Martinez-2@540

                                                          I’m in Chicago this weekend interviewing and hanging out with Grant Achatz. Grant, executive chef of Chicago’s Alinea, Next, and the innovative cocktail hub Aviary, is of course one of the most talented cooks and chefs in the country, but what makes this relationship special for me is that I first met Grant at the French Laundry, where he was, when I arrived to discuss writing The French Laundry Cookbook with Thomas Keller, a 23-year-old working garde manger station. I think I’ll be reflecting on all that’s happened in this nearly two-decade span. Until then, a repost of one of my favorite cocktails, of my own creation and named Read On »

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Baby turnips, greens and all, sautéed in butter. 
All veggies from The Chef's Garden. All pix by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

I have never seen Donna so unhinged by vegetables, behind the camera or eating them. She moaned when she tasted. I’d done almost nothing to the baby turnips. I’d sautéed them in a little butter. That was it. Salt. Done. She said, “Oh my God, if you had a restaurant that served just this with a small medallion of meat, it would kill.” It once again showed the truth of what Thomas Keller once said to me: “If you have better product than I do, you can be a better chef than me.” This began last week when Donna and I had to shoot really beautiful radishes and peas. But it’s February. In Cleveland. Not likely to happen. Unless I cast a glance about 50 miles west to the rural town of Huron, OH, home Read On »

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A post-dinner reenactment of the crime now known as the “Rack of Lamb with Lettuce-Butter Sauce” debacle. Photo by iPhone. For the past several years my cousin Rob has brought me and his band of merry sailors to race in the Key West Regatta. I cook dinner for about 20 every night—sailors, spouses, itinerant friends, and other marauders who haunt the waterfront by day. What I do, basically, is what one cook or another at restaurants throughout the country has to do daily: Feed the staff with what’s on hand. Happily, I don’t have to then work the line all night, and then clean my station, and then store the leftover food. As if by magic, a half hour after dinner, someone has made the kitchen spotless. But it did get me thinking about family Read On »

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Thomas Keller’s own store that has hand selected kitchen items, gifts, clothes and his own bi yearly magazine, via Finesse.com    

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I can already feel Donna rolling her eyes. I’m like that, um, ham, who runs out onto a Broadway stage and flings out his arms … and then silence. Well, it is my theater here, and I don’t exactly sell tickets, and at least it’s not a political ad! Brian Polcyn and I are very proud of our new book, Salumi: The Italian Craft of Dry Curing, about how to make your own pancetta, guanciale, coppa, and other dry-cured wonders in the grand and ancient tradition of Italy. There’s a reason one of the oldest examples of early civilization still exists. Because everyone can do it, and because it’s delicious. Granted, not everyone wants a piece of meat hanging from the chandelier for three weeks, but for those demented and wonderful souls who do, this book is Read On »

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