Chef Stuart Brioza
Chef Stuart Brioza

Stuart Brioza

F&W Star Chef » See All F&W Chef Superstars Restaurants: State Bird Provisions (San Francisco) Experience: Rubicon (San Francisco); Savarin (Chicago); Park Avenue Café (Chicago); Tapawingo (Ellsworth, MI) Education: Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park, NY) What was the first dish you ever cooked yourself? Probably a big bowl of popcorn with fresh garlic butter and Parmesan cheese. I still cook that today. What is the most important skill for a cook to have? I would say for sure knowing how to layer flavor, striking balance within dishes with acids and salts and creaminesses and textures. It's a really important skill. What's your favorite cookbook of all time? Flatbreads & Flavors, by Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford. It's sort of like a wanderlust adventure through these rural parts of the world that celebrate breads and dishes that center around these breads. I love the Sichuan flatbread—it's this great ropy kind of flatbread. It's supereasy. We've adopted a version of that for the restaurant. What do you eat straight out of the fridge? My ultimate favorite—are you ready for this?—is a corn tortilla that I toast over the gas burner. I rub it with butter, and then I stuff it with sauerkraut and Pecorino. I eat this over the sink because it drips. It's a guilty snack. What's the most cherished souvenir you've brought back from a trip? In Cambodia a few years ago, there was this roadside stand selling palm sugar. They made these little bowls out of coconuts, right on their property. The palm sugar didn't last very long, obviously—we used it. But the coconut shell totally did! Now I use them as salt containers. Instead of saying, “Pass the salt,” it's “Pass the coconut.” What's your hidden talent? Prior to opening State Bird I had a ceramics studio where I make some various plates and bowls and things like that, just for pleasure and a hobby. I've done it for the past five or six years now. When I was the chef at Rubicon, I would go once a week, on Tuesday mornings, to clear my mind, and be taught something versus being the one teaching. When Rubicon became no more, I just filled my time with that. I do have a passion for handmade anything, folk art, for sure. I did plates and bowls and what I call the “blate,” which is a bowl-plate. I did some things on the wheel and then I started getting really into mold making and making my own molds. Then developing recipes for glazes. I got into the science of it. I bought a number of different elements that go into glaze making. I guess I got pretty serious. We started off using some of it at State Bird, but they all break. Replacements are a bitch.2003 Best New Chef Bio Why Because of his commitment to bringing the Mediterranean to Michigan through his use of the most amazing local ingredients. Born Cupertino, CA, 1974. Education The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY. Experience Savarin and Park Avenue Cafe, Chicago. Why he became a chef "In high school, I had a job in a restaurant. I used to skip classes to work there. The chef taught me how to make confit, how to break down a chicken. I'd cut my hands every which way. But I never called in sick." Favorite warm-weather activity Riding his motorcycle in search of ramps (wild leeks). "In early spring, you can pull over and walk 10 feet off the road, and everywhere you look you'll see tons of ramps." Most memorable dinner Michel Bras, a three-star restaurant in France. "You stay overnight and listen to the cowbells outside your room. I was like, Where am I? I'm in a three-star restaurant, listening to cow bells." Won Best New Chef at: Tapawingo, Ellsworth, MI
The Anchovy Bar, sister restaurant to State Bird Provisions in San Francisco, celebrates the tiny, humble fish in a host of ways, including this made-to-share snack board of quality Spanish anchovy fillets, ripe heirloom tomatoes, and fresh Japanese cucumbers. "The build-your-own aspect of this dish makes the simplicity work so well," says co-owner Nicole Krasinski, who opened the restaurant with her husband, Stuart Brioza, a 2003 Food & Wine Best New Chef. "Everything is meant to be clean and fresh and offer a great balance to the salty anchovies." Source a variety of quality tinned anchovies from caputos.com to taste the differences in salinity and texture. This build-your-own toast board is ideal for entertaining or a light alfresco meal. Try using any leftover tomato vinaigrette tossed with pasta as a simple no-cook sauce.
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This meal-in-one recipe is a more wholesome take on pork fried rice. Instead of stirring in the usual scrambled egg, Brioza tops the dish with an oozy poached egg.Delicious Pork RecipesRecipe from Food & Wine Best New Chefs All-Star Cookbook
"This is the nicest dish to have on the table," says Brioza about his over-the-top roasted potatoes with creamy cheese sauce. He uses the locally made semi-firm cow-milk cheese Wagon Wheel from Cowgirl Creamery in the Bay Area; you can easily substitute another good melting cheese, like raclette.
Stuart Brioza's corn cakes are puffy in the center and crispy at the edges, with lots of crunchy corn inside and melted cheese on top. He loves Mt. Tam, a triple-cream cow's milk cheese from California's Cowgirl Creamery; St. André is delicious here, too. Slideshow: Corn RecipesRecipe from Food & Wine Best New Chefs All-Star Cookbook 
Stuart Brioza has a brilliant way of preparing brussels sprouts: Rather than cook them whole, he thinly slices them, then sautés them with pancetta, shallot and garlic until they're shredded and soft. More Seafood Recipes
Roasted Broccoli with Fondue
Rating: Unrated
New!
Instead of steaming or boiling broccoli, Stuart Brioza roasts it to bring out its sweetness, then serves a generous portion with crunchy croutons and a light, creamy Fontina cheese fondue for dipping. Delicious, Quick Side Dishes
Chef Stuart Brioza sears sweet summer peaches in pancetta with fresh basil leaves for a crispy, juicy hors d'oeuvre. They would also be an unexpected addition to a frisée or baby escarole salad. More Peach Recipes
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No-Bake Chocolate Custard
Rating: Unrated
2
This supersilky chocolate custard appears regularly on the dessert menu at Rubicon in San Francisco. Nicole Krasinski suggests serving it slightly chilled.Plus: More Dessert Recipes and Tips
To showcase the firmer fruit from his two adopted Elberta trees, Stuart Brioza created this succotash of corn, bell peppers and—in place of the usual lima beans—peaches. The succotash would be delicious with grilled lamb or swordfish as well as the duck breasts here. More Duck Recipes
Chef Stuart Brioza sears sweet summer peaches in pancetta with fresh basil leaves for a crispy, juicy hors d'oeuvre. They would also be an unexpected addition to a frisée or baby escarole salad. More Peach Recipes
No-Bake Chocolate Custard
Rating: Unrated
2
This supersilky chocolate custard appears regularly on the dessert menu at Rubicon in San Francisco. Nicole Krasinski suggests serving it slightly chilled.Plus: More Dessert Recipes and Tips
To showcase the firmer fruit from his two adopted Elberta trees, Stuart Brioza created this succotash of corn, bell peppers and—in place of the usual lima beans—peaches. The succotash would be delicious with grilled lamb or swordfish as well as the duck breasts here. More Duck Recipes