Best New Chef 2013 Alex Stupak
Best New Chef 2013 Alex Stupak

Alex Stupak

Won Best New Chef At Empellón Cocina, Empellón Taqueria, New York City Why He’s Amazing Because despite the critical acclaim he received for his modernist desserts at some of the country’s top restaurants, Stupak has traded in his pastry tools to make extraordinary tacos. Born 1980; Leominster, MA Culinary School The Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park, NY) Background WD~50 (New York City); Alinea (Chicago); The Federalist, Clio (Boston) Quintessential Dish Tacos of beer-braised tongue with árbol chile salsa On Opening a Mexican Restaurant “Here’s the story: A pastry chef likes Mexican food, has never cooked it, but decides to do it anyway.” Essential Ingredient Empellón Taqueria goes through more than 250 avocados each day to make its excellent guacamole. First Job Prep cook at Bobby Chic’s Italian Café in his hometown of Leominster, Massachusetts. “I’d clean all the equipment, peel potatoes, make piccata butter. I’ve come a long way.” Secret Skill “I’m a really really really good omelet maker. I’m awesome at three-fold French omelets. But I also cooked at Denny’s, and that’s not how they make them there. Put it this way: If my two restaurants tanked—if this Mexican restaurant thing doesn’t work out—I could get a job at a diner and slay it.” Inspirations Grant Achatz and Wylie Dufresne. “I hold them both as personal models. But before I worked with either of them, the person I idolized the most was Albert Adrià. I got a copy of his pastry book, Los Postres De El Bulli as a gift. I became obsessed with the book. I would come in to Clio on my days off so I could make recipes from it.”Story of Discovery “I knew that Alex Stupak was a pastry genius from the desserts he made at Manhattan’s WD-50 and Chicago’s Alinea. So I was surprised when he opened a taqueria—especially because he had no Mexican cooking experience. Stupak is an exacting chef, though, and I should’ve known that Empellón Taqueria and the more ambitious Empellón Cocina would be sensational. Stupak makes the best salsa I’ve ever had, blending smoked cashews and chipotle, and also my new favorite guacamole, studded with sea urchin so it’s extra-luscious. He brings equal ingenuity to tacos stuffed with ingredients like house-brined short rib pastrami. ‘It’s reverse colonization,’ he says. ‘It’s what happens when Mexico settles in New York.’”—Kate Krader
Chipotle Chicken Tacos
Rating: Unrated
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These supereasy chicken tacos from chef Alex Stupak are packed with tasty shredded thigh meat, tomatoes and spicy jalapeños. Slideshow: More Taco Recipes 
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Árbol Chile Salsa
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Alex Stupak's spicy, tangy salsa, made with 50 dried árbol chiles, is an amazing all-purpose hot sauce. According to Stupak, the salsa lasts indefinitely and even improves with age. Slideshow: Sensational Salsas 
Toasted Pumpkin Seed Dip
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Alex Stupak prepares this outstanding Yucatán-style dip (called sikil pak in Mayan) by pureeing pumpkin seeds (sikil) with roasted tomatoes (pak), garlic and chile. Typically served with tortilla chips, it also makes a healthy vegan accompaniment for vegetables. Slideshow: Great Vegan RecipesRecipe from Food & Wine America's Greatest New Cooks 
Tamal Pie
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This recipe makes enough braised pork filling for both one 10-inch tamal pie and steamed tamalesMore Mexican Recipes
Steamed Pork Tamales
Rating: Unrated
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In this recipe, New York chef Alex Stupak shows how to prepare steamed banana-leaf-wrapped tamales. He also gives two variations: fried until crisp (a great trick for reviving leftover steamed ones), and baked as a large pie. This recipe makes enough braised pork filling for both the steamed tamales and one 10-inch tamal pieMore Delicious Mexican Recipes More Pork Recipes
Red-Chile-Braised Pork
Rating: Unrated
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Use this recipe to prepare Alex Stupak's Steamed Pork Tamales, Fried Pork Tamales or Tamal PieMore Pork Recipes
"Seafood with cheese is taboo for many cooks," Alex Stupak says, "but Mexican cuisine disregards that rule." So, too, does Stupak by pairing Jack cheese with plump shrimp for his queso fundido, a Mexican rendition of fondue. Recipe from Food & Wine America's Greatest New Cooks 
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In Mexico’s Puebla region, cooks usually prepare tinga (a zesty, tomatoey stew) with chicken, pork or vegetables. Alex Stupak stirs chorizo into the traditional sauce, then adds albóndigas (meatballs) to create a hearty dish that looks Italian but tastes undeniably Mexican. Slideshow: Amazing Meatball RecipesRecipe from Food & Wine America's Greatest New Cooks 
Instead of smoking salmon, Alex Stupak ingeniously adds smokiness with chipotles and mezcal (a tequila-like spirit), then serves the silky salmon with a crisp sorrel salad drizzled with a lime and cream cheese dressing. “Either a bagel or a tortilla would be suitable with this dish,” he says. Slideshow: Sensational Salmon RecipesRecipe from Food & Wine America's Greatest New Cooks 
"Seafood with cheese is taboo for many cooks," Alex Stupak says, "but Mexican cuisine disregards that rule." So, too, does Stupak by pairing Jack cheese with plump shrimp for his queso fundido, a Mexican rendition of fondue. Recipe from Food & Wine America's Greatest New Cooks 
In Mexico’s Puebla region, cooks usually prepare tinga (a zesty, tomatoey stew) with chicken, pork or vegetables. Alex Stupak stirs chorizo into the traditional sauce, then adds albóndigas (meatballs) to create a hearty dish that looks Italian but tastes undeniably Mexican. Slideshow: Amazing Meatball RecipesRecipe from Food & Wine America's Greatest New Cooks 
Instead of smoking salmon, Alex Stupak ingeniously adds smokiness with chipotles and mezcal (a tequila-like spirit), then serves the silky salmon with a crisp sorrel salad drizzled with a lime and cream cheese dressing. “Either a bagel or a tortilla would be suitable with this dish,” he says. Slideshow: Sensational Salmon RecipesRecipe from Food & Wine America's Greatest New Cooks 
Alex Stupak believes that his style of modern Mexican food is the result of reverse colonization. "It's what happens when Mexico settles in New York," he says. His version of fideos are spicy, smoky, deliciously creamy and a snap to make. Plus: More Best New Chefs 
Masa for Tamales
Rating: Unrated
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"Tamales are often made by Mexican matriarchs to feed a crowd at parties or weddings," says chef Alex Stupak.Use this recipe to prepare Stupak's Steamed Pork Tamales, Fried Pork Tamales or Tamal Pie. More Mexican Recipes
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Alex Stupak calls parsley-flecked green chorizo the “vegetal cousin” of the more commonly seen red variety. Here, he sautés the crumbled sausage with kale and fingerling potatoes for an exceptional taco filling. Slideshow: Terrific Taco RecipesRecipe from Food & Wine America's Greatest New Cooks 
Habanero Salsa
Rating: Unrated
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Habanero chiles are incredibly fiery but their naturally fruity flavor is delicious with the orange juice in the salsa here. To make the salsa even sweeter (which helps balance the heat), the chiles and onions are roasted before being blended with the other ingredients. Slideshow: Recipes for Spice Lovers 
Guacamole with Pistachios
Rating: Unrated
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“My favorite flavor is crunchy,” Alex Stupak says. To add that texture to his excellent, otherwise classic guacamole, he stirs in toasted chopped pistachios, which also contribute a delicious nuttiness. Slideshow: More Guacamole RecipesRecipe from Food & Wine America's Greatest New Cooks 
Chef Alex Stupak makes extraordinary guacamoles for his two New York City restaurants, Empellón Taqueria and Empellón Cocina. Here, he cleverly mixes in pickled jalapeños, which add both heat and tang to the mashed avocados. Slideshow: Great Guacamole Recipes 
Fried Pork Tamales
Rating: Unrated
New!
This recipe make enough braised pork filling for both the fried tamales and one 10-inch tamal pie. Slideshow:  More Mexican Recipes
Alex Stupak created this light, airy egg white frittata because he wanted to offer a brunch dish at Empellón Cocina that was healthy yet still delicious. To serve alongside, he makes a warm salsa ranchera (Spanish for “ranch-style sauce”) by blending roasted tomatoes, garlic and jalapeños. Slideshow: Great Brunch Recipes Recipe from Food & Wine America's Greatest New Cooks 
When he makes this stunning salad at Empellón Cocina, Alex Stupak roasts baby carrots with mole poblano, a complex sauce that includes dried chiles, raisins and chocolate. Here, the carrots are roasted simply with smoky canned chipotles in adobo, then served with peppery watercress and cooling yogurt. Slideshow: Great Carrot Recipes 
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In Mexico, cooks serve this quick casserole of fried tortillas and salsa as a brunch dish with eggs. Alex Stupak omits the eggs and instead combines hen-of-the-woods mushrooms with a spicy, rich salsa made from pasilla chiles, resulting in a light but satisfying vegetarian main course. Plus: More Brunch RecipesRecipe from Food & Wine America's Greatest New Cooks 
“These are the best pancakes you will ever have,” Alex Stupak says. They’re light, fluffy and full of corn flavor from the masa harina (corn flour). The recipe is from his wife, Lauren Resler, the pastry chef at the Empellón restaurants. Slideshow: Perfect Pancake RecipesRecipe from Food & Wine America's Greatest New Cooks