Category Archives: Scallops

i8tonite: Two-Michelin Starred Chef Suzette Gresham from San Francisco’s Famed Acquerello

i8tonite: Two-Michelin Starred Chef Suzette Gresham from San Francisco's Famed Acquerello“When opportunity knocks on your door, you have two choices (and) if I had waited until I felt ready, I would’ve missed what has turned out to be the greatest opportunity of my life,” says Chef Suzette Gresham, referring to Acquerello, the almost 27-year old Italian restaurant she co-owns with Giancarlo Paterlini. A friend had tipped off Gresham that there was an opening for an executive chef under the management of Paterlini. At the time, as a young chef, Gresham didn’t feel qualified, but decided that failure was nothing more than not meeting someone else’s expectations. She applied for the job – and the rest, as they say, is culinary history.

i8tonite: Two-Michelin Starred Chef Suzette Gresham from San Francisco's Famed AcquerelloSince the opening of Acquerello in San Francisco’s posh Nob Hill neighborhood, the recognition and accolades just keep coming. Acquerello received its first Michelin star in the introductory 2007 Bay Area guide. In 2014, Gresham received the second star, making her the third woman in the United States and the second in San Francisco to receive this prestigious honor.  Chef Gresham is also only one of two women to receive the American Culinary Federation’s “Antonin Careme Award” – the other was Julia Child.

Chef Gresham remains true to her belief that you must understand the very basics of cooking before you can become a great chef.  She takes an innovative approach to Italian cuisine at Acquerello, allowing her curiosity, creativity, and passion for all things Italian to manifest in an innovative manner. However, she remains true to the heart of Italian cuisine: clean fresh ingredients, sourced locally, prepared lovingly and with attention.

i8tonite: Two-Michelin Starred Chef Suzette Gresham from San Francisco's Famed AcquerelloWhile Gresham believes in flavor above all, she prides herself on the definability of her food. “If you close your eyes and put the fork in your mouth, you should still be able to tell what you’re eating,” she comments. In the end, there are no tricks to the cuisine at Acquerello, no attempt to dazzle beyond the inherent capability of the plate’s ingredients.

Over the course of her thirty-five year career, and beyond the laurels, Chef Gresham’s approachable manner has allowed her to mentor over sixty interns and apprentices at Acquerello. It’s her belief that she has had more than her share of the “good stuff” in life. In giving back, Gresham shares her knowledge and commitment to turning out the very best in every person who works in her kitchen. In an industry dominated by men, Chef Suzette Gresham has become one of the most influential chefs in the world.

Chef’s Questionnaire (with a nod to Proust):

i8tonite: Two-Michelin Starred Chef Suzette Gresham from San Francisco's Famed Acquerello

How long have you been cooking? Chronologically: For two-thirds of my life.

What is your favorite food to cook?  At home: Soup. Japanese Chiriashi. Hainan chicken. Duck Larb. Or, whatever my daughters request.

What do you always have in your fridge at home? I am a condiment whore. I can cook in almost any cuisine at a moment’s notice based on what I have on hand. I am never without a variety of imported butter, mustards, multicultural pickled items, truffle oil, and oodles of hot sauces.

What do you cook at home? From one end of the spectrum to the other: Seafood sashimi and crudos to long-cooking braised items like pig’s feet with cannellini beans.

i8tonite: Two-Michelin Starred Chef Suzette Gresham from San Francisco's Famed Acquerello
Chef Suzette Gresham and co-owner Giancarlo Paterlini

What marked characteristic do you love in a customer? Curiosity.

What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a customer?  Closed mindedness.

Tupperware, Rubbermaid, or Pyrex? All three: Clear plastic containers with matching lids, Vintage Pyrex, heat resistant Rubbermaid spatulas.

Beer, wine, or cocktail? All three: Chilled, fresh homemade beer, Italian Barolo wine, and a “Mountain Man” cocktail or other crafted drinks created by Christopher Longoria.

Your favorite cookbook author? Seriously? There are cookbooks in every room of my house, including the bathroom.  I want to hear everyone’s voice.

i8tonite: Two-Michelin Starred Chef Suzette Gresham from San Francisco's Famed Acquerello
Papparedelle with Duck Ragu

Your favorite kitchen tool? At home: Super sharp, pointed scissors. At work: “tickets” which are micro tongs. (A gift from a past employee carried back from Spain.)

Your favorite ingredient? Monocultivar Olive oil.

Your least favorite ingredient? Lavender. Although I can cook with it.

Least favorite thing to do in a kitchen? Stand around.

Favorite types of cuisine to cook? Global.

Beef, chicken, pork, or tofu?All three: Wagyu Beef seared, Chicken stock with Matzoh balls, Nonna’s skin-on pork roast, Tofu skins stuffed with mushrooms.

i8tonite: Two-Michelin Starred Chef Suzette Gresham from San Francisco's Famed Acquerello
Truffled Leek Torta with Seasonal Mushrooms, Sunchokes and Vegetable Glaze

Favorite vegetable?Leafy greens: Swiss chard, rapini, spinach, and all bitter greens.

Chef you most admire? Massimo Bottura: He has never relented in following his dreams. He is true to himself AND his food.

Food you like the most to eat? Great naked salads of wild greens. Unusual sushi. Properly seared Foie gras. Big pearl Royal Osetra caviar.

Food you dislike the most? Sea slugs.

How many tattoos?  As a Chef and a woman… I always leave something to the imagination.

And if so, how many are of food? Notice above. I listed “chef” first… you can decide.

Recipe: Acquerello’s Scallop Crudo with Carrot Vinaigrette

i8tonite: Two-Michelin Starred Chef Suzette Gresham from San Francisco's Famed Acquerello
Scallop Crudo with Carrot Viniagrette

*Chef Suzette Gresham notes: The photo of the scallops is beautiful. It is meant to inspire and not restrict. It seemed to be one of the most do-able of our recipes and is open to interpretation. The Scallops create a clean canvas with which to pair your favorite flavors. The carrots are a surprising and colorful yet underrepresented vegetable in an elegant setting. It just shows that with a little mindfulness, what you can create. You don’t need to have exotic ingredients to create something delicious, as long as you are creative.

The recipe can be adapted any way you like and you can use whatever tools you have. For example you can poach, sautee, or steam the scallops if you like. You can use beets instead of carrots. Or any veggie, Drizzle with olive oil. You don’t really need xatham gum. Make it your own. This recipe is just meant as a template.

Recipe/Instructions

Scallops:

  • Size 16/20’s scallops
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon zest
  • Salt

Place scallops, olive oil, lemon zest, and salt in vac bag. Vacuum seal. Place vacuum-sealed scallops in a circulated water bath at 54C for 25mins.  After cooked, ice down until 33F. Slice scallops.

Carrot Vinaigrette:

  • 2C fresh carrot juice
  • 1T Apple cider vinegar
  • .2% xathan gum
  • Salt to taste

Blend carrot juice in vita-mix with apple cider vin. Add xathan gum. Season to taste.

Red Pepper gel :

  • 6 Large bell peppers juiced
  • 2 tien tsin chilies
  • Chili Flakes
  • Gellan gum 1%
  • Xathan gum .02%
  • Salt to taste

Bring bell pepper juice and tien tsin chilies to boil in small pot, turn off heat cover and steep for 10 mins. Strain out chilies with fine mesh strainer. Weigh reserved juice in grams. Add 1% gellan gum and bring to boil to activate. Cool until set in metal 3rd pan.

Once set, blend gel in vita-mix with a small pinch of chili flakes. If need, add water to get desired consistency. Add Xanthan gum just to keep gel from weeping. Pass gel through fine mesh strainer to remove chili flake particles. Vac to 100% in Cryo-Vac machine in metal 6pan to remove suspended air and brighten color.

Carrot ‘Flowers’:

  • Carrot tips, about 3″ in length.
  • Fry oil

Slice carrot tips into rounds on mini mandolin, bring fry oil up to 250F add sliced carrots.

Fry until carrots curl up. Drain carrot flowers off onto paper towels and place in dehydrator for 2 hours to crisp up.

Garnish:

Pulsed Marcona Almonds, High quality finishing oil to drizzle, Micro Greens/Herbs

The End. Go Eat

i8tonite with Chef Barret Beyer:TV’s Reality Chef Opens Up About Cooking Sober

Barret Beyer 2Chef Barret Beyer epitomizes new beginnings and change, inspiring millions with his cooking and actions. While working in New York City’s financial industry and boom era during the aughts, Beyer was arrested ten times for drug charges, even overdosing in 2006. For ten years, from 1998 until 2008, he was in and out of jails. However coinciding with the birth his daughter in 2008, the reality TV star finally got sober.

Beyer said, “I couldn’t do it anymore. I wanted to be a father she could look up to.” He did.

Leaving the world of finance and clanging cells bars behind, the love of cooking become the inspiration for his life’s next course. Always a home cook, Beyer attended culinary school in his native Long Island. Before even graduating the ambitious New Yorker already had a job as a sous chef.

Barret BeyerBeyer then made it to “Hell’s Kitchen” with the legendary kitchen screamer Gordon Ramsey. His favorite television experience. Although, he didn’t win the show, Beyer realized that working in the kitchen is the work he loves.

It’s that drive to succeed and healthy ambition which drove him to participate in “Cutthroat Kitchen”, another on-camera cooking competition. “I was the first one cut. It was for not putting the chicken on a Chicken Caesar Salad,” the chef says while chuckling at his folly.

From his experience on reality TV, the cheffing professional has become a consultant opening a multitude of East Coast restaurants, receiving many accolades along the way. Food & Beverage Magazine and Chef Works have both named him “Chef of The Month”, in 2013 and 2014, respectively. With his new found celebrity status, Beyer volunteers or works non-profits events around the country including the Long Island Hospitality Ball, spokesperson for “Bullyin’ We’re Kickin it”, a Rocky Marciano Jr. organization and the annual fundraiser for Michelle’s Place Breast Cancer Resource Center in Temecula, California.

With eight years of sobriety and five years of cooking, it’s clear Chef Beyer has changed his life.

 Chef’s Questionnaire:

clamsHow long have you been cooking? I just came up on my 5th year anniversary. I started culinary school this past December, five years ago.

What is your favorite food to cook? I love cooking comfort food but elevating it to the next level.

What do you always have in your fridge at home? Gatorade, water, bacon, butter and French vanilla creamer

What do you cook at home? For myself, anything that can be done in 3-5 minutes, but when I’m trying to come up with recipes, it’s no holds barred.

What marked characteristic do you love in a customer? People who aren’t afraid to try new things

What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a customer? The opposite of the above answer. LOL.

Tupperware, Rubbermaid, or Pyrex? Tupperware at home. Rubbermaid for my equipment and Pyrex in any kitchen.

Beer, wine or cocktail? To drink, I would say none of them; however to cook?  (I use) all of them.

Your favorite cookbook author? I honestly never had a favorite cookbook author because I rarely use them.

Your favorite kitchen tool? My knives. Isn’t that every chefs’ favorite?

ShrimpYour favorite ingredient? Hmmmmm. I have a few. Grape seed oil because of its high smoke point, Himalayan pink salt because of its mineral value, and garlic.

Your least favorite ingredient? Curry. I had neighbors that abused it.

Least favorite thing to do in a kitchen? Standing still. I love cooking.

Favorite types of cuisine to cook? American classics with maybe a fusion of Latin or French

Beef, chicken, pork or tofu?  Pork. I believe in low and slow to achieve flavoris maximus. (Ok, I made that word up.)

Favorite vegetable? Corn and Cauliflower

Chef you most admire? Marco Pierre White, Gordon Ramsay and Anthony Bourdain

Food you like the most to eat? Pizza, pulled pork and ramen… and sometimes all at the same time

Food you dislike the most? Anything with curry

How many tattoos? And if so, how many are of food? 14 total. None of food yet I am not a fan of colors. I do have a tattoo on my forearm that says mise en place – everything in its place.

Chef Barret Beyer’s Scallops with Wasabi Cream

ScallopsIngredients

  • U10 Scallops (largest available)
  • 1/4 head cauliflower
  • Heavy cream
  • Wasabi powder
  • One corn on the cob
  • One red pepper
  • Peppadew
  • Grenadine
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Vinegar
  • One small can pineapple juice 6 oz
  • One tbs chili flake
  • Two tsp honey
  • Micro-greens

Cooking Instructions

For the gastrique:  Place vinegar, pineapple juice, about 1/3 cup grenadine, sugar, red chili flake, honey, 3 tbsp. water and about 5 Peppadew peppers in pot. Let it reduce for about 20 minutes on high heat. Blend with an immersion blender. Should be the consistency of syrup; if it’s not, place back on heat and reduce more.

On medium heat put about 1/4 cup of heavy cream in a medium pot and add about 1/4 of a head cauliflower and cover. Let simmer until cauliflower is cooked through and tender; using an immersion blender, puree cauliflower. Add about 1 oz of wasabi powder, 3-4 Peppadew peppers and 2 tbsp. of juice from the jar while mixing.

Cut corn kernels from the cob, tossing with oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for about 8 minutes at 425 degrees. Put in a bowl with small diced red pepper, about 1 tbsp. of grape seed oil salt and pepper. Mix and set aside. In a large sauté pan, put heat on high and let the pan get hot. Add grape seed oil and let the oil heat up.

Put scallops on a paper towel to absorb the moisture, so they are dry, and then dash them with salt and pepper. Place the scallops in the pan and let them get a good sear on one side for about 60 seconds. Flip the scallops and leave them on high heat for about another 30 seconds.  Then turn off heat and remove the pan from stove. Put the scallops on a clean paper towel to absorb oil.

On a plate, place a spoonful of the wasabi cauliflower under each scallop and place corn salsa on top of the puree. Add scallop and top with micro greens.  Drizzle the gastrique about the cauliflower. Serve.

The End. Go Eat.