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Entries in Chef Talk (158)


Where Do Local CT Chefs Eat Out? Cody of Hoodoo Brown BBQ

Welcome to our 2nd installment of "Where Do CT Chefs Eat Out?" Do they prefer to go home and relax? Or do they like to go out? If the latter, what are some of their favorite places, locally and beyond? Do they might have any secret hole in the wall places and would they be willing to share these with us? We began our series with Chris Gonzales of Hapa Food Truck. Next up, we speak with Cody of Hoodoo Brown BBQ. 

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Where Do Local CT Chefs Eat Out? Chris Gonzales, Hapa Food Truck 

I've always wondered where the chefs from our favorite local restaurants eat when they finally get some time away from their busy schedules. Do they prefer to go home and relax? Or do they like to go out? If the latter, what are some of their favorite places, locally and beyond? Do they might have any secret hole in the wall places and would they be willing to share these with us? This column will be on ongoing feature. We start our series with Chris Gonzales of Hapa Food Truck

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An Interview w/ Chef Zac Young, PieCaken Creator + more!

Last Thanksgiving, the PieCaken took the world by storm!  A sweet tooth’s twist on the “turducken,” the all-in-one dessert includes Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Pie, and Apple Upside Down Cake layered together with cinnamon buttercream.  Kelly Ripa loved it so much that she featured it several times on her show.  CNN and The New York Times quickly followed suit.  This year, the PieCaken is upping the ante with nationwide shipping!

CTBites had the opportunity to sit down with the mastermind behind the PieCaken, Chef Zac Young.  Creative and outgoing, it’s fitting that he came up with such a whimsical idea.  Young appeared on Top Chef Just Desserts, was named a “Top Ten Pastry Chef in America,” and currently serves as Pastry Director of Craveable Hospitality Group.  Here are excerpts from our conversation.

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10 Questions with Fjord Fish Market's Jim Thistle 

Oh so many fish in da sea! And that’s only the beginning....what kind of fish do you want to prepare? Do you know how to prepare it? Oh, yeah, and where should you go to get this fish, short of heading out into open waters yourself? And wait, and here’s the $100,000 question: is the fish you are buying everything it says it is? Good grief. It’s almost easier dating and looking for *those* fish in the sea. Well, fear not, CTBites sat down recently with one of the Big Fish out there, Jim Thistle of Fjord Fish Market, and he helped guide us through seemingly murky waters...

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Foraging with Chef Bun Lai of Miya’s Sushi in New Haven

To Forage:  The word forage means to use wander or search for food or provisions. 

So when I was invited to James Beard nominated and passionate foraging chef, Bun Lai’s farm in upstate Connecticut for lunch, I half expected we would forage for much of our meal.  

When I saw on Instagram that Bun and his friend, Greg Grinberg from Actual Food had been diving the prior day for clams for lunch, I knew I was in for a treat. 

Chef Bun Lai is a passionate advocate for sustainable farming and eating and sources much of the food he serves at his New Haven sushi restaurant, Miya’s, from his own gardens, from the wooded forest around his 10 acre farm in Woodbridge, CT and from Long Island Sound.   His popular restaurant has been a New Haven destination for over 35 years, originally opened by his mother, who is still involved today. 

To visit with Bun is a lesson in locally sourced produce, with no pesticides or flavor or color enhancements.  He and Greg described foraging as, “the most natural way of eating… the “gathering” part of the hunter/gatherer”. 

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CT Chef & Chopped Champion Silvia Baldini Competes Again On Food Network’s ‘Chopped Champion

Chef Silvia Baldini, Founder of New Canaan, CT based culinary group Strawberry and Sage, will compete again on Chopped Champion, the Food Network’s hit series. On April 19st at 10 pm, Baldini will be one of the 16 returning champions chosen to battle it out for a chance to earn the Chopped Champion title and $50,000 in prize money. Four preliminary rounds will determine who gets a spot in the finale. But only one chef from among the four finalists will be named the winner.

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Interview w/ Chef Zac Young, Executive Pastry Chef @ David Burke Restaurants

We recently gave you a sneak peek at Savor: A Celebration of Wine, Food, & Spirits, that will unfold in Hartford from April 7-9.  The event’s Grand Tasting will give guests the chance to try hundreds of wine, spirits, and beers, indulge in dishes from area restaurants, and watch celebrity chef demonstrations. 

Celebrity Chef Robert Irvine will headline the event while proceeds go toward the Robert Irvine foundation.  A few weeks ago, he spoke with CTBites and told us about the foundation, upcoming Food Network shows, his varied food projects, and what to expect this year.

Savor just announced another addition to its celebrity chef line-up: Chef Zac Young.  Fun, gregarious, and whimsical, Young currently works as the Executive Pastry Chef for the David Burke Restaurants.  I became a fan of his when I watched him compete on Top Chef: Just Desserts.  This past holiday season, his Thanksgiving “PieCaken” became a bona fide sensation.

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10 Questions w/ The Whelk's Chef Anthony Kostelis

You eat at their restaurants, you love their food, but what do you know about the chefs who work to bring you culinary pleasure? Here are 10 Questions with The Whelk's Chef Anthony Kostelis. Find out what inspires him, his favorite chef, most memorable meal and more...Get to know your chef.

What made you decide to be a chef? 

I had always been involved in restaurants in some form.  My father had his own food distribution company.  My first jobs were working a few shifts in the kitchens at one of his customer's restaurants.  I moved on to the front of house when I was 18 or so.  That landed me at Scoozzi in New Haven for a few years.  It was there, that I decided to pursue cooking.  I remember looking at my class schedule when I was enrolled at Southern Connecticut State University; I was totally uninspired by my class list.  I just happened to have dinner later that day at my favorite restaurant at the time when I realized that food is what I am passionate about.  

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Michael Hazen Named Executive Chef at Pearl at Longshore Westport Opening March

Michael Hazen has been named Executive Chef at the highly anticipated new restaurant, Pearl at Longshore in Westport, Connecticut. Hazen, an innovative chef with over 20 years experience, most recently launched the concept for the successful Bartaco restaurants and prior to that spent years building the Barcelona restaurant brand. Chef Hazen has designed a menu influenced by fresh seasonal and sustainable cuisine, while honoring the stunning Westport waterfront and the community’s focus on a healthy lifestyle.
“The menu at Pearl is centered around the food people love to eat, but also has that element of surprise, something a guest didn’t know they wanted but are glad they had it,” said Hazen. “I wanted to create a restaurant that was simple and delicious, yet adds excitement to Westport’s restaurant scene.” 

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Alice Waters Speaks on "Slow Food Values in a Fast Food Culture" at Yale on February 2

Photo: Chez Panisse

Chef, author, and food activist Alice Waters will visit Yale University on February 2, 2016 at 4 p.m. to give a talk at the Yale Art Gallery titled "Slow Food Values in a Fast Food Culture." The talk is free and open to the public.

Waters is the owner of the ingredient-driven Chez Panisse restaurant that opened in 1971 in Berkeley, a founder of the Edible Schoolyard Project and a recipience of the National Humanities Medal in 2015.

For more information about the event, visit Yale News.

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