Cooking For A Chef

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At first I wasn’t nervous. Or, at least, I told myself I wasn’t nervous. My friend Barrett Foa, who agreed to come on The Clean Plate Club, told me that his dream food guest would be Suzanne Tracht, the celebrated chef at Jar here in Los Angeles (also, a Top Chef Master). Before I knew it, Chef Tracht agreed to come over and I found myself in a position I’d never been in before: I was going to cook for a chef. I’d never cooked for a chef before. What would I make? How should I serve it? The night before the dinner, I was wide awake in bed, unable to fall asleep.

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Warm Me Up, Cool Me Down (Your Serving Dishes, That Is)

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There’s an eye-rolling threshold for home cooks when it comes to chef tricks. At some point, a chef will tell the home cook to do something that causes them (at least internally) to roll their eyes. “You want me to peel chickpeas before making hummus? REALLY?” That sort of thing. And I have to confess, even though the large majority of chefs I met writing my cookbook advised me to warm my serving dishes before serving hot food and chilling my dishes before serving cold food (like a salad), I secretly rolled my eyes at the idea. “I’ll never really do that,” I told myself.

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Taste of New York 2008

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After attending last night’s Taste of New York event, I can say, with great certainty, that this year is the year of the octopus. I lost my little pamphlet that tells you who was serving what, but off the top off my head I can tell you that Craft, Dell’anima, and Insieme were all serving the eight-legged beast and each version had something to recommend it.

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