Pro Cooking Tips from 16 of NYC's Best Restaurant Chefs
From freezing peas to pickling everything, the sharpest cooking tips from 16 of the restaurant chefs who rocked the Edible Schoolyard NYC spring benefit.
Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern
Try using toasted nuts and seeds—like the savory granola we made for our lobster salad—as a garnish. Spice blends like dukkah are also a good place to start.
The Dish: Lobster salad with spinach and savory granola
Gavin Kaysen, Cafe Boulud
We buy fresh peas, shuck them, blanch them, and then freeze them. We keep them all year long so that when spring comes we can use them in soup. They are a burst of flavor and remind everyone of spring!
The Dish: Soupe de petits pois: onion soubise, jambon de Paris, pea shoot
Jonathan Benno, Lincoln Ristorante
You have to shop well. Buy good ingredients. And don't go beyond your skill set—you're going to want to be able to socialize.
The Dish: Biscotti
Joaquin Baca, Brooklyn Star
My style of food is not that scary—I don't use chemicals or crazy ingredients you can't find. And we pickle a ton, like pineapple. You can pickle just about anything. It adds a layer of acidity and brightness, and you can leave it in the fridge forever.
The Dish: Smoked pickled pineapple, jicama, serranos, cilantro
Brooks Headley, Del Posto
The [goat] meat is absolutely delicious straight out of the roasting pan, and would make for an impressive Sunday night meal with some roasted potatoes and a vinegary salad. It's total 'set it and forget it'–style cooking and, and you can even surprise your friends and family. [They're going to say], 'This is goat!?
The Dish: Braised goat agnolotti with carrot and berbere
Alex Stupak, Empellon
All of our dishes are riddled with dried chiles—you can make your own, too. [Commercial] red pepper flakes are like white noise heat. Making your own gives heat and flavor, and you can use them for more than just Mexican food.
The Dish: Sliced mango, arbol chile, lime, peekytoe crab salad
Danny Bowien, Mission Chinese
Don't be scared! [Cooking] really isn't that hard. Especially the food I cook. So don't kill yourself. Take shortcuts. Go family-style.
The Dish: Suckling pig "David Chang"
Alexandra Raij, Txikito
We don't waste anything. We utilize every part of our ingredients, like with our turnip greens. They're great raw, they're great cooked.
The Dish: Corned ham hock terrine, carola potato, turnip greens, deviled egg, manzanilla en rama
Justin Smillie, Il Buco & Vineria
Cooking with a cast-iron pan gives you an incomparable crust, for both vegetables and meat. To clean ours, we just douse it in oil and salt, burn it out, then wipe it clean.
The Dish: Cast-iron-seared octopus, fingerling potatoes, fava beans, pimentón
Anita Lo, Annisa
If you want to cook rabbit at home, be sure not to overcook it—it's a very lean meat. You could braise it; that would help. And balance the leanness with fat, like with a classic French mustard cream sauce.
The Dish: Black sea bass sashimi, trout roe, yuzu pearls, and shiso
David Chang, Momofuku
For this event, we have to make our dishes at a small station setup instead of a full kitchen. It's important for us to plan ahead and figure out our limitations. It sounds simple, but it's a big part of cooking at home, too. When you're trying out a new dish or cooking for a large group, planning each step ahead of time will help you avoid making many mistakes.
The Dish: Roasted baby beets, sunflower hozon, duck prosciutto
Tom Colicchio, Craft
Moisten the polenta before putting it into the liquid. That helps, but you really are just going to have to whisk it a lot. And listen: There's polenta, and then there's polenta. Don't buy instant polenta—that's nonsense. We buy ours from Anson Mills.
The Dish: Porchetta: milk-fed pork, polenta, bitter greens, bacon jus
Frederik Berselius, Aska
You can use oats like you would use any other grain. They're not just breakfast.
The Dish: Oats and onions
Frank Falcinelli, Prime Meats
Listen to your grandmother…and listen to the Franks when they say our book is an easy guide to simply the finest. Oh, and check out this video.
The Dish: Vitello tonnato
Rich Torrisi, Torrisi Italian Specialties
Home cooks should practice their dish as much as possible. Practice, practice, practice.
The Dish: Duck maraschino
Kevin Pemoulie, Thirty Acres
A little bit of sweet helps balance things. We use more natural sweeteners, like maple syrup and honey—not refined sugar—in our savory dishes. There's an earthy, subdued sweetness that doesn't overpower things.
The Dish: Salt cod tortellini in kohlrabi broth
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