Archive for the ‘Chefs’ Category
Chef Jennifer Booker
Meet one of the ten chefs who will compete in the 3rd Annual Golden Onion
By Hope S. Philbrick
Chef Jennifer Hill Booker, owner and executive chef of Your Resident Gourmet in Lilburn, Ga., was named a Georgia Grown Executive Chef in 2013. She writes a weekly newsletter, is a contributing columnist and recipe developer for several magazine titles, and hosts Basil Radio Show. She partnered with Hard Rock Café-Atlanta for its culinary series, served as a culinary expert for Williams-Sonoma, and taught at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts-Atlanta. A member of Les Dames d’Escoffier International, Booker is co-chair of its farm and garden initiative. After earning a B.A. from The University of Tulsa, she completed Oklahoma State University-Okmulgee’s Culinary Arts program and later earned a Cuisine de Base Certificate from Le Cordon Bleu-Paris. She led Grayson Technical High School’s efforts to earn accreditation through The American Culinary Federation, making it the first school in Georgia to boast such honors.
Her new cookbook Field Peas to Foie Gras: Southern Recipes with a French Accent, is set to be released by Pelican Publishing House on September 1—and is already available for pre-order at Amazon.com.
Have you ever competed in a cooking competition before?
I have done several. In culinary school we had mystery baskets and it was much harder than the rules for Golden Onion in that we didn’t know what ingredients we’d get so we couldn’t prepare. Also, when I was teaching at Le Cordon Bleu I liked doing competitions with other chefs, just hanging out as friends.
You’ll be competing in Golden Onion for the first time this year. What motivated you to enter?
A couple of different things. As a Georgia Grown Executive Chef I wanted to get in there and promote one of our state commodities. Plus I have friends who have competed previously and they had nothing but good things to say about it. I think it will be lots of fun.
You’ll be preparing “Vidalia Onion, Wild Mushroom & Gruyere Tartlet.” What considerations went into creating your recipe?
My cookbook will be out later this year and I want to showcase some things in the cookbook and also bring in Vidalia onions and show how versatile they are no matter what cooking style you’re using. I’ll show the sweetness of the onion by caramelizing it then pair it with the meaty richness of mushrooms. I’ll also show how a Vidalia onion can be a pickle. The pickling acid will balance that sweetness and cut through the fat.
How long did it take you to develop the recipe, which must include a Vidalia onion and be prepared in an hour at the competition?
Technically since it’s from the cookbook maybe a year, but to think up what I wanted to do for Golden Onion I knew within 15 minutes that I’d do the tartlet.
The day before the competition, how will you prepare? Will you find it hard to sleep that night?
The day before I’ll be doing some cooking demonstrations at an expo, so I’ll need to pack up two days before the competition. What I do is run through everything in my mind—unpacking, setting up, cooking, plating, judges’ tasting and winning. I’ll be prepared that way. I’ll be excited but fine. I know the value of sleep.
Tell me more about Your Resident Gourmet.
I founded Your Resident Gourmet in 1995 while living in Germany as a way to continue cooking while we were overseas and it has grown into a culinary company with cooking classes, demonstrations, menu consulting and now a cookbook. We do personal chef services and intimate catering—we could do a couples’ anniversary dinner, a girls’ night out, but generally not weddings [or other large events].
In addition to booking a private party, how might readers get a taste of your cooking?
We have a product line, Jelly’s Jams & Condiments—my daughter’s name is Janelle and her nickname is Jelly. Right now we have a cranberry orange relish which is wonderful on sandwiches as well as roasted and grilled meats. We also have a red onion confiture, a sweet and sour pickle relish. You can just click on over to YourResidentGourmet.com and pick them up.
We’re switching over to organic ingredients and I’m retesting the recipes with the organic produce.
That’s interesting. You need to retest the recipe?
When switching suppliers I test for quality and flavor profile. In my experience, it will be better. Organic produce tends to be fresher and have brighter color.
Is there any dish that you’re most known for?
I get credited for healthy cooking and ‘farm to table,’ which I call ‘local and seasonal.’ I don’t know if I’m known for a dish as much as a style of cooking, which I call Floridian cuisine—with lots of tropical fruits, vegetables and fish—and classical French.
As a Georgia Grown Executive Chef, how do you define ‘local’?
Local to me is within a 100-mile radius. I try to do my very best to shop and eat local as well as seasonal. Remember with seasonal you’re able to can, preserve or freeze products in season so you can enjoy them when they’re out of season—like Vidalia onions.
What do you most like about cooking with Vidalia onions?
The versatility. I can add them to a dish for sweetness, pickle them to add sourness, I can eat them raw—and I love that fact, I love them chopped on top of beans and greens. And they don’t make you cry!
Vidalia onions add a great flavor to every savory dish without the bite or bitterness of other onions. I look at Vidalia onions as a delicacy because I can only get them while in season and only from Vidalia, Georgia. I make a point of using them and have created specialty dishes just so I can use more Vidalia onions.
Aside from Vidalia onions, what are your favorite Georgia ingredients?
I definitely love pecans and I’m very excited about our Georgia Grown olive oil.
When you’re at home, after a long day, what’s your favorite thing to eat?
I’m a country girl at heart, so I love beans—pinto beans, Northern beans and more. I love slow-cooked savory beans and ham hocks or greens with chow chow on top.
Your Resident Gourmet
Chefs reveal recipes for Golden Onion contest in Vidalia
04/15/2014 01:56:00 PM
Courtesy Vidalia Convention & Visitors Bureau
For the third year, Georgia chefs are scheduled to compete for the Golden Onion traveling trophy at the Vidalia Onion Festival. Ten Georgia chefs who are competing this year for the Golden Onion traveling trophy at the Vidalia Onion Festival have revealed the recipes they will prepare for the contest.
Ranging from chickpea and Vidalia onion pancakes to halibut studded with Vidalia onions, the recipes all showcase the Georgia state vegetable, according to a news release from the Vidalia Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, which is a sponsor of the April 27 festival.
Chefs will have one hour to prepare recipes and are required to provide eight plates of their entry dish. Five plates will be presented to judges, one reserved for photography, and two plates will be raffled off for spectators to taste, according to the release.
Recipe booklets featuring recipes prepared in the third annual golden Onion contest will be available at the festival in Vidalia, Ga., for $10 each.
Dishes will be judged on the basis of taste (50%), oral presentation (5%), visual presentation (10%), creativity (15%), overall use of Vidalia onions (15%), and following the recipe submitted during the application process (5%).
The winning chef earns bragging rights and the traveling Golden Onion trophy, as well as $500 cash. Second place takes home $250 and third place receives $100.
The chefs competing this year and their announced recipes are:
Chef Costanzo Astarita, executive chef at Baraonda Ristorante & Bar in Atlanta, will prepare “Georgia shrimp Vidalia onion remoulade, chickpea Vidalia pancake, Vidalia onion fennel slaw, and Vidalia onion ginger oil.”
GA Grown Executive Chef and owner and executive chef of Your Resident Gourmet, Chef Jennifer Booker, of Lilburn, will prepare “Caramelized Vidalia Onion & Wild Mushroom Tartlets.” Chef Jennifer will caramelize Vidalia onions adding them to meaty wild mushrooms that have been finished with fresh cream and placed in a flaky crust. She plans to top this delightful tartlet with wild greens and pickled Vidalia onions!
Chef Brian Justice, chef and owner of Tasteful Temptations Café in Brunswick, who was awarded second place during the second annual Golden Onion competition, will prepare “pan-seared ahi tuna on a bed of pickled Vidalia onions and fresh ginger topped with avocado aioli and thin-sliced Vidalia onion sprouts served with a baby green bundle wrapped with a cucumber sash on top of a red pepper emulsion, dressed with Vidalia onion and Georgia peanut dressing and garnished with soy foam, sesame and wasabi crusted pecans, and crispy sweet Vidalia tobacco onions.”
Chef Pano Karatassos, executive chef of Kyma in Atlanta, will prepare “Vidalia onion studded halibut,” which will have a Vidalia onion crust and be slow poached in Vidalia onion infused olive oil and accompanied by Vidalia onion stew, and a Vidalia onion salad.
Chef’s legacy inspires menus
Posted: 4:45 p.m. Monday, April 14, 2014
BY CAROLYN O’NEIL – FOR THE AJC
The main course at the Edna Lewis Foundation Scholarship Tribute Dinner at Atlanta’s Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts was Cumin and Fennel Spiced Lamb with Fava Bean Succotash with White Pepper and Goat Cheese Ice Cream.
Do you ever wonder where chefs get ideas to create such delicious dishes? It could be just-picked produce at a local farm or a journey to explore exotic ingredients. But more often than not, culinary inspiration comes from collaborating with a talented chef colleague, learning by the side of a supportive mentor or admiring the work of a gifted protegee. Each of those scenarios fit the tribute to late chef Darryl E. Evans, who died of lymphoma at the age of 52 in February.
Darryl Evans was executive chef at the Four Seasons Hotel in 1997. File photo Nick Arroyo.
Tom Catherall, of Here to Serve Restaurants, first hired Evans at the Cherokee Town Club as his apprentice through the American Culinary Federation. “He was a mirror image of me in regards to food,” he says. “Whatever I made, he could make it exactly the same. I didn’t have to worry about the kitchen when Darryl was there.”
Chef Charlie Hatney, of the City Club of Buckhead, was a longtime colleague of Evans: “The main dish includes succotash to reflect his Southern roots, but I used fava beans to show he was trained in the European style.”
Evans held executive chef positions in area kitchens including the Athens Country Club, the Four Seasons Hotel and Villa Christina. He gained national acclaim as one of very few chefs of color to achieve such success, and as the first African-American member of the U.S. Culinary Olympic Team, he brought home four gold medals.
His professionalism went beyond the menu. “He never had an ill word for anyone and was just as supportive of the dishwashers as he was of other chefs,” Hatney says.
History tastefully preserved
The Edna Lewis Foundation, dedicated to honoring African-American culinary heritage, is based in Atlanta. A chef, cookbook author and teacher, Lewis was a champion of Southern cookery. “There was a time when cooks were known only as domestics, you know as the help,” says the foundation chair, chef Joe Randall, of Savannah. “The American Culinary Federation worked hard to get the designation changed to professional status, which is important for the career success of all chefs.”
The contributions of Lewis, Evans and Randall may be getting more attention on a national level. A guest at Sunday’s dinner, Nichole Green with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, says, “We’re curating interviews and information to showcase foodways in an exhibit.” One of the pieces the Smithsonian is working to obtain is a portrait of Hercules, President George Washington’s African-American chef. “It’s in a museum in Spain right now, but we’d like him to return to Washington,” Green says.
Carolyn O’Neil is a registered dietitian and author of “Southern Living: The Slim Down South Cookbook.” Email her at email@example.com.
FIELD PEAS TO FOIE GRAS: Southern Recipes with a French Accent
By Jennifer Hill Booker
Building a culinary foundation on her Mississippi roots and a farm-to-table concept, Chef Jennifer Hill Booker creates a unique take on contemporary Southern cooking. Combining agrarian approaches and down-home style with classical-French techniques, Booker reinvents Southern cuisine. These 135 recipes are the culmination of summers and holidays spent in Charleston, Mississippi, at the family farm.
For both the novice and experienced cook, Booker has the perfect recipe to satisfy your nostalgic taste buds. With chapters devoted to everything from breakfast foods to vegetables to pork dishes, Booker presents a fresh and versatile perspective on contemporary Southern food. From comforting Cracklin’ Bread and flaky Buttermilk Biscuits to elegant Winter Pumpkin Soup and innovative Fig Stuffed Chicken Livers, Chef Jennifer Hill Booker will introduce you to an array of recipes that use French techniques to elevate familiar flavors.
In addition to recipes, Booker shares personal stories and photos of her family—raising chickens, butchering hogs, and tending the garden. The easy-to-follow recipes, food-pairing suggestions, and delectable photographs make this a must-have cookbook for any kitchen.
About the Author
Jennifer Hill Booker is the executive chef and
owner of Your Resident Gourmet, LLC, a
personal chef and catering company. Booker
earned a bachelor of arts degree from the
University of Tulsa, an associate degree from
Oklahoma State University, and a certificate
from Le Cordon Bleu-Paris. A former culinary
instructor and a culinary arts program director
, she is well qualified to write about proper
cooking techniques, flavor combinations, and
food pairings. Booker lives in Lilburn, Georgia.
About the Photographer
Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn is a commercial photographer who has been shooting interiors and food for more than twenty years. She enjoys the challenging aspects of her craft—the technical functions of a camera, the importance of lighting, and attention to detail. Her profession allows her to travel, meet various types of people, and try delicious food. Llewellyn lives with her husband in Atlanta, Georgia.
FIELD PEAS TO FOIE GRAS
Southern Recipes with a French Accent
By Jennifer Booker
Photography by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn
COOKING / Regional & Ethnic / American / Southern States
COOKING / Regional & Ethnic / French
COOKING / Regional & Ethnic / Soul Food
192 pp. 8x 9 1/4
50 color photos Index
ISBN: 9781455619726 $26.95
E-book ISBN: 9781455619733 $26.95
Pre-orders available at Amazon.com
Ham & Bean Soup
yields 6 servings
2- 14.5 oz cans low sodium beans, your favorite, rinsed
1- 14.5 oz diced tomatoes
8 oz smoked ham, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 cups water or vegetable stock
2 large gloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pinch cayenne, optional
Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pan over medium heat, bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Adjust with salt and pepper and serve piping hot.
This quick and easy version of Pasta Puntanesca is perfect for a weeknight meal and is sure to be a crowd pleaser!!
Yields 4-6 servings
1-28 ounce can peeled tomatoes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/3 cup caper or sliced green olives
4 cup fresh spinach or 1 pound frozen spinach
sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
1 pound whole wheat pasta, your favorite brand
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Bring 2 quarts water to a rolling boil. Add pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes, drain, Do NOT rinse, and set aside.
Heat saute pan on medium heat, add oil and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minutes. Add tomatoes and crush with spoon; bring to a boil.
Add capers and spinach. bringing back up to a boil, stirring constantly.
Add cooking pasta, season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with shredded Parmesan cheese.
Serve piping hot.
I recently catered a Legislative Spouses luncheon in the GA Grown test kitchen. I had a blast and my Pimento Cheese Spread was a big hit-so I decided to share!
Your Resident Gourmet’s Pimento Cheese Spread
This Southern inspired cheese spread is perfect for grilled cheese sandwiches, as a dip with fresh cut apples or just smeared on a cracker!
Yields 4 cups
1 ½ cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mild Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup hickory smoked bacon, cooked and cut into ¼ pieces
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 large garlic clove, minced OR 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4 cup minced onion OR ¼ teaspoon onion powder
1 (4 ounce) jar diced pimento, drained
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Place all of the ingredients into a large bowl and using a rubber spatula, mix until well combined. You can also mix your pimento cheese spread with an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment.
Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
Hot Food to Warm the Soul!
This recipe is a great way to incorporate fresh vegetables into your meal. Having trouble finding fresh vegetables in March? Remember that flash frozen vegetables are a great substitution when fresh aren’t in season.
Chicken Pot Pie
Yields 6 servings
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts, skinless, boneless, and cut into 1-inch chunks
¼ olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 ¾ cups chicken broth
2 large cloves garlic, minced
5 medium parsnips, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
6 (each 14- by 9-inch) sheets frozen phyllo, thawed
½ cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ cup cream
2 cups fresh or frozen English peas
¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped + more for garnish
- Preheat oven to 425* F.
- Season chicken breasts with thyme and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add olive oil to a 10-inch sauté pan and heat on medium-high. Add chicken in single layer and cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring halfway through cooking. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Add onion and 1/4 cup chicken broth to the same skillet and cook 5 minutes or until onion is browned, stirring and scraping up browned bits. Add garlic and cook 1 additional minute, stirring constantly.
- Stir in parsnips, carrots, and celery, and then add remaining 1 1/2 cups chicken broth. Heat to boiling on high. Cover, and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp.
- While vegetables cook, place 1 phyllo sheet on work surface and brush with melted butter. Top with another sheet and more butter. Repeat with remaining phyllo sheets brushing each layer with melted butter. To prevent pastry from drying out, work with 1 sheet at a time, keeping the others covered with a sheet of plastic wrap.
- In small bowl, stir cornstarch into cream to dissolve; stir into vegetable mixture and simmer about 2 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in peas, chopped parsley, cooked chicken, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Bring chicken and vegetable mixture back up to a simmer, then transfer to 13x 9x 2-inch baking dish. Place buttered phyllo sheets on top, tucking in edges inside the casserole dish and using a paring knife, make five 2-inch slits through the sheets of phyllo.
- Bake 15 minutes or until phyllo is golden brown. Garnish with parsley and serve piping hot.
photo credit Anna Williams
Last night I had the great privilege to be one of the many talented Chefs cooking at this year’s 9th Annual Chefs of the World: A Taste of Fame charity event. Being in the company of chefs like Marvin Woods, Tony Morrow, Ave Thomas, and Jaaion Barnes always makes me step up my culinary game to a higher level, while Atlanta Technical College Chef Instructors like Ralph “B” Paige, Sara Ray and Teika Blocker reminds me of the high caliber chef it takes to motivate and educate future culinarians. This year we boasted over 15 participating Chefs, Restaurateurs, and Hotels, working together to raise scholarship money for up and coming culinary students, which is an awesome feeling!! I have to say a big Thank You to my culinary team, especially my Le Cordon Bleu-Atlanta culinary students for volunteering their time, Derrick Baily for volunteering his wine knowledge and to Chef Leslie Howard for saving the day!
Last weekend I attended my very first Georgia Organics Conference, which was held on Jekyll Island, located on the coast of south-east Georgia. There on a scholarship courtesy of Les Dames d’Escoffier International-Atlanta Chapter, I was determined to go and do my best to learn something new about organically raised food. But, I’ll be honest with you-I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would there be a bunch of tree huggers spouting the dangers of eating meat? Would farmers and legislators have a battle royal over the use of the word ‘organic’? Would I be allowed to eat white bread without getting dirty looks? I’m glad to say that it was nothing like I feared and everything I had hoped for; everyone from farmers, to chefs, to educators, to legislators who have made it their life’s mission to get naturally grown food from the farm- to the table -to us, coming together for that one common goal. As a GA Grown Executive Chef, that is something I can get behind.
So, what is Georgia Organics? It is a member supported, non-profit organization connecting organic food from Georgia farms to Georgia families. They believe that food should be community-based, not commodity-based, and I happen to agree with them. So if you want to know how your food is grown and where it comes from before you put it in you mouth-then check them out. It’s worth the effort.
Contact them at:
200-A Ottley Drive,
Atlanta, GA 30324