The Why Guys
Iconoclastic restaurant pro Brooks Headley (Pastry Chef at Del Posto, New York City) questions conventional wisdom to push the dining scene forward.
Why do restaurant desserts need to be so complicated?
They really don’t have to be so complicated. Is baking a science? Well, yeah, there is some science involved, sort of, but my grandma did not really care about that, she just wanted to make awesome cookies. And she did! Often. Remember, sweet stuff is still food. It needs to be seasoned and cared for, the ingredients championed, the fruit gushingly embarrassed and red-faced at its plump ripeness. Desserts need to be wildly delicious. And simple, in the absolute best possible way.
Negative space is my muse. The stuff that ain’t there. The stuff that does not exist, the stuff that makes all the other stuff, like, totally, way cooler. As the amazing Chris Bianco, of Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, once said: “The greatest ingredient in cooking is restraint.” The dude speaks the truth.
Related: Ultimate Guide to Dessert Recipes
Beautiful Art-Inspired Desserts
Desserts from the Best New Pastry Chefs 2013
Photo © Sara Julian (Holy Smoke). © Lee McLaughlin (The Smoked Olive).
Courtesy of oliveoillovers.com (Castillo de Canena)
These olive oils are a clever way to add smokiness to all types of food.
Holy Smoke (left)
Smoked over hickory and pecan wood. $15 for 8.5 oz; holysmokeoliveoil.com.
The Smoked Olive Sonoma (middle)
Fruity and a little spicy. $24 for 6.75 oz; thesmokedolive.com.
Castillo de Canena (right)
Fantastic on roast potatoes. $21.50 for 250 ml; oliveoillovers.com.
Try it in a Recipe: Smoky Salmorejo
This chilled, no-cook Spanish soup is similar to gazpacho but blended instead of chopped. Smoked olive oil adds meatiness to the vegetarian dish. GET THE RECIPE »
Related: Lazy Grilling: Shortcuts to Smoky Flavor
F&W’s Summer Grilling Guide
The Why Guys
Iconoclastic restaurant pro Pip Hanson (Head Bartender at The Bachelor Farmer and Marvel Bar, Minneapolis) questions conventional wisdom to push the dining scene forward.
Why do cocktails need to be cold and strong?
Strong alcohol flavors don’t really complement food, and ice-cold drinks aren’t very aromatic, so at Marvel Bar and our sister restaurant, The Bachelor Farmer, we have created something new: hyper-diluted, lightly chilled cocktails.
Here’s the thought process: Like whiskey, cocktails open up as water is added. Hyper-diluted cocktails are extremely subtle and clean, especially compared with the bitter, boozy standard of most cocktails. Similarly, I sometimes prefer whiskey cocktails after they’ve warmed up a bit, because they become more flavorful. So we serve some of these drinks only lightly chilled—we aim for 55 degrees, cellar temperature—to maximize aroma. Once you adjust to the difference in intensity, you find incredible complexity and purity in these drinks. They can be tantalizing.
Related: Cocktail Recipes
Minneapolis Travel Guide
F&W Best List
Here, some of F&W's favorite spice shops in the country.
Spice Ace, San Francisco Peppercorns are usually a simple purchase. Not so at Spice Ace, which carries more than 20 varieties, including the rare Micronesian Pohnpei peppercorn, considered the best in the world—and, at $35 per ounce, one of the most expensive. In total, Spice Ace carries more than 300 spices, all packaged in recyclable glass jars and ground in small batches to maintain freshness. spiceace.com.
Spice Galore, Miami Florida’s tropical climate allows the owners of this shop to grow some of the items they sell, like kaffir lime leaves. Another highlight is the salt selection, with 55 varieties, including flavors like Merlot and green tea. Customers can learn how to use whatever they buy in the large demonstration kitchen, where instructors teach classes on topics like spice-based ice creams. spicegalore.com.
Spice Revolution; Westchester, NY Linzi Jean Fastiggi sells nearly 500 herbs and spices at local markets, and her entire inventory is now online. spice-revolution.com.
Related: Lessons from Spice Whiz Lior Lev Sercar
How to Cook with Spices
Lessons from Salt Guru Mark Bitterman
Where some chefs see trash, Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly saw a signature dish: a salmon fish head, marinated in miso, maple syrup and garlic. At the NYC spot Chez Sardine, the dish represents the restaurant’s guiding principle—a Japanese izakaya infused with a trippy, gonzo spirit. “We sell more than a dozen a night,” says Brunet-Benkritly, adding that most diners need some help figuring out where the best bits of meat are. Here, his guide to getting the most out of each head.
For advanced eaters only. The eyeball resembles a soggy blob of fat—with a dark chewy pupil at the center. “It’s not my thing,” he says.
“Not as big as the steak-like cheeks on cod, but still a nice, firm section of meat. Our salmon are all from very cold water, so they are nice and fatty.”
An underrated section, the jowl becomes crispy and chewy, “like fish jerky.”
Collar & Neck
A good area for the squeamish diner—there’s a lot of meat here, and it doesn’t take too much excavating to retrieve it. “You’ll see grilled fish collar at a lot of Japanese restaurants.”
“I like to start here: Just tear away the fin and eat it like an artichoke—you can scrape off the salty-sweet marinade with your teeth.”
Related: Recipes for Whole Fish
Sustainable Seafood Guide
Fish and Seafood Recipes
Ways to Act Like a Chef