Tuesday, October 11, 2011

“If you start out with something great, less has to be added. The ingredients are the basis of any beginning,” says Chef de Cuisine Gregory Gourdet.

This statement, made by a friend and former colleague, is one I completely relate to, especially when I peruse the pazar here for fresh fruits and vegetables.

A roka salad is simple and peppery just with a drizzle of good Turkish olive oil and a dash of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Mandalinas need no adornment and are best eaten fresh. What could be prettier than the ruby-like nar exploding in the pazar stalls lately!
Just spoon out the pomegranate seeds and eat like them!
I was fortunate to work with Gourdet when I started working in the pastry department at Jean-Georges Restaurant in New York City in 2005. Back then, he was a sous chef, but he moved up the ranks in the Vongerichten empire and later headed out to the Northwest. Today, he is Chef de Cuisine at Departure Restaurant & Lounge in Portland, Oregon, where he focuses on using organic and seasonal ingredients in his Asian-inspired cuisine.

Check out this new Intel video of Gourdet’s market strolls and restaurant, which was recently posted on YouTube. This documentary clip features Gourdet at the helm in his restaurant and the colorful plates that he and his staff creates.

Someday, when we’re back in the U.S., I hope to visit Gourdet’s restaurant - wherever he may be then. However, if you are in the states now, definitely stop by his place or one of the other restaurants I mention below.

I have to give another shout out to my good friend and fellow pastry chef, Emily Wallendjack, who is the pastry chef at Veritas in NYC. This wine-centric restaurant recently received its first Michelin star. Congratulations!

Prior to joining Veritas, Wallendjack was the pastry chef at Cookshop, where she created the restaurant’s popular ice cream cart featuring fun and seasonal flavors. (We first met and worked together at Jean-Georges.) Jason and I have enjoyed sampling her yummy desserts during our NY visits, particularly the “Dark and Stormy” sticky toffee pudding cake we had last December!

Can’t wait to see what my friend is up to in the kitchen when I return this December!

See the complete list of 2012 Michelin-starred restaurants in NYC here.

Of course, I could never forget my former boss and mentor, Johnny Iuzzini, Executive Pastry Chef at Jean-Georges. His mantra of using fresh, local and seasonal ingredients will always stay with me!

Iuzzini’s colorful desserts are always playful and sensational! You can find find Iuzzini on television as the head judge on Bravo’s Top Chef Just Desserts.
August 2010 - I dug my fork into Iuzzini's summer dessert tasting when I ate lunch
in the Nougatine dining room at Jean-Georges. Yum!
Can’t wait to visit one of my favorite foodie cities in just 2 months! I’m really dying for a slice of NY pepperoni pizza!

Afiyet Olsun!

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