Best New Chef 2008: Tim Cushman
Best New Chef 2008: Tim Cushman

Tim Cushman

Why he won Because his wonderful, contemporary Japanese menu cleverly references his native New England. Born Millis, MA; 1953. Experience Trumps and 385 North, Los Angeles; corporate chef, Lettuce Entertain You, Chicago. Early food-science experiment Winning the fifth-grade science fair at his school with a presentation on maple syrup, which he’d tapped, boiled down and displayed in test tubes in different stages. How he got into cooking “I went to L.A. to work in the music business. I didn’t have a car, so I had to get a job that I could walk to. There was a small restaurant down the street called Courtney’s, and I started out as a prep cook there.” How he got to cook all over the world Working for Lettuce Entertain You. “I’d travel from Thailand to Mexico to Italy to Japan, doing research. Whenever they launched a new concept, I’d create the menu and open the restaurant. I’ve opened 60 restaurants around the world, from steak houses and sushi places to tapas joints and pizzerias.”
Known in Italian as mandilli, this delicious dish, from Tim Cushman at Manhattan’s Covina, consists of sheets of pasta coated with pesto sauce, stuffed with ricotta and topped with tomato sauce. It’s great with a berry-rich Piedmont red, like the 2014 Piazzo Barbera, Cushman says. To save time, you can use store-bought pasta sheets.Slideshow: Ravioli Recipes
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This wonderfully versatile dish that Tim Cushman at Covina in Manhattan pairs with a juicy Sicilian Nero d'Avola from Tamì can be served as a main course or a reimagined pasta salad. Key to the mixed mushroom topping is a splash of balsamic vinegar, which adds both tang and subtle sweetness.
Tim Cushman is a master at preparing raw fish. Here he dresses salmon with a little citrus-soy dressing, then tops it with fresh ginger and chives before bathing it in a hot sesame-oil mixture. The heat from the oil cooks the salmon just slightly, creating a luxurious texture and fragrance. More Salmon Recipes
The Good News With loads of fiber, folate, potassium and vitamin E, avocados are a genuine superfood. Tim Cushman purees them with roasted tomatillos, garlic and jalapeño to create a tangy guacamole-like dip that's great with baked tortilla chips. More Salsa Recipes