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10 Famous Chef Dishes Simplified

The recipes here—adapted and streamlined by the F&W Test Kitchen—are almost as well-known as the ultrafamous Best New Chefs who created them.

Daniel Boulud, BNC ’88

Chilled Spring Pea Soup

Recipe: Chilled Spring Pea Soup

Chef Way

Daniel Boulud’s deliciously light and clean-tasting soup—a mix of sweet peas, favas, pea shoots, snap peas and snow peas—is on the menu each spring at his Café Boulud in New York City.

Easy Way

Skip the labor-intensive fresh favas, as well as the snow peas and pea shoots. Instead, just use sugar snaps and frozen baby peas.

Thomas Keller, BNC ’88

Smoked Salmon Crisps

Recipe: Smoked Salmon Crisps

Chef Way

Thomas Keller’s salmon cornets (tuiles shaped into tiny cones and topped with crème fraîche and fresh salmon) are a famous kickoff to his luxe and whimsical meals at the French Laundry in Napa Valley.

Easy Way

Shaping the tuiles into cones is tricky and involves working very quickly with a cornet mold. Instead, leave the tuiles flat, like crackers. Top them with store-bought smoked salmon and crème fraîche.

John Besh, BNC ’99

August Chopped Salad

Recipe: August Chopped Salad

Chef Way

At his flagship New Orleans restaurant, August, John Besh makes his chopped salad with 21 different kinds of vegetables and herbs.

Easy Way

Cut the number of vegetables back to eight; the recipe is still fantastic.

Todd English, BNC ’90

Fig-and-Prosciutto Flatbreads

Recipe: Fig-and-Prosciutto Flatbreads

Chef Way

A staple at Todd English’s Olives restaurants is his much-lauded house-made flatbread, topped with sticky-sweet fig jam, pungent Gorgonzola cheese and salty prosciutto.

Easy Way

Use store-bought pizza dough instead of homemade.

Gale Gand, BNC ’94

Not Your Usual Lemon Meringue Pie

Recipe: Not Your Usual Lemon Meringue Pie

Chef Way

In her version of lemon meringue pie, Gale Gand forgoes a traditional crust for quick-baked sheets of sugared phyllo dough, which she layers with house-made lemon curd and a brown-sugar meringue. The recipe is a classic at Tru restaurant in Chicago.

Easy Way

Use good quality store-bought phyllo dough and lemon curd.

Nobu Matsuhisa, BNC ’89

Recipe: Black Cod with Miso

Chef Way

Nobu Matsuhisa of the Nobu restaurant empire recommends marinating the black cod in a good deal of the sake-miso marinade for 2 to 3 days.

Easy Way

Let the fish marinate overnight in just enough sake and miso to coat it.

Terrance Brennan, BNC ’95

Recipe: Red Snapper with Zucchini and Black Olive Tapenade

Chef Way

Terrance Brennan of New York City’s Picholine prepares red snapper with his signature combination of homemade tapenade and oven-dried tomatoes.

Easy Way

Save time with good-quality store-bought tapenade and sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil.

Tom Colicchio, BNC ’91

Recipe: Braised Short Ribs

Chef Way

Tom Colicchio is a master with meat, and his tender, succulent braised short ribs are much in demand at his three Craft restaurants. He marinates the short ribs along with vegetables in wine, then discards those vegetables and braises the ribs with fresh vegetables.

Easy Way

Use the same vegetables in the marinade and the braise.

Rick Bayless, BNC ’88

Recipe: Carne Asada with Black Beans

Chef Way

At Frontera Grill in Chicago, Rick Bayless serves this classic dish that combines grilled marinated steak, fried plantains, homemade black beans and fresh guacamole.

Easy Way

Trim the dish back to a simple duo of spice-marinated rib eye steaks and canned black beans served with avocado.

David Bouley, BNC ’89

Recipe: Honey-Glazed Duck with Savoy Cabbage

Chef Way

At Bouley, in New York City, David Bouley serves Long Island duckling with a sticky glaze made from chestnuts and acacia honey, as well as with wheat berries, garlic chives and gingery cabbage.

Easy Way

Streamline the recipe by preparing just the honey-glazed duck breast and the ginger-and-garlic Savoy cabbage with chives.

Published July 2008
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