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                                                                                                                                                                        Photos by Donna
    Do you have any veal hearts?” Pardus asked.
    The vendor, with happiness and surprise, said, “I do!”  He pulled it out of the cooler and said, “How about five bucks?”
    “Sold!”
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What happens when a chef visits for the weekend?  My old instructor and now close friend Mike Pardus (pronounced PAR-dus—some people think because he’s a chef, it’s pronounced par-DOO), visited recently.  The main fact about Michael is that he is a cook in every fiber of his body, meaning, in part, that when he’s away from his work as a chef instructor at the CIA, when he can do anything he wants because he’s on holiday, he chooses to cook all day.  Which is what we did.  An impromptu meal, Cleveland style.
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The occasion was a photo shoot—I wanted him on the back cover of the new edition of The Making of a Chef (out in April)—and so the publisher agreed to cover his flight into Clevelandtown on the 4th of July (where I fed him Vienna Beef hot dogs which, to answer someone’s question earlier, we can buy at Miles Market, and dortmunder from Great Lakes Brewing Co., our local brew that’s as good as any artisanal beer in the country).
    Next day we hit the North Union Farmer’s Market at Shaker Square where Pardus hunted down the heart and other delectables for the evening meal—some beautiful garlic, onions, lettuces, snap peas, radishes, pickling cukes, a fresh duck.  We did the photo shoot at the nearby restaurant Fire, one of our favorites (thanks Doug!), then headed to the West Side Market where, still with heart in our heads, we picked up some lamb hearts.  (I’d just been with Cosentino who’d made a heart tartare, and had been eager to try.)
    And then it was back home to cook.  Pardus, a demon for organization made the above prep list, while I began cleaning all the valves and connective tissue from the lamb hearts.Ab1_0050_blog_2

    It would be a seriously high protein meal, a kind of mixed grill idea: lamb heart tartare, grilled duck breast, marinated veal heart, cubed and skewered, and braised duck legs, along with a green salad, a great sour salad of sliced baby cucumbers and onion (Pardus called it a sunomono, a Japanese preparation), roasted onions, and corn on the cob (grilled with herbs and butter inside the husk).
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    We had the tartare, expertly put together by Pardus, tasting and seasoning all along the way, for hors d'oeuvre in addition to zest-laced sheep’s milk ricotta and the roasted garlic, on toasted baguette. Spicy radishes with butter and coarse salt.  Duck cracklings.Ab1_0052_blog

    Throughout the day we didn't give a thought to dessert, but the cooking gods were looking out for us.  Taking a break from the kitchen in the late afternoon to walk the dog, I passed a neighbor directly behind us who pointed to a tree across the street (we live in an inner ring suburb, lots of old houses and trees)—it was virtually glowing red with ripe sour cherries.  My neighbor gave me a bag and a step ladder and thus a walk with the dog gave us our dessert, a sour cherry crumble.
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A great summer meal: impromptu, local, delicious.  It’s been a long time since Skill Development one.
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And then what happened?  Following all day in the kitchen much conversation during the meal, much wine, followed by much Cognac, the women long asleep by then, the kitchen clean, Pardus noticed a sourdough starter frothing over it’s cup onto the counter.
    Pardus stared at it, then looked at me, dead serious, and said, “Doughnuts for tomorrow morning.”  And so, at 2 am, I found myself mixing dough.  Which is what happens when a serious cook comes to visit.

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71 Wonderful responses to “My Dinner with Pardus”

  • Jason Royal

    Chef Pardus is a hardass, but he forces you to understand and respect the lifestyle and what it takes to be a successful chef. If you can learn to respect what he throws at you then you can be anything you want in the culinary field.

  • Jason Royal

    Ahhh Chef Pardus and Michel Ruhlman. Two very influential people in my life. Ruhlman got me interested in CIA with his book Making of A chef, and Chef Pardus gave me the inspiration and respect for Asian Cuisine and what you need to be sucessful in the kitchen. He is the reason I want to go to Vietnam and Thailand.

  • Jason Royal

    Chef Pardus is a hardass, but he forces you to understand and respect the lifestyle and what it takes to be a successful chef. If you can learn to respect what he throws at you then you can be anything you want in the culinary field.

  • Jim Colwell

    OK, I agree with Christopher Dawson, I have very found memories of the Lithuanian sausage at the sausage shoppe.

  • Jason Royal

    Ahhh Chef Pardus and Michel Ruhlman. Two very influential people in my life. Ruhlman got me interested in CIA with his book Making of A chef, and Chef Pardus gave me the inspiration and respect for Asian Cuisine and what you need to be sucessful in the kitchen. He is the reason I want to go to Vietnam and Thailand.

  • Christopher Dawson

    Wait a minute … you bring him to Cleveland, go for local food, and yet you get him Vienna Beef hotdogs from Chicago? Michael, why not the good stuff from Sausage Shoppe? Hey, I like Vienna Beef dogs a lot … when I’m in Chicago. But here in Cleve-burg, I go straight for the Sausage Shoppe and their sublime and immensely flavorful german wieners … absolutely outstanding. You should have taken him there!!!

  • Andres Larin

    first off sorry for your pop’s passing. Secondly I’m reading “the making of a chef,” I was siked to read about you and your friend, I guess mentor in someways Michael Pardus getting together for fun. I also have that quirky drive that gets me going at 2am to make waffles w/chocolate sauce, fruit, and salt, just to see if they taste good. I really like the book and have been reading it in anticipation of finally after many years of putting it off (it’s been since high school and I know 27) going to culinary school @ city college of San Francisco. your books have been is very inspiring and inciteful to me and I just want to say thank you and keep writing

  • Deb Lindsay

    Your Making of a … convinced me to go to the CIA, I never had Chef Pardus, regretfully. The book went with me to Hyde Park, and I compared my experience to yours all the way through. You visited the school and signed it for me. Thanks again. I’ll enjoy your writing about the upcoming Bocuse related events. Chef Roland Henin is the consumate pro and a very pleasant man to be around. I worked with him a bit and really learned alot.

    Your time with Pardus sounded fun. I learned to enjoy beef heart when I was making food for my large fish- it is a low fat meat and doesn’t gunk up the fish tank. In any case, beef is stronger, but easier to clean etc. Takes well to Japanese grilling- I marinated thin slices in soy and scotch. Tasty.

  • Shelley

    I want to know more about the new edition of Making of a Chef. Can you spill the beans and let us know what to look forward to, Ruhlman?

    Also: Strongly agree with Rob Fargher, would love to see a “Skills for Home” book by you and Pardus. I’ve been eyeballing some CIA books on Amazon, but not sure they’re for me without Ruhlman behind the pen!

  • Guy Anderson

    Chef P – I have to say I remember you throwing out one of our classmates for a dress code issue – jeez – how many batteries did that take – No wonder I see Ruhlman wearing sunglasses!
    Words to non chefs – when we don’t HAVE to put out the menu – we all love to pop corks and just cook until you clean up and wonder about the next day. I would have just loved to have been a fly on the wall listening to Chef P – he is VERY good at what he does and really all of the chefs at the CIA – cooking off the cuff just watching them – was amazing.

  • Danielle

    Man, this post really makes me miss the West Side Market. I lived in Cleveland for three years, and it was the best thing about that city, except for possibly the GLBC.

    Pittsburgh used to have something similar called the Allegheny City Market House, but it was razed about a decade before I was born.

  • Kipp

    I am almost finished with the AOS at CIA and enjoy reading your work. The meal sounds great but I was wondering what wine you enjoyed with the meal, esp. the tar tar. Thanks,

    Kipp

  • luis

    Thinking outside this box…. We live in a busy world, my lovely podiatrist gave me a new lease on my wheels when she took that chip of nail off of my big toe. She is an angel. We compared notes and it seems her life is as busy and even more than mine. So in a world were an Iron chef has one hour to prepare the food and that’s about what we may have ourselves including the washing pots and pans and restoring the kitchens to order.
    The overwhelming number of chefs that just marinade and eat every protein raw is alarming to me. No, we don’t want to use today’s shortcuts and we want it fast and we won’t compromise in quality… I got it… lets skip the cooking step alltogether and we wont need to wash pans or anything…. presto la crudo meal.

  • amie

    Great meal. I wondered if you got the veal and duck breast from our farm stand-Plum Creek Farm?

  • luis

    “Making of a Chef” Chp 2 “The Storm”. I was there in New Hampshire working on Atomic subs.
    Rhulman how you actually drove in the blizzard of 96 is amazing. That hard ass Pardus nearly got you in a big pickle. But it all worked out. I enjoyed reading about it very much.
    Anyhow… the restaurant supply store has shelves and shelves of powdered stocks. Knorr’s demi glaze ingredients read like something out of “Los Alamos” research lab.
    However there is a notable web site that has a product with the right ingredients..like mirepoix etc… http://www.clubsauce.com/DemiGlacebyMoreThanGourmet-idv-4-21.html
    Demi-Glaze Gold with seeming approval from >>>James Petersen author of the James Beard award-winning book “Sauces”. <<< that I think merits a try. You know before I jump in and decide to try it from scratch. Something to gage against whatever comes out of my kitchen.
    anyhooo…. peace out.

  • Linda

    Thank you for an interesting, informative and descriptive post. I do understand the doughnuts at 2am….but the beginning query for veal heart really tickled my cooking bone. So, of what did the marinade consist? And besides the egg, what went into the lamb heart tartare?

  • mike pardus

    Honestly, I don’t remember exactly what we marinated the veal heart in – but typically it would be a basic red wine vinagrette (3 parts oil:1 part red wine vinegar) with salt,black pepper, shallots and what ever herbs were growing in Ruhlman’s kitchen garden that day – (something strong and resinous like sage, rosemary, thyme). Remember tht “marinate” means to coat with a seasonned liquid – not “Give it a bath”. Too many people make voluminous quantities of marinade and end up wasting a lot of good oil and vinegar….

  • luis

    AW!shit!, who am I kidding?… my chances to spend two days creating demi-glaze and hunting down veal bones and the rest of it are not good. But that doesn’t mean I have to give up my sauce program. There are some comercial products that offer shortcuts out there to making a demi-glaze sauce.. who knows how good they are?. Glancing over Marjorie Blanchards “Sauce it”. It is clear that there are sauces the home cook can make RAPIDO. I cook every day now and my windows are 1.5 hr in the morning and sometimes 1 hr in the evening. Is it a wonder that Rachael Ray is the next Opera? Genius… More questions at this point than answers….

  • luis

    Well, I have reconsidered.. it will be a slow road to excellence I think. I will tackle the brown sauces and the demi glaze but in the way there I will also try the freezed dry comercial versions you add water to and presto la salza. So many sauces and gastriques and gribich’s to experience. Met a young African Chef from New York. The guy was totally psyched up about openning in South Beach a french restaurant. He showed me the stuff he likes to make. Looked like beef roulades… I should have written down his favorite chef but I forgot. I asked him about the sauce and the demi glaze etc…he went nuts..the guy does everything. I wish him all the luck a young talented chef deserves.

  • luis

    One thing comes to mind when thinking sauces…and stocks. I have made chicken stock and turkey stocks and they were so much better and added so much more to what I was doing than store bought crap, that I am a believer in the training young master Rhulman underwent at CIA. Can’t wait to read his updated version…wonder if any of it changed. From reading the “Elements…” I’d wagger NO!.. but we will read what he writes and go from there.

  • luis

    I am reading “The Making of a Chef” and I am liking it very much, but its gonna be some water under the bridge before I get to veal stock and consome. Get there I will. Escoffie predicted it. It’s gonna be a fun ride.. to get to where I want everything RAW!!!!!!!!. Nope, I won’t go that far I hope. I haven’t got past jalapeno in the scovil scale and that raw egg thing..hasn’t washed yet… But I am not complaining… I have made so much progress and learned so much here that where it leads me is NOT! an issue for me.

  • Brian

    As a beer geek I’ve got to salute you for supporting your local craft brew-Great Lakes!

    I’m in Chicago and am lucky enough to have been able to sample many of Great Lakes beers (current fav-burning river).

    As a homebrewer and homechef I’m interested to hear any thoughts you might have on incorporating beer and cooking, any insight you could share would be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers!
    Brian

  • Matt W.

    Fan-tastic post. Thanks for the info on the Vienna Beef dogs, too. I guess I need to go up to see my family in Akron more often and make an occasional detour. :>

  • Miss T

    That looks like an amazing dinner, and I have to say that I’m entranced with your shopping list!

  • Darcie

    Doh! Thanks for pointing that out, Natalie! To clarify, I wish I had friends like either Mike Pardus OR Bob del Grosso.

  • Tags

    We need an organization like the Visiting Nurses.

    How about the Visiting Chefs?

  • mirinblue

    Looks exquisite…althought I have never had lamb heart (veal heart? or did you have both??!!) I can say I WANT to eat it! Does it have more of a “steak”-like taste being a muscle or more of an “organ”-like taste like liver? Please desribe for me if you can…

  • mike pardus

    Heart tastes like what you want steak to taste like…like what your imagination of steak tastes like. Grilled beef heart on skewers is my 9 year old dughter’s favorite dish to eat and to prepare.

    BTW – If you HAD to wear whites every day, wild shirts would look good to you too….

  • Claudia (the Original)

    Keep the shirt, Pardus! For your next theme dinner, make it Hawai’ian Shirt Night – the louder and more retro, the better (!)

  • JoP in Omaha

    What an awesome post. A wonderful story, one that inspires. Lovely.

    As for that yellow prep list…how ’bout you and Pardus sign it and then you auction it, proceeds going to Share Our Strenght or a similar org?

  • Bob delGrosso

    A shout out to all of you who were incited to envy by Ruhlman’s tete a tete with Pardus. I feel your pain; he doesn’t come to my house either.

  • Rachel

    Great Lakes Dortmunder is one of our favs down here in Columbus too. Wonderfully refreshing after a day at the markets.

  • Kate in the NW

    duuuuuuck….craaaacklings…. (drool).

    Wow. Talk about a busman’s holiday…you guys have way too much energy. Then again, you have exquisite fuel for all that activity!

  • Darcie

    I wish I had friends like Bob Pardus.

    Although I have been known to make cinnamon rolls at midnight, doughnuts at 2:00 a.m. has never happened.

  • Jason

    Thanks for mentioning the duck cracklings.

    I’ve been eating the leftover cracklings (with lime and fresh made hotsauce)after rendering out for confits to great dismay from my wife. Now I can say, “But Ruhlman does it!”

  • Rob Fargher

    Hmm, how about “Skills Development For The Home Cook” by Pardus and Ruhlman? I’d buy a copy ASAP.

  • Frank in AUstin

    Mmmmmm…..doughnuts(someone had to say it)
    I (picture of a heart) heart.
    Good post! Glad to see you appreciate local brews too-
    FM

  • Frank in AUstin

    Mmmmmm…..doughnuts(someone had to say it)
    I (picture of a heart) heart.
    Good post! Glad to see you appreciate local brews too-
    FM

  • Frank in AUstin

    Mmmmmm…..doughnuts(someone had to say it)
    I (picture of a heart) heart.
    Good post! Glad to see you appreciate local brews too-
    FM

  • Karin (Grew up in Cleveland and miss it in VA)

    You have stated in a simple post of a day with a friend what I try to explain to others. How special it its to grow up and live in Cleveland. Especially when it relates to food.

    Whether it’s with friends or family in the kitchen, the story often the same. (Although not quite so elaborate!)

    I’m feeling quite homesick at the moment. Thanks for sharing.

  • Cameron S.

    Agreed with French Laundry at Home. My favorite post as well.

  • gazer

    You’re really making me look forward to my upcoming move to Cleveland! Can’t wait to live near the West Side Market (& Great Lakes Brewery)!

  • Ashley T.

    If only I lived closer, I could have stopped by and said hello to you and one of my favorite CIA chefs, Pardus! ahh the memories of Cuisines of Asia with Pardus… I loved the nan oven and learning the mysteries of M.S.G.

  • luis

    Cooking is the kind of thing that becomes its own reward. YOu share you eat.. you cook…you learn.
    Some of the guys that have been at it the longest perhaps seem a bit jaded to some of us beginners. There is no time in my life-timeline to catch up to the Pardus-Rhulman-Bourdain-Grosso types. Then again I have so much to discover and experience that I don’t envy the God-chefs one itty little bit. On the contrary they have taught me so much that I am very grateful to them although very weary of their crudo/tar tar experimental escapades…This morning I made arroz con pollo. Good.. It came out great. But the fat trimmings from the skinless breast of chickens.. I can smell in the trash already. That’s crudo chicken trimmings for you.
    But I understand..handling uncooked proteins is a science best left to the professionals.
    Something I learned this time around.
    I brinned the three skinless chicken breasts in mojo of course and salt and covered them with water in a ramickin. Yes.. didn’t use a gallon o’water and a wheelbarrow of salt on it. But the brinning in skinny water was a very very big success. The chicken and the rice were excellent. just fantastic. Moist, creamy without the cream…just fun to eat. Too bad the brinning forum is not around to kick this idea.

  • Sean Kelly

    Its mention in this blog post reminded me of my many visits to the West Side market. The next edition of “Elements of Cooking” would benefit greatly with a listing for that noble institution. The West Side Market is at least as worthy as veal stock! The entry could mention German sausages, Polish sausages, Slovak sausages, double smoked Hungarian bacon, Amish buttermilk, Ohio apples, lamb, goat, pierogis etc.

    Great Lakes brewing is great, Michael does not exagerate.

    Heck, it is easy to get to from anywhere. Either get on I90 and go straight to W25th in Cleveland, or fly to Cleveland and take the rapid transit to W25th, then go back to the airport and fly home loaded with goodies.

  • Loren Greenman

    Great Lakes is a freaking great brew. I especially love Eliot Ness, it’s my favorite beer.

  • Sean Kelly

    Its mention in this blog post reminded me of my many visits to the West Side market. The next edition of “Elements of Cooking” would benefit greatly with a listing for that noble institution. The West Side Market is at least as worthy as veal stock! The entry could mention German sausages, Polish sausages, Slovak sausages, double smoked Hungarian bacon, Amish buttermilk, Ohio apples, lamb, goat, pierogis etc.

    Great Lakes brewing is great, Michael does not exagerate.

    Heck, it is easy to get to from anywhere. Either get on I90 and go straight to W25th in Cleveland, or fly to Cleveland and take the rapid transit to W25th, then go back to the airport and fly home loaded with goodies.

  • Lynda

    Rendered speechless while mentally digesting this meal. I must find different houseguests.

  • Natalie Sztern

    Crap…all my friends are lawyers or doctors-not a chef in the lot…i gotta find me some new friends except one who just opened a restaurant in montreal…and we never see him anymore. Wonder why???!!! (tho i go for lunch with his wife and not to the restaurant cause i can’t chew with my ugly betty braces..which is why children and not adults get braces)

    On another note: today I used my womanly charm to con the local shish taouk Chef to let me prepare his chicken on the upright barbecue from whence he slices off the meat….I must have skewered fifteen double breasts that he marinated overnight…I am embarrased to say this here: but before today I did not know they were skewered together to form the brick…i thought it was bought like that from a special supplier….

    they have got to make a home-sized vertical grill…imagine a schwarma making party…

  • amy

    You lucky lucky man you.

    Everything looks and sounds delish! : )

  • amber

    you are both welcome at my home anytime you want. especially if you’re making doughnuts ;)

  • NYCook

    UMMMM. Heart lucky man ruhlman I believe Fergus Henderson said it best when he said the heart is really the essence of the beast. Just one question Ruhlman where’s the PIG? By the way love the egg yolk in the tar tar.

  • claudia (cook eat FRET)

    you’ve gotten me to eat brains and i loved them. next up? heart. for sure…

    how absolutely wonderful. what a spread.

    except – with all due respect, for pardus’ shirt. yowza…

  • Utenzi

    That sounds like a truly wonderful day. And it’s good to hear that your book is getting a new edition.

  • Dana

    Ruhlman…. I think even the Miller delivery guy would agree…you, my friend, are living the high life! I love the doughnut ending.