Whole Foods Market (Northeast Region)
Brief Bio: With twenty eight years of experience with a focus on seasonal American cuisine. My first job after graduating Johnson and Wales was Tavern on the Green; from there I have cooked in New Orleans, Palm Beach before returning home to New Jersey to open the critically acclaimed Stage Left in New Brunswick. Most recently I had opened a Brewpub near the Delaware Water Gap in PA, where I coined the phrase”Season-Ale” cuisine. My love of pairing food and beers came to the fore front hear with a beer centric upscale pub menu. After a couple of years at the Brewpub I returned to Whole Foods Market to my current position, where I do recipe development and culinary training. I also have the opportunity to help with new venues and presently I am working on the Tap Room in our Columbus Circle location. I also recently founded our local chapter of Slow Food Pocono Mountains where I serve as Chairman.
Why is the pairing of food & beer important to you? The synergy between food and beer make both better. Ever since the first beer Dinner I hosted in the early nineties I have been a mission to show people that beer not only pairs as well with food as wine but actually in most cases pairs better.
What got you started on pairing food & beer? In the late eighties a friend of mine was the chef of The Old Bay a New Orleans style restaurant with a great beer bar. While helping him with some recipes we began exploring the happy marriage of beer & food.
Who are the chefs you admire? I have great respect for all chefs that draw inspiration from their region and cook with the seasons. There are far too many to list.
What are some of your favorite pairings? Some of my favorite pairings over the years have been a Chestnut Bisque with Pumpkin Saison, Oatmeal Crusted Oysters served with Oatmeal Stout and a Malt Crusted Rack of Lamb with Barley Mushroom Risotto served with a Double Pale Ale .
Favorite style / beer to pair with? Belgium Sours probably top the list but I don’t know that I have one particular favorite style.
Favorite all time beer? Corsendonk Brown Ale
Feature dish in which you pair beer with food or use beer in preparing the dish? Rare Vos Braised Lamb Shanks with Crispy Gnocchi.
Thoughts on the future of food & beer in fine dining? We are at an exciting time where chefs and dinners are embracing how well food and beer play together. While the movement is strong now, I feel it is just the beginning. The local trend continues to blow up and I hope to see more chefs brainstorm with their local Brewmasters to work on flavor profiles in their beers. Things like lemongrass in wheat beers or toasted black peppercorns in porters.
Favorite restaurant in a city not your own? The French Laundry, Thomas Keller and his crew continue to raise the bar and inspire me and many other chefs.
Rare VOS Braised Lamb Shanks with Root Vegetable Ragout and Crispy Gnocchi
4.00 ea Lamb Shank
1.00 T garlic, granulated
1.00 T Onion, granulated
1.00 T Coriander, ground
0.25 t cumin, ground
0.25 t cinnamon
0.25 t cayenne
1.00 T salt
0.50 T black pepper
Root Vegetable Ragu
1.00 qt Celery root
1.00 qt carrot
0.50 qt parsnip
0.50 pt red onion
1.00 T rosemary
1.00 oz garlic
0.50 t ginger
1.00 ea orange zest
2.00 ea bay leaf
2.00 oz olive oil
2.00 oz tomato paste
16.00 oz Ommegang Rare Vos
2.00 oz fresh orange juice
48.00 oz beef stock
Combine ingredients from granulated garlic to black pepper, coat lamb shanks,
Allow to sit 1 hour
Sear in 425° oven for 30 minutes, discard any grease
Then top with ragout as prepared below
While shanks are roasting sauté root veg, with onion & garlic on high heat to brown then add tomato paste stir well and roast paste in pan until dark.
STIR FREQUENTLY, DO NOT ALLOW PASTE TO BURN
Add rosemary, ginger, orange zest bay leaf deglaze with Rare Vos and O.J.
Add stock, cover shanks bring to a boil
Cover tightly and bake in a 300 degree oven for 2 hours and 40 minutes or until lamb is fork tender and almost falling off the bone
For the Gnocchi heat 1″ of olive oil to 370 degrees or just before it smokes, drop gnocchi in oil and stir for I minute, ,remove with slotted spoon season with a bit of salt and put over ragout just before serving.