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AUTISM SPEAKS TO LA

    

Matfer Bourgeat is a proud sponsor of the upcoming Autism Speaks to LA Celebrity Chef Gala on Thursday, October 8th, 2015.

In celebration of its 10th anniversary, Autism Speaks, the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization, brings to Los Angeles a unique dinner party. The Autism Speaks to Los Angeles Celebrity Chef Gala will showcase award-winning chefs at its first local fundraising gala, having created an exciting legacy on New York's Wall Street for the past eight years.  One hundred top chefs, cooking tableside, will create their signature four-course meals exclusively for their guests at this unique inaugural event on October 8th at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica.  No two tables will feature the same menus.

The evening will kick off with Wolfgang Puck Catering serving hors d’oeuvres inspired by his iconic restaurants such as Spago, CUT, Chinois and WP24. Following hors d'oeuvres and cocktails, guests will be escorted to their private tables where they will witness their master chefs such as our recently featured Susan Feniger and Jet Tila, and Vanessa Johnson Mendoza create four exclusive courses of signature dishes tableside.  Guests will also enjoy a special musical performance to be announced shortly.

To Purchase Tickets or for More Information About the Event – Click here.


About Autism
Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders – autism spectrum disorders – caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by communication difficulties, social and behavioral challenges, and repetitive behaviors. An estimated 1 in 68 children in the U.S. and 1 in 48 boys are on the autism spectrum.

About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Mr. Wright is the former vice chairman of General Electric and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has committed $560 million to its mission, the majority in science and medical research. Each year, Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in nearly 100 cities across North America. On the global front, Autism Speaks has established partnerships in more than 70 countries on five continents to foster international research, services and awareness. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit AutismSpeaks.org.  

CHEF SPOTLIGHT: JET TILA

By Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes & Traditions Expert

Jet Tila Matfer Chef Spotlight

The Matfer Team had an exhilarating time with Executive/Celebrity Chef Jet Tila in Los Angeles watching him work his wok magic! He created his famous and fabulous Drunken Noodles and even shared his recipe (see below!) as well as luscious lobster dish using ideally matched Matfer tools. 

You have such energy and passion. As an established Executive Chef what inspires you?

I’m always inspired by my family’s culinary traditions and history. I’m aware that everything I cook has been done before by my great grandmother, my grandmother and my mother. That knowledge is always with me.

I initially learned by watching my Cantonese grandmother cook recipes passed down to her. My parents arrived in California and opened Bangkok Market one of the first Thai markets in the country and then the Royal Thai restaurant in Los Angeles. I grew up in that environment. I worked in the store and in the restaurant from the bottom to the top. Asian ingredients were always around me from noodles to lemongrass to chilies to special spices. I remain curious about how it was done before and how it can be done today.

I respect the connection between then and now, the Old and the New Worlds. I enjoy teaching people about where I come from through my food. It is actually how my joy of sharing Asian flavors and techniques through teaching began. I started showing customers how to make Pad Thai and other noodle dishes in the back lot of my parents’ store as the interest in Thai cooking was on the rise. I now do culinary tours through Thai town to showcase its tastes and traditions. I’m still learning all of the time and sharing those lessons. I am a chef, a student and a teacher with every dish I create or recreate. I’m inspired every time I cook.

Jet Tila Matfer Chef Spotlight Giesser Messer Knife

Jet Tila Matfer Chef Spotlight Geisser Messer Knife

Your heritage is a combination of Chinese and Thai which reflects in your cooking but you also went on to learn classical French and Japanese techniques. Why?    

Initially growing up in the business I ironically didn’t foresee becoming a chef. I wanted to try something different but I came to realize that making food and creating dishes is in my DNA. I’m intrigued by ingredients and challenged by the multi-layer process of flavors and techniques. I decided if I was really going to pursue this path than I needed to know, respect and understand other types of cuisines and their methods.

Jet Tila Drunken Noodles

Matfer Hemispherical Bowl

You opened Wazuzu at the Encore Wynn resort in Las Vegas. You also introduced Asian cuisine to the masses at Google, Intel and EBay in Silicon Valley in their office cafes. Now you are a force and vision behind Compass, the largest food service company where you share Asian techniques so they can be produced for the greater public. You also have a web channel to highlight certain dishes and are a regular judge on Chopped. What’s different from what you did then to what you do now?

When I started, it was go, go go! Growing up as an immigrant in the Los Angeles Thai community, it was and still is all about achievement and always doing your best. The wave of Asian immigrants who arrived to chase their American dreams were growing up and becoming successful in their own right. When they traveled to places like Vegas they wanted to eat what they knew and liked. I was their contemporary and knew how to deliver those dishes and flavors. The Asian techno geek crowd employed at the big internet companies wanted to eat what was natural to them too.

My learning curve was how to take Grandma’s recipes and reproduce them in an authentic way for larger audiences. It was a challenge and a blast. It was the meeting of traditional techniques with modern methods. Along the way, flavorful Asian cuisine has been introduced to others who have come to appreciate it. I have been so fortunate on my career track. I’ve really been allowed to do it all. I love teaching and sharing so the media part allows me to do that and at Compass I can continue to create with a big outreach.

In your accomplished career you have earned impressive accolades as well as holding some interesting world cooking records! Do you have a favorite?

I am honored and humbled by each one. Being appointed the Culinary Ambassador of Thai cuisine by the Royal Thai Consulate General is amazing.

The Iron Chef competition really tested my abilities on a whole other level and brought me recognition that steered my career in this direction. The cooking records were fun to do. I welcome challenge. I never thought my studies at the Sushi Academy would lead me to holding the record for the longest California roll (440 feet). And I smile at what my Grandma would say about my cooking the largest stir-fry (4010 pounds) or heaviest seafood stew (6500 pounds).

Drunken noodles are your signature dish. And this succulent lobster as another entrée with it is divine. What makes these recipes uniquely Jet?

It is taking what you know and just making it as delicious as it can be using the freshest of ingredients. The fantastic flavors of the Thai and Cantonese kitchens are second nature to me. The cooking mantra is to blend sweet, spicy, sour and sweet in every dish with every bite. I do that.

Noodles are a prominent component on the Asian menu and in Thailand it is all about rice noodles. When I created my Drunken Noodles—which is a type of Pad Thai-- I mixed the variety of saltier sauces (soy and oyster) with the spicy (sriracha sauce & chilies) the sweet (basil & sugar) and sour (Rice wine) to create the coating. The bite of the garlic and acidity of the fresh tomatoes tops it all off.  Being on Iron Chef and the Food Network highlighted the dish.

How would you describe your style of cooking?

I cook with abundance and abandonment.  The heat of the kitchen on every level provokes that and I believe translates that intensity into the heat of the dish.  I love the feeling-it is very Zen to me. High heat cooking like stir-fry in a wok means you have to cook fast and almost ferociously.  This is why I respect and rely on Matfer products in my kitchens. They’re beyond durable and their quality is of the highest caliber. The different sized bowls are deep and can be banged around without getting a dent. The Matfer wok guarantees a perfect stir-fry. Its shape has a good slope that holds the ingredients and balances the heat out beautifully. It is light enough in weight for me to be able to lift it on and off the stove when I’m tossing the noodles to coat them well. The length of the tongs let me get in there to move it all around and serve it straight to the dish. 

Established American author Alex Haley said, "In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future." Do you agree?

This quote really resonates with me. Family is everything. I say I have birth luck as it is my family that really set me on this phenomenal path. A lot of chefs spend much of their lives thinking that cooking as a career is the most important, challenging & fulfilling venture in a lifetime. Striving for success, recognition & honing one’s craft is everything. And much of that is true. Then you marry, have children and realize there’s nothing more challenging yet more fulfilling or tougher in the universe than being there for your family.  My devotion and passion for food is a very fulfilling career that now affords me my time with my family.

Jet Tila Druken Noodles Matfer Chef Spotlight

Personally, what are your favorite ingredients?

For me it is all about flavor and heat.  I love sweet basil and chilies. At home, I’ll make fried rice with a fresh basil omelette.

We are thrilled to join you at the upcoming Autism Speaks to LA Celebrity Chef Gala. What is your connection to Autism Speaks?

I’m so fortunate in life, love and career. I’m all about giving back and moving that fortune forward to others who may not have that yet. My wife Allison works in special education and early childhood development so I’m very familiar with autism. From her, I know what a difference research makes to help others. This event to me is about coming together as a community, being able to cook and share. It is an honor. I can’t wait!

Jet Tila Matfer Chef Spotlight

CHEF JETS'S DRUNKEN NOODLE RECIPE
That's right! We said it - Jet Tila shared with Matfer the recipe for his famously delicious Druken Noodles. 

Ingredients:

Sauce
1 tbsp. Mushroom Soy Sauce
2 tbsp. Sweet Soy Sauce
1 tbsp. Oyster Sauce
1.5 tbsp. Fish Sauce
1 tbsp. Sugar
1 tbsp. Sriracha Sauce
2 tsp. Garlic, minced
6-8 Thai Basil Leaves, chiffonade

Stir-Fry
3 tbsp. Canola or Peanut Oil
2-3 Garlic Cloves, minced
1-2 Serrano Chiles, sliced thin
2 Eggs
1/3 lbs. Beef, Pork, or Chicken, thin sliced against the grain
1/2 Medium White Onion, sliced
3-4 cups Fresh Rice Noodles, separated
1/4 cup Chinese Rice Wine
1 cup Thai Basil Leaves, loosely packed
1/2 cup Grape Tomatoes, halved

Preparation:
1. Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Heat oil to medium high in a medium sauté pan and sauté garlic until light brown.
3. Add eggs in and lightly scramble until barely set.
4. Add meat and onions folding constantly until the meat is half cooked, about 1 to 2 minutes.
5. Add fresh rice noodles, sauce, tomatoes and basil; toss to combine for about 3 to 5 minutes.
Make sure the noodles are cooked until the edges are slightly crisp.
6. Deglaze Pan with rice wine, and then add basil and tomatoes. Serve hot and enjoy!


MORE ABOUT JET TILA

Executive and Celebrity Chef Jet Tila specializes in classic Thai and Chinese cooking. A Pan Asian specialist, he's a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu and the California Sushi Academy. He is the Culinary Ambassador for Thai cooking in Los Angeles. Jet was a participant on Iron Chef and Chopped and is now a judge on Cutthroat Kitchen and Camp Cutthroat with Alton Brown. He is a consultant with Compass Food Industries and a co-owner of Stir Market Food Hall in Los Angeles.


TOOLS FOR TASTE
As an inspirational chef, you are assured a fine finish for your own notable noodle dish when you use Matfer's Black Steel Frying Pan, Elite Ceramic Tradition Wok, S/S Wire Skimmer, Hemispherical Mixing Bowls, Garlic and Onion Press and Stainless Steel All Purpose Tongs.

TASTES & TRADITIONS - THE NOTABLE NOODLE

By Mara Papatheodorou, Your Tastes & Traditions Expert

Jet Tila Drunken Noodles Matfer Taste and Tradition

Take note of the noodle. This notable staple has an illustrious past, a very popular present and a formidable future. The grande grain is its base whether barley, millet, rice or wheat. When ground and mixed with water, the resulting flour power does its stuff and dough makes its starchy debut. From there it can be pulled or kneaded, looped or twisted, pinched or prodded, rolled or stretched into any number of noodle concoctions.

Since the growing of grain is worldwide, most cultures have their own versions of noodle mania. Interestingly enough, remnants of its ancient past dating as far back as 4000 years ago, point to China as the first place and “kitchen” to grind rice, wheat or millet to make dough that was shaped into dumplings or turned into strands for a meal.

Noodle methods and types then spread throughout Asia, became a basic part of dining traditions and held ritual significance at celebrations. To this day, serving long noodles at important Asian ceremonies still represents a long life of luck and abundance.  
On a trip to China in the 13th century, famed Venetian merchant Marco Polo was enamored by the main entrée served to him in various forms at the Emperor’s feast and traveled back to Europe with dried samples. In later years, Italy became the pasta capital of the world. Whether baked or boiled, served in soups or stews, over or under other elements, thick or thin, long or short, with spices or sauces, noodles have legitimately earned their place of distinction at the table.

Jet Tila Matfer Chef Spotlight

CHEF JET TILA STIRS UP HIS FAMOUS DRUNKEN NOODLES
Wok on! Two side-by-side triumphant Thai creations showcase this passionate chef’s impressive expertise and knowledge of noodles and lobster. Take a look at his dynamic duo of delectable dishes and dont miss the recipe for Chef Jet's famously delicious Drunken Noodles! More >

TOOLS FOR THE TRADE
As an inspirational chef, you are assured a fine finish for your own notable noodle dish when you use Matfer's Elite Ceramic Tradition Wok, S/S Wire Skimmer, Hemispherical Mixing Bowls, Stainless Steel All Purpose Tongs, and Exoglass® Sieve Strainer

CHEF SPOTLIGHT: SUSAN FENIGER

By Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes & Traditions Expert

Susan Feniger Matfer Chef Spotlight

The Matfer Team had the honor to enjoy a delicious and inspiring flavor-filled day with award winning Chef Susan Feniger at Border Grill in downtown Los Angeles where she presented a stunning ceviche with plantains using ideally matched Matfer tools!

Susan Feniger is a celebrated and award winning chef, author, and entrepreneur.  Her professional collaboration with Mary Sue Milliken (CITY, Ciudad, Too Hot Tamales) has led to the groundbreaking Border Grill empire with locations in Santa Monica, Downtown LA, LAX Airport’s Tom Bradley International Terminal, Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay, and a second outpost in Las Vegas at The Forum Shops. In 2013, Susan welcomed her new solo venture, the beloved Mud Hen Tavern in Hollywood.


INTERVIEW:

As an award winning established Executive Chef of your own restaurants what inspires you?
Flavors and their cultures.  My Mom had a great sense of flavor and in many ways she passed that on to me. Flavor is key for me in whatever I do in the kitchen for the table. It keeps everything authentic and interesting. I’m drawn to the street foods of countries because it’s the people and their traditions that keep the recipes and ingredients real. They’re eclectic. The spices, the herbs, the elements all contribute to the heart of the matter that becomes the meal. To experience that from others and then to share that knowledge and dishes with restaurant guests inspires me.

Susan Feniger Matfer Chef Spotlight Giesser Knife

What do you like about being the Executive Chef/Owner of both Border Grills, and the Mud Hen Tavern?    
Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved the whole process and every part of the restaurant business. I still do. I took a course in college that was an independent study with my Economic professor where I designed a restaurant and business plan from start to finish. I thought about the table sizes, the layout, the menu and the details of it all. I’m an entrepreneur at heart so opening my own restaurant was just a matter of when not if. I love cooking, the high energy of the kitchen environment and the creativity that goes along with that. After Mary Sue and I had worked in fine kitchens in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles our sense of taste and work ethic complemented each other. Nothing is more important to us than how the food tastes coming out of the kitchen to the table. We taste everything.

Ceviche is a South American specialty with many countries claiming it as their own with different interpretations. What makes your version unique?
Ceviche combines everything I love about cooking. It’s just so interesting!  It has terrific flavor and cultural ties based on its ingredients. When Mary Sue and I first went to Mexico at the invitation of guys we worked with in restaurant kitchens, we were blown away by the diverse tastes of the country especially thanks to the use of citrus and chilies in everything!

We then did a drive around the country to places like Oaxaca and Vera Cruz where the seafood was amazing. Ceviche just made a lasting impression on me. It became a must-have part of our original menu when we opened Border Grill. I like the diversity of the dish, its unique flavor profile and fiddling with the components from time to time. This Peruvian ceviche highlights the bite of their awesome aji chilie. My added touch is also the pickled onion garnish done in beet juice. For a twist, I serve it with fried plantains instead of tortilla chips or tortillas.

Giesser Messer Knife Matfer

Citrus Juicer Matfer Susan Feniger

How do you go about preparing your various dishes?
I am a hands-on chef. I love chopping, slicing and dicing. It makes me happy and keeps me connected to what I do. Obviously, I always use the freshest of ingredients and I love the different flavor profiles they represent. I have a great team in the kitchen too and we work really well together.

Advance prep is key when you are running a restaurant. I like having all of the elements in front of me when I’m cooking. That way I can concentrate on the process and result.  For example when prepping the ceviche, I like that the olive oil is in the glass measuring pourer and the citrus juicer is ready for juicing.

The aji Amarillo peppers, the citrus, onions, avocadoes and cucumbers are all in the cool looking Matfer Banetton Bowls and the fresh tuna and halibut are right there in the Matfer Stainless Steel Seafood Tray. I’m set to go. When it comes time for the heat, you’ve got to be prepared. I taste as I go so having items all around me helps. For example, when I make the pickled onions in beet juice in the very effective Matfer Copper Frying Pan, I can pay attention so that they’re perfect.

Banneton Matfer Chef Spotlight Susan Feniger

Matfer Mandoline 200s Susan Feniger

Giesser Messer Knife Matfer

As one of the first extremely successful woman chef’s and restaurant owners how does it feel to be a trailblazer for all that you have done and continue to accomplish in the culinary world?

Wow, trailblazer is a big word! I learnt a lot from trial and error. Some ideas worked and others were ahead of their time. But you have to try and when it worked it really worked!  I just know that I love what I do and feel fortunate to be able to do it. I appreciate the people connection that this industry has allowed me to cultivate. To be able to open restaurants and even have a food truck where people can come to eat and to enjoy and even taste items in a way they might never have before is exciting to me. If my career sets an example with its ups and downs and encourages other women to get cooking in the restaurant world, then I say go for it!

Matfer Sugar Measuring Pourer Susan Feniger

Flat Bottom Mixing Bowl

Personally, what are your favorite ingredients?
For me it is all about acid and salt and how they enhance a dish! I also like olive oil, vinegar and chilies. I’m a big fan of avocadoes and artichokes too.

Susan Feniger Matfer Flat Bottom Mixing BowlCopper Round Frying Pan Matfer

Matfer Copper Round Flat Bottom Mixing Bowl Susan FenigerMatfer Copper Round Flat Bottom Mixing Bowl Susan Feniger

Winona La Duke, an American activist, environmentalist and writer said, “Food has culture. It has history. It has a story. It has relationships.” Do you agree?  
Absolutely! I love this quote because for me when I travel tasting food from street stands in neighborhoods and being invited into someone’s home tells me more about their culture and life. These experiences create the stories, memories and friendships that for me make traveling so exciting. The food language has no barriers. It says it all about who we are and where we come from.

Susan Feniger Stainless Steel Seafood TrayMatfer Plain Serving Spoon

Matfer is honored to be a sponsor of the upcoming Autism Speaks to Los Angeles Celebrity Chef Gala on October 8th. You and Mary Sue will each be participating that evening. Can you tell us about your connection to Autism Speaks?   
Cooking is all about give and take and giving back. The public supports us as chefs and restaurateurs and in return we need and want to support them. Autism Speaks has real purpose and makes a difference to help people in need. We support that message so participating and cooking at this special dinner is a great thing to do. We’re delighted that we get to do two tables one for Border Grill and the other for Mud Hen’s Hut. We’re inspired!                                              

Susan Feniger Matfer Chef Spotlight

More About Chef Susan Feniger

A classically trained graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, she began at Chicago’s famed Le Perroquet as one of the first women in the all-male kitchen.  Following that, Feniger worked at Wolfgang Puck’s infamous Ma Maison in Los Angeles, and then further honed her culinary skills on the French Riviera. She opened the worldly eclectic City Café in 1981 followed by the much larger CITY restaurant in 1985. This was a pivotal year in which the former tiny space was transformed into the first Border Grill, a “taco stand” serving authentic home cooking and street foods of Mexico.  In June 2013, Susan and Mary Sue were awarded the California Restaurant Association’s Elizabeth Burns Lifetime Achievement Award and most recently were inducted into the 2014 Menu Masters Hall of Fame.

Susan has co-authored six cookbooks, including her latest, Susan Feniger’s Street Food.  Susan is a veteran of The Food Network’s popular “Too Hot Tamales” and “Tamales World Tour” series and competed on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” in 2010.  
She shines a light on a number of worthwhile organizations such as the Scleroderma Research Foundation, the board of the L.A. LGBT Center and is involved with Share our Strength and the Human Rights Campaign.  She’s an active member of the culinary community, providing a leadership role in many organizations including the Chefs Collaborative, the LA Sports & Entertainment Commission and Women Chefs and Restaurateurs.

More on Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Mr. Wright is the former vice chairman of General Electric and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has committed more than $560 million to its mission, the majority in science and medical research. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in nearly 100 cities across North America. On the global front, Autism Speaks has established partnerships in more than 70 countries on five continents to foster international research, services and awareness. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit AutismSpeaks.org.

Tools for the Taste

As an executive chef, you know that the success of a dish comes down to the perfect balance and blend of fresh ingredients with just enough spice and seasoning. A superb ceviche exemplifies this beautifully especially when using Matfer's Stainless Steel Seafood Tray, Citrus Juicer, Mandoline 2000s, Copper Round Frying Pan, Hemispherical Bottom Mixing Bowl and Sugar Measuring Pourer.

TASTES & TRADITIONS - SAVOR CEVICHE!

By Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes & Traditions Expert

Ceviche Susan Feniger Matfer Spotlight

This super South American specialty marries citrus-marinated raw fish with salt, onion, cucumber and chilies to create a mouthwatering melody on the plate and palate. Ideal as an appetizer or a light meal, the secret here lies in the type of chili used in different recipes.

Historians and locals alike haggle over the fishy heritage of this culinary star as to whether it originally hails from Peru or Ecuador.  Both claim the tasty tradition as their own especially since the two countries’ coastlines are abundant with superb seafood, bountiful lemon, lime and orange orchards as well as numerous varietals of chilies. In fact, the Moors introduced the “sibich” food and acid meeting-method to the Spanish who in turn passed the process on to the Americas hence its eventual name “sebiche or ceviche”.

Being prominent fishermen, the Incas certainly had a hand in developing the dish by adding a squeeze of citrus to their daily catch that made it eatable without it being cooked. As time progressed and territories shifted, other Latin American countries noted the preparation and went on to design their own interpretations.

Today, distinguishing elements alter from country to country from what is in it to what accompanies it whether they be tortillas, tortilla chips, corncobs or sweet potato slices. Most renowned is the Peruvian powerhouse blend that highlights the sultry and spicy native “Aji Amarillo” pepper that combines tuna and halibut with lemon, lime and orange juices. At the Ecuadorian table, shrimp is a major seafood component while the Mexican style is heavier on tomato and onion in the mix. Regardless, the clout of ceviche comes to be when the freshest of fish is enhanced by the “bite” of citrus and salt to create an exquisite end result.  

Susan Feniger Matfer Featured Chef Spotlight

FEATURED CHEF SPOTLIGHT: CHEF SUSAN FENIGER
The Matfer Team enjoyed a delicious and inspiring flavor-filled day at the renowned Border Grill in downtown Los Angeles. Award winning Executive Chef & Co-Owner Susan Feniger presented a stunning ceviche with plantains using ideally matched Matfer tools.  
It is no wonder her sublime ceviche is one of this award winning chef’s most hailed concoctions. See how and why her fabulously fresh raw fish, citrus and chilies creation leaves a lasting impression and patrons wanting for more. Read the spotlight >

TOOLS FOR THE TASTE
As an inspirational chef, you can put your own culinary stamp on ceviche when you use Matfer's Stainless Steel Seafood Tray, Citrus Juicer, Mandoline 2000s, Copper Round Frying Pan, Hemispherical Bottom Mixing Bowl and Sugar Measuring Pourer.

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

CHEF SPOTLIGHT: EXECUTIVE CHEF DAVID CODNEY

By Mara Papatheodorou, Your Tastes & Traditions Expert

Executive Chef David Codney Matfer Spotlight

"Cool" was the feel and theme of the day in every way when the Matfer team gathered in Beverly Hills at the Peninsula Hotel to watch Executive Chef David Codney work his cooking magic. He created a stunning chilled pea soup using locally sourced Santa Barbara prawns, organic ingredients from the hotel's rooftop garden, and of course his favorite Matfer tools!

As an established Executive Chef, what inspires you to create?

The intensity and passion of cooking thrills me and I find the diversity of ingredients fascinating. They continue to feed my curiosity. I am very driven and feel so lucky that cooking became my thing. There is a calm that comes over me amidst the chaos of a busy bustling hotel kitchen. I thrive on it. I am a creature of habit but I love that the chef world is full of passionate people like myself who love to learn, create and pass on their creations. It is a unique to be able to focus on what intriguing dishes I can bring to the table for patrons to enjoy.

Matfer Chef Spotlight Jam Jars

What do you like about being the Executive Chef of the Peninsula?    

We have new and returning guests come and go from the hotel all of the time and that excites me. I approach each day as a new experience and a new beginning. A to and fro, and give and take process requires a positive balancing act of every member in the kitchen. I have a phenomenal team and together we are like a big wheel. We are the spokes and at the center of the wheel are the guests. We take great pride in giving our guests a memorable high quality excellent experience that is expected of this hotel and our dining venues. We prepare and serve them the best and most refined cuisine we can no matter what the meal, occasion or time of day. 

This chilled, very pretty pea soup has a luscious texture and a fantastic flavor topped off with a colorful prawn, radishes and pea shoots. How did you develop it?

Soup seems so simple to make yet the beauty of its simplicity is in the multi-layers of its preparation. Ingredients and their flavors should blend so that they enhance each other not overpower one another. It should also flaunt a refined texture topped off with alluring and appealing garnishes that are relevant. And this combination does that.  I loved using the fresh fennel and heirloom radishes from our roof top herb garden, as well as the lemons from our tree that has been here since the hotel opened. The sweetness of the Santa Barbara prawn adds another dimension to the taste. To me, the freshest of garden ingredients coming together in a chilled soup just says summer.

Matfer Taste and Tradition Chilled Summer Soup

What is it about the Matfer products that make a difference in your preparation and results of your various dishes?

Matfer’s materials are the best. Each product is a winner. I was introduced to them at CIA where I graduated. Since then, every established kitchen I’ve ever worked in has always had Matfer items. I’ve used the various elements throughout my career and they never ever let me down. They just hold up. You can tell Matfer designers talk to chefs and respect the cooking process from start to finish by the items they produce. I love the subtle touches in their designs- the handle grips, the steel pans, the jars. The high quality of Matfer is a respectful extension of what I do. Begin and end food preparation with focus and respect. Respect the tools, respect the process, respect the ingredients and you get a phenomenal result. 

What do you think of Matfer's  Exoglass Bouillon Strainer, Stainless Steel Ladle, Piano Whisk, Exoglass Petlon Spatula, Exoglass Professional Peeler, Geiser Knife & Chef’s Tweezers?

They are all just great. I keep them in the Peninsula kitchen and use each one regularly. The Exoglass Bouillon Strainer is fantastic especially when I’m making soup. When I’m straining the liquid, I push it through with the very efficient long handled Matfer ladle and it comes through smooth and silky. The strong heavy plastic base supports the strainer so I can push hard, and I love the fine mesh of the strainer’s net. I’ve always been a fan of the Matfer whisks and spatulas. They are firm yet pliable and last forever. Again the quality of these products is impressive.

I’m intense about my mise en place and I think the jam jars are even better than glass bowls. They’re deep and clear so I can see what’s where when I’m cooking and they are wide enough for my hand to grab something or fit a spoon in to scoop or sauce something out of it. I like the various lengths of the Matfer tweezers. Different ones give me flexibility when I’m garnishing a dish with final touches.   

Matfer Chef Spotlight David Codney Boullion Strainer Matfer Stainless Steel Ladle

What are your favorite Matfer must-have tools?

I love love love my Matfer Black Steel Pans. I have them in various sizes and use them all of the time. They heat up quickly and cook evenly. They’re ideal for searing or sautéing. They are my go to item along with the ladles and whisks.

 Matfer Black Steel Pan and Exoglass Spatula


Auguste Escoffier, a 19th century renowned French Chef and author of La Guide Culinaire said, “Of all the items on the menu, soup is that which extracts the most delicate perfection and the strictest attention.” Do you agree?

I do agree. And I’m a perfectionist! Soup to me says it all and sets the tone for a successful meal.  It is all in the details and approach to achieve that winning result. When I’m hiring new kitchen talent, I test with soup. I can see right there and then what kind of chefs-in-training they are. I watch how they prepare it –from their station set-up to their basic process combined with creative flair.

Matfer Chef Spotlight David Codney

On a personal note, what do you like to eat when you’re not working?
I’m a back to basics guy, so simple and fresh, anything authentic. Honestly? It really depends on the day and what I’ve been cooking! 

TOOLS FOR THE TASTE

As an executive chef, you know that less is more and fresh is best. Use Matfer's Exoglass® Bouillon StrainerStainless Steel LadlePiano WhiskExoglass®Petlon SpatulaExoglass®Professional PeelerGeiser KnifeJam Jars & Chef’s Tweezers

MORE ABOUT CHEF DAVID CODNEY

Nothing pleases Executive Chef David Codney more than when the kitchens for the award -winning Belvedere or Roof Top Restaurants at the AAA Five Diamond Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills California are bustling. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, David spent a significant part of his early career with the Ritz Carlton Group in Naples Florida. There, he eventually became Executive Sous Chef. During his tenure with Ritz-Carlton, he cooked under three Certified Master Chefs and was a guest chef at the James Beard House, the Naples Food & Wine Festival, and the Southwest Winter Wine Festival. He also served on the Ritz-Carlton Task Force, helping to open new Ritz-Carlton hotels throughout North America. In 2002, he won a Gold Medal at the Javits Center International Food Expo.

TASTES & TRADITIONS - CHILLED SUMMER SOUP!

By Mara Papatheodorou, Your Tastes & Traditions Expert

Matfer Taste and Tradition Chilled Summer Soup

No matter what the season, soup is sublime and soulfully delicious. But sipping soup in the summer?!? Absolutely! This bountiful bowl of liquid is the ultimate palette pleasing paradox. When served hot, each spoonful warms us from the inside out and when served cold, cools us off from the outside in.

Soup’s start is as simple as it is humble. A mound of mud mixed with water created a pot and a bowl. Hunters and gatherers, fishermen and fishwives, and farmers and gardeners found that by placing their prey, catch, or crops into a pot of water, and heating it over an open fire, a hearty meal was born.

Derived from the Latin word “suppara” meaning to soak, linguists later found the word transferred to Old French as “soupe” and the term stuck. In the centuries since then, the elements have rarely varied, and soup is a much respected and time-honored international tradition. 

Every culture and cuisine proudly presents their special soothing version of this fortifying recipe with local flavors and flair, hot or cold. Its filling and restorative attributes actually contributed to the official word “restaurant,” where the must-have course was always soup. Its popularity has never wavered, and it remains a timeless classic choice on today’s menus too.

As chefs broaden their ingredient scope and patrons’ taste buds crave diverse combinations, a sweet or savory soupy option with a cool twist is now as normal a choice as the hotter alternative. Nothing empowers the intense flavors of fresh fruits or vegetables more than when whirled, twirled, emulsified, and pummeled to create a luscious, creamy, and chilled concoction.


FEATURED CHEF SPOTLIGHT: DAVID CODNEY, THE PENINSULA - BEVERLY HILLS

Matfer Chef Spotlight David Codney

Brrr... soup’s on! Perfectly pureed elements - from pristine peas to fabulous fennel, radiant radishes and lovely lemons come together to create a delectably blended bowl of cool soup splendor from this very talented executive chef. Hear what inspires Chef Codney and take peak at our afternoon with David Codney in this month’s Matfer Chef Spotlight. Read more>


TOOLS FOR THE TASTE

As an executive chef, you know that less is more and fresh is best. Use Matfer's Exoglass® Bouillon StrainerStainless Steel LadlePiano WhiskExoglass®Petlon SpatulaExoglass®Professional PeelerGeiser KnifeJam Jars & Chef’s Tweezers