Author Archives: Ommegang

Interview with Jonathan Van Sleet of MexiQ

Chef Jonathan Van Sleet

Jonathan Van Sleet
Executive Chef of MexiQ
3711 30th Ave, Astoria NY, 11103

Brief Bio Born and raised upstate NY, I’ve been cooking in restaurants since age 18. I came to NYC for employment opportunities and quickly landed a job in a new concept restaurant, MexiQ. Combining two of my favorite cuisines, Mexican and BBQ, with 48 draft lines of only craft beer.

Why is the pairing of food & beer important to you? Beer goes great with food. Not everyone realizes this and I would like to educate people about great beer and great food. Traditionally wine has been the dominate beverage choice to pair with food. I feel beer offers a wider range of flavor profiles and can hold up better to spicy foods. I don’t always like to drink wine, but I always like to drink beer.

What got you started on pairing food & beer? I’ve always liked a good beer with food, but when I landed this job at MexiQ, it was part of the concept all along. That’s when I started creating beer dinners; four course dinners paired with one brewery’s beers. This gives me an opportunity to show the different flavor profiles one brewery can offer. As I drink a beer I ask myself “what would I like to eat right now?” That is usually the beginning to a new dish.

Who are the chefs you admire? Julieta Ballesteros, Rick Bayless, Brian Molino

What are some of your favorite pairings? Smoked Seabass Flautas / Ommegang BPA; Churros with Blueberry Honey Sauce / Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’; Honey Lavender Cheesecake / Brooklyn Blast (Brewmaster Reserve)

Favorite style / beer to pair with? That’s like asking who your favorite child is.

Favorite all time beer? Ommegang Tripel Perfection

Feature dish in which you pair beer with food or use beer in preparing the dish? St. Louis Pork Ribs – hickory smoked and braised with beer and banana leaves; Cowboy Beans – Pinto beans cooked with bacon, chorizo, beef, jalapenos, onions and garlic, simmered in beer; Baja Fish Tacos – Beer battered and fried grouper served in a warm corn tortilla with guacamole and a side of grilled pineapple salsa; Beer Battered Onion Rings

Thoughts on the future of food & beer in fine dining? Beer, especially craft beers, are becoming more mainstream these days. The pairing with food is becoming more popular as well. As people are educated and exposed to great beers, the pairing with food is inevitable. At MexiQ we have 48 craft beers on draught and we offer tastings, flights, pints and growlers. Our goal is to turn people on to new beers and we offer suggested pairings for each menu item. I find that customers are very appreciative when a bartender or server guides them to a new beer that they enjoy.

Favorite restaurant in a city not your own? Ole – Boston


3# lean beef, cubed
1½# pork sholder, cubed
½# pork belly, cubed
1½oz kosher salt
½oz sugar
¼c Coleman’s dry mustard
1T fresh ground coriander
1T garlic powder
1pt beer, preferable a brown lager with medium hops

1. Grind beef and pork through small die into a bowl set in ice. Chill mixture immediately after grinding.
2. In a small mixing bowl combine all dry spices. Spread over meat and mix with hands until roughly distributed.
3. Transfer to mixer bowl and mix on medium speed with paddle attachment. Slowly pour beer in while mixer is running. Let mixer run for about 1-2 minutes until the sausage appears sticky.
4. Saute a small portion of the sausage and taste, adjust the seasoning if necessary. Thoroughly chill the sausage before you continue.
5. Stuff the sausage into hog casings. Twist into 6 inch links. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to cook.
6. Roast sausage to an internal temperature of 150 degrees F (65 degrees C). For added flavor, lightly smoke before roasting.

Draft Magazine Annual Great Grill-Out Recipe Contest

Draft Magazine is currently running their Annual Great Grill-Out Recipe Contest where readers sent in their recipes which incorporate beer into the recipe. They are now down to 10 delicious recipes with a wide range of themes and styles of beers used. The great brewers and chefs out there have inspired these contestants which have resulted in these wonderfully imaginative recipes.

Click here to Vote

• Grilled Pork Chop with spicy peach chutney with Wheat beer
• “Pepe Nero” Peppercorn Strip with Goose Island Pepe Nero
• Texas Smokey Summer Jerky with stout
• Spicey Pork Tenderloin Framboise with St. Louis Framboise
• German Beer Cheese Stuffed Burgers with Applewood Smoked Bacon Mayo
• Cherry & Raspberry Beer BBQ Sauce Soaked Bratwursts with raspberry beer
• Thai Steak with Blueberry-Peanut Slaw with blueberry beer
• Baltic Porter Ribs with Baltic Porter
• Bourbon Stout Pork Tenderloin with Bourbon aged stour
• Spicy Saison Grilled Chicken with Hennepin Saison

These people truly understand that Great Beer Deserves Great Food. Be sure to stop by the page and vote for your favorite recipe. If you have recipes or perfect pairings that you have developed, let us know and you may be featured on the blog as our guest chef.

Interview with Frederick De Pue of Smith Commons

Frederick De Pue
Executive Chef of Smith Commons DC
1245 H-Street NE Washington DC

Chef Frederick De Pue

Brief Bio: Chef Frederik De Pue is known throughout DC’s dynamic food scene as an international trend setter and he translates his global culinary experience through his unique menus, crafted for a sophisticated and modern palate.Born and raised in Belgium, Chef Frederik trained at the Hotel School Ter Duinen and worked at several top European restaurants. He worked under Chef Alain Ducasse at Louis XV and later became Sous Chef at Alain Chapel. In 1998, at age 21, he joined Yves Mattagne’s Sea Grill in Brussels and worked there for three years. In 2001, he traveled to DC to become the Executive Chef of the European Commission Delegation Ambassador. Chef Frederik was highly praised in the diplomatic circles where he would spend the next five years creating one of the most exceptional dining tables in the Embassy world.Quickly inspired by his impressive guests, Chef Frederik recognized the opportunity to expand beyond DC’s Embassy Row. Chef Frederik and his partner launched 42˚ Catering in 2007, naming the company after the 42nd parallel that connects many of the greatest gastronomic cities in the world. Since then, 42˚ Catering has served events ranging in size from intimate dinner parties to lavish society extravaganzas. Chef Frederik’s passion in the kitchen pushes him to find perfection in every dish he creates. Guests are consistently delighted by the small subtleties of an enticing rich sauce, the whimsy of an elaborate garnish and the depth and decadence of a dessert.

Why is the pairing of food & beer important to you? Due that I’m from Belgium, we have grown up doing so, it’s a great combination, due that we have so many different beers that can give such a unique flavor to each dish makes it a must having on a restaurant menu.

What got you started on pairing food & beer? The uniqueness of each beer that goes super well with either fish or meat

Who are the chefs you admire? Alain Chapel, Yves Mattagne,

What are some of your favorite pairings? Love to pair venison, squab with a nice dark ale

Favorite style / beer to pair with? A blanche beer!

Favorite all time beer? Delirium Tremens

Feature dish in which you pair beer with food or use beer in preparing the dish? Braised Rabbit with hickory smoked bacon, prunes and Abbey ale jus.

Thoughts on the future of food & beer in fine dining? People still need to learn about it, I think younger generation will do so over time, due that most beers are available all over.

Favorite restaurant in a city not your own? Central, Black Salt

For 4 guests
1 rabbit
1 bottle Ommegang Abbey Ale
3 oz smoked bacon
1/2 onion
1/2 carrot
8 dried prunes
1 spoon full flour
Veal stock
2 laurel leaves
2 branches of oregano

Take one whole rabbit and marinated overnight in Ommegang Abbey ale, take out of the beer and cut the rabbit in 6 equal piece, dry up the meat and season with salt and pepper, Sautee in little oil, once obtained a nice coloration add, 3 oz of smoked bacon, ½ onion thin sliced, ½ carrot, 8 dried prunes and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Add a spoon full of flour and dry above fire. Deglaze with Abbey ale and bring to a boil. Add some veal stock, 2 laurel leaves, 2 branches of oregano and let simmer for 45 minutes. Serve with some mashed potatoes

Interview with Chef James Sanders of Brickyard

Chef James Sanders

Chef James Sanders
Executive Chef of Brickyard Gastropub
785 Ninth Avenue NY NY 10019

Brief Bio: After graduating with a degree in Culinary Arts from the New York Art Institute (formerly New York Restaurant School) in 1997 he then went on to receive a bachelor’s in hotel, restaurant and institutional management from Weidner University. Chef James has refined his skills as the sous chef at LaGriglia and as the Executive Chef of the Meyersville Inn. Sanitation, proper techniques and kitchen management have been guiding principles throughout his career. Maintaining a strong focus on local, organic and sustainable cooking has always been a passion. As Executive Chef at Brickyard Gastropub he has used this focus to pair both great food with great beer. One such item is Ommegang Abbey braised short ribs with both the braising liquid and the finished sauce containing the caramel noted Abbey.

Why is the pairing of food & beer important to you? I feel beer can be paired with food even more appropriately than wine. There are a lot more flavor profiles to work with and it complement so many different styles of food.
What got you started on pairing food & beer? Really, the craft beer movement. I started to look at beer differently. There have always been great beers out there but I feel like it’s much more pronounced now.

Who are the chefs you admire? Eric Ripert, Andre Soltner

What are some of your favorite pairings? Porters with desserts and wheat beers with citrus salads or fish

Favorite style / beer to pair with? I’m open to all styles….it just needs to work with the food

Favorite all time beer? Too hard to say…Craft Beers are evolving and developing new flavors all the time…really hard to settle on just one.
Feature dish in which you pair beer with food or use beer in preparing the dish? One such item is Ommegang Abbey braised short ribs with both the braising liquid and the finished sauce containing the caramel noted Abbey.

Thoughts on the future of food & beer in fine dining? I think this will be more than a trend…beer naturally lends itself to food. As more and more people are exposed to it, it will continue to grow

Favorite restaurant in a city not your own? The Mansion @ Turtle Creek, Dallas TX

Ommegang Abbey Braised Short Ribs
4 8-10oz Short Ribs
1 Bunch Celery
2 Yellow Onion
4 Carrots Peeled
1 Gal Beef Stock
1 Gal Ommegang Abbey
1 Cup Fresh Herbs (use herb you like)
¼ Cooking Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Method:Salt and pepper the short ribs. In a large pot brown the short ribs. Once browned remove and let rest. In the same pot add remaining oil. Add medium diced onion, carrots, celery and cook until slightly browned. Add Ommegang Abbey and beef stock and fresh herbs. Place short ribs in liquid and braise on a low heat (slight simmer) until a knife will go through the short rib with ease. Let rest and slice. Reduce cooking liquid by half and puree in a blender. Taste for seasoning.

Interview with Chef Luther Fedora of the Horse and Hound Gastropub

Chef Luther Fedora

Luther Fedora
Chef / Owner of Horse & Hound Gastropub
625 West Main Street
Charlottesville, VA 22903

Brief Bio: Chef Luther and his wife Brooke Fedora are the founders of the Horse and Hound. Both Brooke and Luther trained at the Culinary Institute of America. Luther followed that training up with several years in London working as a chef, as well as serving as a sommelier for classic London spots such as the Savoy and Drones.

Why is the pairing of food & beer important to you? It is a lot of fun, it helps to inspire new combinations of flavors that you may not have thought of and there are so many amazing beers to choose from that can live up to great food.

What got you started on pairing food & beer? My wife and I opened up a Gastropub in Charlottesville, we are really into beer and have 12 draught options that rotate on a regular basis. We work hard to get different, small production beers that no one else is selling. This type of atmosphere lends itself to beer and food pairing.

Who are the chefs you admire? Marco Pierre White & Gordon Ramsey

What are some of your favorite pairings? This depends on my mood but I will say that Chimay Bleue 2008 Grande Réserve paired with roasted chestnuts, formager d’affinois specialty double-crème, fig jam & a fresh baguette will blow your mind. This is something we discovered a few years ago but I keep coming back to it. My wife also made a Plum Crisp with black pepper mousse & Fuller’s Vintage Ale which was spectacular.

Favorite style / beer to pair with? I tend to favor Belgium styles like Mardesous Triple or Malheur 12 but I am really happy to work with lots of different styles of beer.

Favorite all time beer? This really does depend on my mood. I can’t say I have a favorite. I just love and appreciate good beer and appreciate what a light beer like Ommegang Hennepin Farmhouse Saison can taste like on a hot afternoon or how Schneider Aventinus Eisbock can warm you up and pairs really well with chocolate.

Feature dish in which you pair beer with food or use beer in preparing the dish? I made a dish called Flemish Carbonnade which was slow braised beef in Obamagang ale & prunes, smashed red bliss potatoes, & roasted vegetables. This dish was outstanding! It was rich and full of flavor.

Thoughts on the future of food & beer in fine dining? I think this type of pairing has begun to catch on and a lot more restaurants will be exploring this.

Favorite restaurant in a city not your own? Marcel’s in Washington D.C. and for beer I love Belgo in London.

Wellshire Black Forest Bacon wrapped Dates stuffed with Union Jack IPA pine nut butter and soaked in Firestone Walker Brewing Company Union Jack IPA

Yield: serves 6
18 dates (dried & pitted)
9 slices Wellshire Black Forest bacon
1 cup pine nuts
2 cups 2 Tablespoons Union Jack IPA beer
Salt & pepper

1) Soak dates in 2 cups IPA beer overnight
2) Blend pine nuts in Cuisinart until creamy
3) Add pinch of salt & pepper, 2 T IPA beer
4) Place pine nut butter in small zip lock & pipe mix into soaked dates
5) Wrap dates in ½ piece of bacon each & skewer with a tooth pick
6) Bake dates in oven at 300 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden & crispy
7) Serve warm & with Union Jack IPA beer

Note: Be creative any bacon, nut or beer can be substituted in this recipe

We do beer dinners a lot and truly enjoy the creativity that beer allows. Check out our latest beer pairing that we put together for Charlottesville’s July 2011 Restaurant week on our website at