American Food Obsessions
When some people go to a restaurant, they like to order the most complicated-sounding dish on the menu. They see it as a test of the chef’s skill. But I think the ability to master a classic dish is even more telling. When Nobu Matsuhisa makes a chicken teriyaki that outdoes every other teriyaki I’ve ever had, I’m amazed. To me, a great chef can elevate the world’s most familiar dishes. At Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, Chris Bianco was among the first chefs in the US to make pizza an art form, using stellar ingredients and a wood-burning oven. TV chef and dim sum guru Martin Yan, who just opened the restaurant M.Y. China in San Francisco, prepares unbelievably good xiao jiao (shrimp dumplings). Read on for simplified versions of these recipes, plus an iconic burger.
Martin Yan Says
“The best part of my job is when a stranger comes up to me and tells me I inspired him.”
Chef Way Chef Martin Yan makes his delicate dumpling wrappers with cornstarch, wheat starch, water and shortening.
Easy Way Wonton wrappers, usually sold in the freezer section of the supermarket, make quick work of dumplings. Instead of mixing fresh bamboo shoots into the filling, as Yan does, home cooks can opt for canned ones.
Chef Way At Pizzeria Bianco, Chris Bianco’s custom-built wood-burning oven heats up to 800°.
Easy Way For home cooks, preheating a pizza stone in a 500° oven before baking the pizza creates a charred, crisp crust.
Nobu Matsuhisa Says
“Many chefs are either technically or artistically better than me, but I know my food has soul.”