home where his daughters’ stockings were drying on the hearth. Miraculously, the coins landed in each toe. Those coins secured their dowries to marry and from then on “stockings” or socks by the fire filled with gifts-including a citrus jewel-from Santa became a celebrated tradition. Throughout 19th-century Europe, the mandarin, clementine, tangerine or orange were treasured treats at banquets. England’s Queen Victoria, a lover of clementine’s, believed cheery citrus at Christmas encouraged joy and prosperity. And during America’s 1930’s Depression, these golden delicacies were a welcome Christmas surprise.

The most unique and colorful member of this sun-kissed lineage is the blood orange that originated in Sicily and is a profound component in Italian holiday dishes and festivities. Its orange peel exterior is a brilliant contrast to its bright “bloody red interior” that is a result of the natural anthocyanin pigment. Pierino Jermonti, this month’s Master Pastry Chef Spotlight, was born in the Italian city of Calabria and has many fond tasty memories of blood oranges. He says, “When I think of Christmas, I think of the blood oranges of my childhood. To me, they are the quintessential element for the season and perfect on their own or in a dessert! And I’m thrilled that I can now also find them in California and offer them to the restaurant guests at Terranea.”

Zing and zest make a lasting impression as a meal’s phenomenal finishing touch when Pastry Chef Master Pierino Jermonti majestically marries blood orange, tangerine, pastry crème and chocolate into a triumphant torte. Take a look at his dessert stunner! Compliments of Chef Perry and Terrenea Resort, we’re sharing this fantastic Chocolate & Tangerine Cremeux recipe!  

For a pastry chef master, citrus, chocolate and sugar blend beautifully to create your own festive creamy dessert when using Matfer's Pastry Bags and Pastry TipsMixing BowlFLEXIPAT® Sheet, and Rolling Pin.

More on Chef Pierino Jermonti in the Matfer featured chef spotlight

CHEF SPOTLIGHT: BRENDAN COLLINS

By Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes & Traditions Expert

Matfer Chef Spotlight with Chef Brendan Collins

Born and raised in Nottingham, England, Chef Brendan Collins knew early on that he wanted to be a chef. His first job at the age of 17 was at Michelin two-starred La Gavroche in London. He continued to hone his skills at some of London’s finest gastronomic temples, including The Café Royal, The Heights, and Pied à Terre. He sharpened his expertise at the Oxo Tower and then became a sous chef under Marco Pierre White at Quo Vadis. During his tenure, he was part of the team to garner a Michelin star and was quickly recognized as rising star in London’s culinary scene.

In 2002, Collins crossed the pond to work with revered chef Josiah Citrin at Melisse in Santa Monica as chef de cuisine. During his four years there, Melisse consistently earned a Mobil Four Star rating and became one of California’s first Michelin two-star rated restaurants. He then struck out on his own opening Mesa in Orange County to much acclaim followed by Anisette in Santa Monica with chef Alain Giraud. Later he became executive chef of The Hall at Palihouse in West Hollywood. Most recently, Collins was the executive chef and co-proprietor of the former Waterloo & City. The elevated English gastropub opened in 2010 and became an instant success. He has become known for his refined and modern approach to food, as well his passion for whole animal butchery and seasonal cooking. All of this has led him to Birch, which features fantastic seasonal dishes tempered with a straightforward sensibility and relaxed atmosphere.

INTERVIEW:

As an established Master Chef what inspires you?
All sorts of things. I’m British so initially when I began my professional culinary career I looked to the world’s globe for ingredient inspiration. But as I moved along and then came to California, I became further inspired by the amazing seasonal elements here. Now I am also inspired by nostalgia and really enjoy taking British based dishes and creating a modern flavorful twist to them. I’m very product driven and work closely with my purveyors. Once I know what I can get or have then I get inspired to make something from that. I obviously always strive for excellence. My goal all of the time is to please my customer so they want to keep coming back for more.

It is a balancing act to be the Master Chef and the Restaurateur of an establishment. How do you manage that fine line with such success?
It is a fine line and it takes a lot of commitment and hard work. It's like putting together a giant puzzle. To be successful at both requires consistency and a commitment to that consistency. It starts from that base which then leads to creating a solid and creative culinary team you can train and trust. This is not a business for the faint hearted, but if you like it like I do you remain dedicated and steadfast. That belief and determination has taken me a long way through rough times and great times. You conceive, you plan, and you go for it. The menu and its ingredients, the pricing, the restaurant design, the bar all matter. If all is done well, the camaraderie and the results are very rewarding.

You trained and worked in some of London’s greatest establishments and then came to California to restaurants where you helped them earn further accolades. How have those experiences shaped you into the Chef you are today?
I am who I am today as a professional and as a chef, because of the people I was fortunate enough to work for in their restaurants. They all made impressions on me and passed along knowledge which I absorbed and processed into my own way of working. London was an amazing base, but California expanded my view and my options. Working with someone like Josiah at Melisse made its mark. California is now my home, and I knew I wanted to eventually own my own place. With that goal in mind, I worked long hours until I knew I was ready to open and run a successful business. I loved doing the gastropub Waterloo & City, as that felt really natural coming from a family who owned an English pub. And now I’m really excited that Birch has opened and we can present refined dishes with a modern touch.

Birch is beautiful, a modern sleek tone yet a welcoming atmosphere and an innovative menu. How did you come up with the name?
The name reminds me of the woodlands of Birch trees near my childhood home in Nottingham in England. Birch trees are real, rustic, yet beautiful. I do my best to emulate that in my cooking.

Many restaurants you worked at as you were honing your skills and earning an impressive reputation earned stars and extra accolades while you were there. What did it take to help earn those stars and various accolades?
Precision and innovation. Long, long hours, dedication and a lot of hard work.


Your roasted pork sauced with pomegranates and served with autumn squash-stuffed tortellini are beautiful. What is the story and inspiration behind them?
I love roasts. Being British, a roast feels very second nature to me. In fact instead of Sunday Brunch, I do Sunday Roasts Lunch at the restaurant! I really enjoy preparing meat, particularly pork. It is so versatile, and I can make all sorts of items with it from a roast to charcuterie and pâtés. I like to brine my roasts for added flavor and moisture, so the texture can also be appreciated. I’m nostalgic about, and affectionate for, pomegranates. When I was a kid, my Mum often gave them to us as an afternoon snack, and I remember picking each red seed out with a tooth pick and loving them. They are such an excellent addition to the flavor profile of a dish, especially something neutral like pork. It welcomes the richness of the pomegranate seeds and juice that make the sauce. Together they are very complementary. The squash stuffed homemade tortellini feel like a nice addition. Both are very autumnal to me, so they are timely for this season. And cooking them both using Matfer’s copper sauté and sauce pans made them that much better. That’s what I mean about consistency: excellent ingredients and excellent equipment creates excellent dishes.

How would you describe your style of cooking?
Old school, new school, and everything in-between. I cook using a traditional approach with a modern, current day interpretation. It’s always a dilemma of, "Have I gone far enough with these flavors? Or too far?" I play with taste and texture all of the time.

Former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli said, "The secret of success is consistency of purpose." Do you agree?
This quote makes an impression on me, because I believe consistency across the board in my culinary world drives success on every level. Consistency creates confidence and return. In truth, it is a simple formula that in real life can be tricky. Consistently use the best ingredients you can find to develop an innovative appealing menu. Consistently work with a creative committed team you can rely on to execute those dishes well, so that patrons will be pleased and will come back. Consistently stay seasonal, yet ahead of the game to keep the work interesting and the restaurant successful!

Personally, what are your favorite ingredients?
For me it is all about flavor. Since I don’t cook them, I love Mexican or Japanese cuisines. If I’m cooking something really simple at home with my wife and daughter, I make scrambled eggs on toast.

Matfer supported the charity Autism Speaks and so did you. Matfer sponsored the October culinary event by providing utensils for the participating chefs. What is your connection to Autism Speaks?
It was a fantastic night for an important cause. The chefs’ camaraderie in the room was amazing. It is a charity dear to my heart as autism affects people close to me, so I was really happy to cook that evening to help. I hope to make a difference. The Matfer products I used for my dishes were great too.

Tools for the Taste
As an executive chef, pork perfection is a promise when preparing your own savory roast using Matfer's Copper Sauté and Sauce Pans, Exoglass® Spatula & Spoon, the Ergonomic Truffle Cutter and the Giesser Messer Knife.

TASTES & TRADITIONS: POMEGRANATE - THE EDIBLE GEM

By Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes & Traditions Expert

Matfer Taste and Tradition - Pomegranate The Edible Gem


The pomegranate is full of panache and prestige. This ancient fruit has certainly withstood the test of time and taste with style and grace. Long before becoming the “it” ingredient of modern times, and being hailed for its nutritious benefits and dynamic flavor, its crown-like top and rustic red exterior placed it center stage as a ceremonial or tabletop decorative item. And it remains so today. Yet, looks can be as deceiving as they are intriguing. Just beneath its hearty skin lies a stunning interior of alluring ruby edible gems, on which folklore and legends have bestowed a sense of deep-seeded responsibility.

Egyptian, Greek, and Roman myths all significantly showcase its beauty while its presence remains an important component in Buddhist, Hindu, and Jewish rituals. Pomegranate power is profound and seems to have made its mark early and almost everywhere in the world. Derived from the medieval French word “Pomme Garnete” meaning “seeded apple”, rumors even abound that it was actually this lustful cousin of the apple that Eve presented to Adam in the Garden of Eden. Factually speaking, the pomegranate is evident in scriptures; this is seen in frescoes and stone carvings from biblical times onward.

Native to Iran, Israel, and India, and now a California commodity too, these tiny arils are eternally and internationally revered as symbols of fertility, hope, and renewal. They are also an appreciated element in savory and sweet dishes as well as drinks. Harvested from September to January, they can be enjoyed in versatile ways and often play a prominent part in holiday specialties. On their own, in a salad, smoothie, or cocktail, or as a sauce atop a main course or dessert, the seeds are exceptional. They are as delicious as they are pretty. In a healthy twist of food fate, they are also loaded with potassium, fiber, folic acid, and Vitamins A, C and E. Rest assured on every front, the pomegranate – is alive and well.

GETTING WARMED UP FOR THE HOLIDAYS WITH MASTER CHEF BRENDAN COLLINS

Matfer Chef Spotlight with Chef Brendan Collins

Pomegranate power does add pizazz when this creative Master Chef beautifully blends colorful flair and fantastic flavor with a pristine pork roast, alongside autumn squash tortellini with pecans. Take note of his rustic yet refined impressive results. > More! In this month's featured Chef Spotlight with Brendan Collins

Tools for the Taste
As an executive chef, pork perfection is a promise when preparing your own savory roast using Matfer's Copper Sauté and Sauce Pans, Exoglass® Spatula & Spoon, the Ergonomic Truffle Cutter and the Giesser Messer Knife.

Autism Speaks to Los Angeles Celebrity Chef Gala, October 8, 2015

By Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes & Traditions Expert

Matfer Sponsors Autism Speaks to LA Celebrity Chef Gala

Blue is bold and “Light it up blue” is the motto for the amazing charity Autism Speaks. Founders Bob and Suzanne Wright have worked tirelessly for over a decade to shine a blue light to spread awareness and understanding of autism through research, education and acceptance.

Matfer was a proud sponsor of the Autism Speaks to Los Angeles Chef’s Gala on October 8, 2015 where blue lights shined and blue ribbon delectable dinners were created by award winning culinary masters. They all were there to cook because each one of them, like Matfer, believes in giving back to make a difference. And what a difference they all made at this memorable fundraising occasion, the event raised over 1.25 million dollars for Autism Awareness! 

Matfer Sponsors Autism Speaks to LA Celebrity Chef Gala

There were 56 tables and each hosted by a celebrity chef who prepared a custom designed four-course meal tableside for 10 to 12 guests. Every chef was presented with a bright blue Matfer gift bag that contained Matfer professional chef tools to prepare their various delicacies. Inspired by the blue event theme, a blue spatula and spoon were also included in each bag.

Chef Susan Feniger - Matfer Sponsors Autism Speaks to LA Celebrity Chef Gala

Chef Rick Moonen - Matfer Sponsors Autism Speaks to LA Celebrity Chef Gala

Chef Jet Tila - Matfer Sponsors Autism Speaks to LA Celebrity Chef Gala

Chef Govind Armstrong - Matfer Sponsors Autism Speaks to LA Celebrity Chef Gala

The chefs’ camaraderie and sense of fun was alive and very merrily apparent at the Matfer sponsored photo booth. It was a magical evening with Conan O’Briann as a humorous host, and a live musical performance by P!NK.

Host Conan O'Brian At Autism Speaks to LA Celebrity Chef Gala - Matfer Sponsors Autism Speaks to LA Celebrity Chef Gala

Singer P!NK at Autism Speaks to LA Celebrity Chef Gala - Matfer Sponsors Autism Speaks to LA Celebrity Chef Gala

We were thrilled to meet Chase Bailey from Chase 'N Yur Face, an inspirational young man who has his own cooking show on YouTube is creating his own culinary journey with a great deal of passion for food and humor! 

Matfer Sponsors Autism Speaks to LA Celebrity Chef Gala - Chase Bailey from Chase 'N Yur Face

Matfer has been very pleased to feature some of this year’s participants in recent Chef’s Spotlights on their Passion for Taste Blog. These include Brendan Collins of Birch, Susan Feniger of Border Grill and Mud Hen Tavern, Vanessa Mendoza Johnson Pastry Chef of Plow at the Ritz Marina Del Rye, Joachim Splichal of Patina and the Patina Group and Jet Tila of Stir Market.

We would like to thank Autism Speaks for the opportunity to sponsor the Autism Speaks to LA Celebrity Chef Gala. And thank you to all of the participating chefs, it was an honor to support you at this incredible event! 

Photo credit: Susie Fiebich Photography

WAREHOUSE SALE!

CHEF SPOTLIGHT - JOACHIM SPLICHAL

By Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes & Traditions Expert

Joachim Splichal Matfer Chef SpotlightJoachim Splichal Matfer Chef Spotlight

Master Chef and culinary icon Joachim Splichal is widely recognized as a major contributing force in the culinary world and an innovative maverick in the California dining scene. The recipient of numerous awards and accolades, among his highlights are his induction into the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America and them naming him Best California Chef. He is the Chef and Founder of Patina, the Michelin Starred Relais & Chateau Property in downtown Los Angeles. Splichal then created the Patina Restaurant Group in 1999. It now boasts approximately 60 restaurants and food service operations throughout the United States offering impeccable cuisine and service. The City of Los Angeles hails him as an official “Treasure of Los Angeles”.

INTERVIEW:

As one of the country’s foremost culinary masters, what inspires you?
Authenticity. From the beginning of my career to now, what inspires me is the ability to maintain the highest quality of dishes and service in all of my endeavors. The finest food punctuated with impeccable service is my goal each and every time. This has always been my philosophy. Creativity and consistency together are vital to deliver a memorable experience to the dining patron from start to finish.

Joachim Splichal Matfer Chef Spotlight

How did your cooking background prepare you for your restaurant journey and success in the United States?
I come from Spaichingen, a small village in Germany, and my parents owned a hotel there. I learned from the bottom to the top. I liked the business and initially trained in the hospitality industry in Switzerland. In France, I had exceptional experiences by working at two star Michelin La Bonne Auberge in Antibes and then with leading chef Jacques Maximin at Chantecler at the Hotel Negresco in Nice. I went on to three-star Michelin L’Oasis in La Napoule. When I was invited to cook at the Regency Club in Los Angeles, I was ready for a change so I came to the US and my cooking career here began.

It was in the early 80’s before the farmer's markets craze really took hold. But my classic French training and love of market produce there transferred easily to California where fresh items were abundant allowing me to push forward with a lighter approach to dishes. This was already happening in France but it hadn’t quite reached here yet. Timing was everything. I think being young and bold and daring gave me the courage to be playful and more innovative with cuisine than Americans had been used to from European chefs. I learned a lot and rode the restaurant rollercoaster of success and mishaps when I moved on to Seventh Street Bistro and Max Au Triangle. By the time I opened Patina in 1989, I had the passion and business acumen to give it my best efforts on every level in and out of the kitchen.  When I partnered with Nick in 1999 to form the Patina Group, I was clear by then that fine cuisine, service and genuine hospitality was what I wanted to continue to do with any other restaurants I developed.

BOURGEAT COPPER SAUCE PAN

Matfer Paring KnifeMatfer Fish Knife

Bourgeat Copper Sauce Pan

As one of the most extremely successful chefs and restaurant owners in the country, what continues to drive you in today’s culinary world?
Being a chef and a restaurant owner is the life I have chosen and truly enjoy. A committed work ethic is everything blended with the reality that running a restaurant is a business. Culinary excellence is an art form but having a restaurant is not only about presenting fresh beautiful food. It is about balance and how to do that well along with acknowledging that profit and loss are a real part of the equation. For me, the future is in our next generation and that is why mentoring is such a vital part of my career. I am very proud of that accomplishment with the chefs that have trained with me over the years in the Patina Group. Whether they’ve stayed or moved on to other places, they’ve taken knowledge and ability with them as they find their way in the culinary world. I will always develop creative concepts that can work. New menus and restaurants need to please the patron so they return. But it must make sense upfront and behind the scenes too. This philosophy keeps me interested. For example, I’m excited that we have just renovated and reopened Nick & Stef’s, our excellent steakhouse restaurant in downtown Los Angeles.

 Fish Knife

The Patina Group has also become recognized as bringing delectable dining experiences around cultural venues. How did that come to be?
I like the synergy of landmark dining within a cultural venue. Fine art or music compliment fine dining. And fine dining doesn’t mean heavy or stuffy. It means fresh, creative dishes that complement the setting. I’m obviously very proud about Patina becoming a Relais & Chateaux property and our Michelin star but I am extra pleased that it does so well at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. That move was a real leap of faith! And now we have Ray’s & Stark Bar at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Leatherby’s Café Rouge at the Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, and Tangata at the Bower’s Museum in Santa Ana, In New York, we have many cafes at places like Rockefeller Center yet Lincoln Ristorante at Lincoln Center and Grand Tier Restaurant in the stunning Metropolitan Opera House are special destinations too.

Bourgeat Copper Sauce Pan

Your gorgeous Tuna “Cake” is a part of your special events menu. How did it come to be?
To me this tuna cake is the ultimate culmination of my French training and my fortunate long career in California. It resembles the classic look of a layered French Napoleon dessert yet it is surprisingly a savory appetizer using superb Californian ingredients like the Grade A Tuna, fresh avocado, red onion and chives. I love the use of the yuzu sauce as an Asian touch. It is one of my favorite signature dishes to make.

Joachim SplichalJoachim Splichal

In your opinion, what is it about the Matfer products that make a difference in preparation and results of your various dishes?
High quality and precision. Matfer is a French company. I trained in Europe with a lot of that training time in France. In Southern France, when I worked alongside my mentor Jacques Maximin at Chantecler he only used Matfer. It is what I have always used in all of my kitchens. They have everything. The high quality of their products has never wavered. I know what I’m getting and the chefs I now mentor and train know what they are getting. I like the precision of their knives and their copper items.

The global businessman Bob Goshen says, "Leaders should influence others in such a way that it builds people up, encourages and educates them so they can duplicate this attitude in others." Do you agree?
Yes. Leading by example is what I believe to be the highest form of training and advice-giving. Showing someone how to prepare a dish is far more effective than just handing him or her a recipe card. From the interaction of cooking together, a relationship forms, trust is established and it encourages the “trainee” to take ownership of the newly learned talent.

Pairing Knife  Joachim Splichael with Giesser Messer Fish Knife

Joachim Splichal with Geisser Messer Fish Knife

Personally, what do you like to cook at home?
Anything with fleur de sel gris. It is the perfect salt, simple yet profound. And I like going to the farmers market to see what’s fresh and then making those side dishes with steak or roasted chicken when I eat with my sons.

Joachim Splichal with Matfer Exoglass Spatula

Joachim Splical Matfer Chef Spotlight

Geisser Messer Pairing Knife Joachim Splichal Matfer Chef Spotlight

Joachim Splichal Matfer Chef Spotlight Tuna Tempation

Matfer supports the charity Autism Speaks and so do you. Matfer is sponsoring this October culinary event by providing utensils for the participating chefs. You will each be cooking at a table on that evening. What is your connection to Autism Speaks?
We can all help each other by giving our time and abilities to make a difference. Children are our future. Deep in our hearts, every parent, including me, wants their children to be happy and healthy. Some are healthier than others. For those who need extra help to have a better life, it is clear that research and support infuse that positive development. I am impressed with what Autism Speaks does as a charity and I am pleased to be involved. To cook to support this purpose is very fulfilling to me.

More about Joachim Splichal

Splichal’s restaurants have likewise been lauded by some of the country’s most discriminating restaurant and food critics. The Michelin‐starred Patina relocated from Hollywood to Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2003, emphasizing Splichal’s commitment to performing arts and cultural centers, and received a rare four‐star review from the Los Angeles Times in 2010. Other recent highlights from among the restaurant group’s
holdings include Ray’s & Stark Bar at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Lincoln Ristorante at New York’s Lincoln Center being named two of the country’s Best New Restaurants in 2011 by John Mariani in Esquire; Leatherby’s Café Rouge at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, CA, receiving a three-star review from the Los Angeles Times; PRG’s prestigious catering division executing the Creative Arts and Primetime Emmy® Awards—the largest seated catered meal in North America—for 16 years. In addition, PRG’s catering division being chosen from over 10 high‐profile competitors to cook for newlyweds Prince William and Kate Middleton at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles during the royal couple’s tour of California.


TOOLS FOR THE TASTE

As a master chef, you are guaranteed an outstanding outcome for your own fish-friendly appetizer when you use Matfer’s Exoglass® SpatulaBourgeat Copper Sauce PanParing and Fish KnivesHemispherical Bowls and Chef Tweezers.

TASTES & TRADITIONS: TUNA TEMPTATION

By Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes & Traditions Expert

Matfer Taste and Traditions Tuna Temptation

Let’s talk tuna! Sliced or diced, raw or cooked, fresh or canned, this mighty fish of the sea makes an impression in a myriad of ways. As cousin to the majestic mackerel, there are numerous varieties of the species. Whether alluring albacore or ahi, also known as yellowfin, beautiful bigeye, bluefin or bonito or speedy skipjack, by any given name, it is all tuna. The actual word derives from the Latin word “thunnus”, which is the formal name of the group yet it was the Spanish American derivation of “tunny” that when shortened became tuna. The ancient Greek description “as a fish that rapidly darts along” is ideal. Sleek and fast-they can cruise up to 55 miles per hour and big or small- they can range from 10lbs to 1000 lbs.

These salt watered finned swimmers are a delicious force to be reckoned with and have a stronger more robust taste than whitefish. Tuna is also a healthy mecca for good protein, omega 3, Vitamins A and B12. An important part of the fishing industry, they are at home in the Mediterranean as well as the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans,

As early as the 1800’s, the American canning industry discovered that sardines and then tuna were solid staples that preserved well with water or oil and sealed in cans. San Diego and San Francisco became centers for the industry especially since the California coastline was abundant with the two types that canned best--albacore and skipjack. They were a prominent part of soldiers’ diets during World Wars I & II and by the 1950’s, canned “tunafish” had found its established place at the American table and in cupboards. Tuna fish salad (mixed with mayonnaise and relish with or without lettuce), sandwiches or melts and casseroles became regular items on diner menus or at home meals.


The appreciation of finer tuna evolved as more Japanese migrated to the United States. Although centuries old, the raw fish sushi phenomenon gained global momentum during the 1970’s when sushi bars began opening in the United States. Ahi or Bluefin are noted high-grade sashimi or sushi served on its own or on rice. Restaurants of all types now offer thinly sliced pieces or diced tartare as an appetizer. Grilled or pan-seared tuna steak and filets are also now respected choices at fine dining establishments where chefs showcase this delicious aquaculture star.

TUNA TAKES THE CAKE!

Matfef Chef Spotlight Joachim Splichal

Tuna takes the cake with this magnificent Master Chef’s savory multi-layered masterpiece! Similar to a Napoleon, his captivating creation is as appealing to the eye as it is to the palate. Read more in our spotlight with Chef Joachim Splichal.


TOOLS FOR THE TASTE

As a master chef, you are guaranteed an outstanding outcome for your own fish-friendly appetizer when you use Matfer’s Exoglass® Spatula, Bourgeat Copper Sauce Pan, Paring and Fish Knives, Hemispherical Bowls and Chef Tweezers.