Chef David Kinch
Chef David Kinch

David Kinch

F&W Star Chef » See All F&W Chef Superstars Restaurant: Manresa (Los Gatos, CA) A New Orleans native, chef David Kinch got his start as a 16-year-old cook at Commander’s Palace in 1977. He graduated from Johnson & Wales Culinary Academy in Providence, and spent much of the next two decades racking up kitchen experience around the world. He staged in Europe—at L’Espérance in St-Père-en-Vézelay, France, and Akelarre in San Sebastián, Spain, among other places—and consulted on an American restaurant at the Hotel Clio Court in Fukuoka, Japan. After working in New York, Kinch decamped to the West Coast, eventually opening his flagship, Manresa, in 1992. His first book, Manresa: An Edible Reflection, is scheduled to come out in fall 2013. Here, Kinch talks about food obsessions, Japanese steel and store-bought essentials. What dish are you most famous for?Into the Vegetable Garden: It symbolizes the exclusive relationship between Love Apple Farms and Manresa. Love Apple is a 22-acre biodynamic farm. We work together in deciding what to plant, and the farm supplies produce for us throughout the year. Although it changes with the seasons, the dish contains a mixture of raw and cooked vegetables and fruits from the farm. What is your favorite cookbook of all time?Great Chefs of France is a great introduction to the recipes and cooking styles of chefs like Alain Chapel and Roger Vergé. It came out in the late ’70s and was very influential on me as a young cook. What was the first dish you ever cooked yourself? Omelets, when I first started getting interested in food. A perfect omelet is an amazing thing. It’s all about the technique: control of the heat, the temperature of the eggs, the time it spends in the pan. For such a simple dish, you have to put so much into it to make it perfect. What is your secret-weapon ingredient? Different acids—salt, citrus and vinegar are the keys to all balance. Name one indispensable store-bought ingredient. Good dried durum-wheat pastas have a long shelf life. What is the most cherished souvenir you’ve brought back from a trip? Cooking knives from Japan. I usually add one or two to my collection each time I visit. They are very, very sharp and the craftsmanship is of the highest quality. Part of the adventure is picking up knives until you find the one that fits your hand perfectly and beautifully. What is your current food obsession? Abalone. I’ve been making an abalone-rice hot pot with spring onions, shiso leaves and Japanese rice. What is your favorite snack? Fresh fruit. I really like raw tomatoes and tomato-rubbed bread in the summertime.
Maybelle Punch
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This classy, Cognac-based drink is sweet and gingery. Slideshow: Perfect Punch Recipes 
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Goat cheese fans will love the tang that the cheese adds to this sweet and luscious gratin, with its crispy topping.
Chef David Kinch grills his lamb racks "low and slow" because it gives him full control of the cooking. The gentle heat keeps the meat juicy, while the rosemary-infused butter he periodically spoons over the racks adds flavor. He sprinkles the lamb with chopped herbs just before serving; the warm meat makes the herbs especially fragrant. More Lamb Dishes
David Kinch playfully combines two New Orleans classics: chicory coffee and beignets.
Kenwood Flip
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This New Orleans–inspired bourbon cocktail is bold and slightly bitter. Slideshow: More New Orleans Cocktails 
Gumbo z'Herbes
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New Orleans cooks traditionally make this smothered greens dish without meat for Good Friday. David Kinch, however, prepares his version with a generous amount of pork, as well as eight different kinds of greens, including carrot tops. Slideshow: How to Make a Gumbo Roux 
No shucking necessary: Once the oysters open on the grill, simply top them with David Kinch’s smoky, tangy butter. Slideshow: Great Grilled Seafood 
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This simple salad has a nicely nutty dressing made with both walnut and hazelnut oils. It's garnished with pleasantly spicy yellow tatsoi blossoms, when David Kinch has them in his garden. Slideshow:  More Green Salads 
Fresh Crab Escabèche
Rating: Unrated
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David Kinch's version of escabèche (marinated cooked seafood) combines sweet crab and crisp vegetables in a spiced-vinegar mix. Slideshow: Salads with Seafood 
No shucking necessary: Once the oysters open on the grill, simply top them with David Kinch’s smoky, tangy butter. Slideshow: Great Grilled Seafood 
This simple salad has a nicely nutty dressing made with both walnut and hazelnut oils. It's garnished with pleasantly spicy yellow tatsoi blossoms, when David Kinch has them in his garden. Slideshow:  More Green Salads 
Fresh Crab Escabèche
Rating: Unrated
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David Kinch's version of escabèche (marinated cooked seafood) combines sweet crab and crisp vegetables in a spiced-vinegar mix. Slideshow: Salads with Seafood 
Eggplant Dirty Rice
Rating: Unrated
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This spicy one-pot take on the New Orleans classic, dirty rice, makes a hearty main dish or an excellent accompaniment to a simple protein. Slideshow: One-Pot Meal Ideas 
New Orleans-style “barbecue” shrimp is made with Creole seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, beer and butter, but David Kinch switches out those flavors here for a garlicky Italian anchovy sauce known as bagna cauda. No actual barbecuing is involved in either version. Slideshow: More Cajun and Creole Recipes 
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Chef David Kinch loves to say that this hearty combination of crumbled chorizo, chunks of crispy potatoes and eggs—all cooked together in a big cast-iron skillet—is his Mexican-Californian twist on rösti, the classic Swiss fried-potato breakfast.
This elegant vegetable recipe is a simplified version of a dish David Kinch serves at his restaurant, Manresa, in Los Gatos, California. The stew combines tender carrots and turnips with black tea–soaked prunes in a flavorful soy sauce broth. More Light Stews