Showing posts with label chef secrets for home cooks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chef secrets for home cooks. Show all posts

Aug 5, 2012

International "sisterMAG" features Style Maniac's Chef Secrets for Home Cooks series

This month Style Maniac's in the kitchen ... of sisterMAG. This international digital magazine, published in both English and German, follows a unique format with a layout that guides the reader through rooms of a digital home.  Issue No. 3 features Style Maniac and my "Chef Secrets for Home Cooks" YouTube and blog series. Check out the "Chef Secrets" feature (pp. 104-107) describing how the series came to be plus sharing top secrets learned from chefs Jason & Michael Brunetti, Joey Campanaro and Peter Woolsey.  Danke to sisterMAG's dynamic founders, sisters Thea & Toni for including Style Maniac in this publication aimed at "intelligent and widely interested women" around the world

sisterMAG Issue No.3 "Insights, Views & Vistas" / Summer 2012.  Digital editions in English and German.

Jun 19, 2012

4 Secrets on Pizza -- and Life -- from the Father & Son Chefs of Pizzetteria Brunetti

From each of the Chef Secrets for Home Cooks interviews I've learned something that goes beyond mere recipes, and can be applied to anything you cook.  And sometimes, to how you live.  Here's what I learned about pizza and cooking that also seems to be pretty good advice on life, as I watched father and son chefs Michael and Jason Brunetti serve up artisanal pies with pride and joy at tiny Pizzetteria Brunetti:
  1. Quality. If you want a great pizza you have to start with great ingredients.
  2. Simplicity.  Don't put too much stuff on one pie.
  3. Balance.  Ingredients should never overpower each other but should complement and work together harmoniously.
  4. Love.  Food made with love really does taste better.
Photo of a Pizzetteria Brunetti artichoke and goat cheese pie by Doreen Creede. For more on Michael and Jason Brunetti and their delicious Neapolitan pizza, see the previous post "Father and Son Chefs" and view Episode 3, "Pizza Secrets" of Chef Secrets for Home Cooks on Style Maniac's YouTube channel.

Jun 14, 2012

Father & Son Chefs Serve Artisanal Pizza & Old World Values at Pizzetteria Brunetti (Episode 3 of Chef Secrets for Home Cooks)

Growing up in Brooklyn in the 1950s, Michael Brunetti spent Sunday evenings beside his Neaopolitan father, making homemade pizza for their family of 10, a late evening snack after a large family meal earlier in the day.  Fast forward several decades and Michael stands beside his own son Jason making pizzas with the same care and quality for an extended family of patrons at Pizzetteria Brunetti, possibly the smallest, most obscurely located pizza place in America.  My husband's family has a beach house nearby (and my husband loves pizza more than anyone I know) and it still took us two summers to find the place, even though it's located in the very small town of Westhampton Beach, New York.  Finally one day we stumbled upon it by pure chance--in back of a trio of shops, without even its own front door.  We walked through a Haagen-Dazs to find in the back a bar counter with about five stools, a sliver of a prep area and a giant, bellowing wood oven named Bella.  Into Bella's fiery belly went hand-formed dough topped with carefully constructed medleys of ingredients.  Ninety seconds later out came pillowy pies oozey with cheese atop a just-charred-enough crust.  Mmmmm!

For Michael, this is the realization of a dream to return to the old world values of slow food, fresh ingredients and an artisanal approach to cooking.  For Jason, making pizzas is all about the customers eating them, the "expression on someone's face when they take that first bite.  Their pupils get dilated and they say, 'What's happening here?!' and I reply, 'You're eating real pizza.'"

For me, the best part of Pizzetteria Brunetti is the love Michael and Jason put into their food and the joy they show working side by side, father and son, as they make a whole lotta pizza lovers very happy.  Click the video above and get a taste of that yourself.

Next post:  Michael and Jason Brunetti's pizza secrets.

ABOUT THE CHEFS:  Michael and Jason Brunetti are the father/son chefs and owners behind Pizzetteria Brunetti.  They left other careers to become certified pizzaiolis and share their love and passion for authentic, artisanal Neapolitan pizza.  Their pies have been named best of Long Island's East End and featured in publications like Hamptons Magazine, Newsday and the New York Times.

Filmed on location at  
Pizzetteria Brunetti
103 Main Street
Westhampton Beach, NY  11978
Phone: 631-288-3003

ABOUT THE SERIES: "Pizza Secrets" is the third episode of Chef Secrets for Home Cooks,a new series from Style Maniac that brings the tips, tricks and techniques of top chefs into your kitchen.  Watch the videos on the new Style Maniac YouTube channel, plus find out more on accompanying posts on this blog.

Photos and video by Doreen Creede / Style Maniac.  PRODUCTION NOTE: This segment came about so impromptu that I shot it entirely on my iPhone!

Apr 27, 2012

4 Cooking Secrets from Peter Woolsey, Chef/Owner of Bistrot La Minette

If life doesn't give you lemons, substitute oranges instead.

That's a secret I learned from Chef Peter Woolsey when he cooked his easy Chicken Catalan for my Chef Secrets for Home Cooks series.  In other words:  professional chefs regard recipe ingredients differently than you and I.  Whereas I think of an ingredient as an item on a shopping list, chefs look at in terms of the element it brings to the dish. So when, moments before filming began, Peter discovered his restaurant's produce order had not arrived and no lemons (an item prominent in Chicken Catalan) were on hand, he quickly and confidently substituted an orange.  This gave the finished dish the bright fresh citrus note it needed, and also added an unexpected and delightful flavor, one that lingers on my tongue months after I first tasted it.

In a similar way, as he constructed the dish Peter explained that while it calls for bacon, you could use ham; it calls for chicken stock but you could use water and bouillion cube.  The cooking requirements for this 1-pan, 1-pot meal were loose as well:  it needs to simmer 45 minutes but could go as long as 90, at which point the chicken would melt off the bone.  Not a bad thing.

Chicken Catalan did require a few essential steps.  For those you'll have to watch the video.  But I will share a few more of Peter's Chef Secrets here:

4 Cooking Secrets from Chef Peter Woolsey:
  1. Understand what element an ingredient brings to a dish
  2. then, Substitute confidently
  3. Don't be shy with seasoning Peter seasoned the chicken with what to me was a surprising dose of salt.  Yet the result did not taste salty.  That salt helped the chicken sear well, and flavored the entire pot.
  4. Use the peel As a home cook, if I thought a recipe needed citrus flavor I would have squirted some juice in at the end.  Instead, Peter used the peel.  The essence of the citrus came through so wonderfully in the finished dish, with no harsh acid flavor, and all from a part of the orange I would have thrown away.

Photos by Doreen Creede.  For more on Peter Woolsey, Bistrot La Minette and the delectable dish, read the previous post "Chef Peter Woolsey's Chicken Catalan"and view Episode 2 of Chef Secrets for Home Cooks on Style Maniac's YouTube channel.

Apr 25, 2012

Chef Peter Woolsey's Easy Chicken Catalan (Chef Secrets for Home Cooks, episode 2)

Bistro Magic.  That's how I described Bistrot La Minette when I first wrote about the restaurant on this blog a few years ago. Red velvet banquettes, glowing yellow walls, marble-topped tables, the look and bustle of a real French bistro.  Chef/owner Peter Woolsey's dream to create an authentic French experience in Philadelphia shines through in the decor and in the kitchen, where traditional techniques and dishes honor the past without ever becoming cliche.

Now, I am not a gourmet French cook, and I don't like to labor over anything in the kitchen.  So I wondered:  could Peter show me -- and all of you -- how to distill his decades of classic training into an easy dish we can make at home with no fuss, little muss and a lot of flavor?

He could, and he did.  The result is "Chef Peter Woolsey's Easy Chicken Catalan," a one-pan, one-pot dish of deliciousness you can prep in 15 minutes and eat 45 minutes later.  See how in Episode 2 of my new YouTube series "Chef Secrets for Home Cooks." 

Next post:  Peter Woolsey's Chef Secrets

ABOUT THE CHEF:  Peter Woolsey worked at Michelin 3-star Lucas Carton in France and for Georges Perrier and Stephen Starr in the U.S. before realizing his dream of bringing authentic French bistro cooking to Philadelphia with the opening of Bistrot La Minette a decade ago. Since then the restaurant has received numerous accolades, including Philadelphia Magazine's 2011 "50 Best Places to Eat Right Now."

Filmed on location at
Bistrot La Minette
623 South 6th Street
Philadelphia PA  19147
Phone:  215-925-8000

ABOUT THE SERIES: "Peter Woolsey Cooks Chicken Catalan" is the second episode of Chef Secrets for Home Cooks, a new series from Style Maniac that brings the tips, tricks and techniques of top chefs into your kitchen.  Watch the videos on the new Style Maniac YouTube channel, plus find out more on accompanying posts on this blog.

Photos and video by Doreen Creede / Style Maniac.

Jan 30, 2012

3 Cooking Secrets from Chef Joey Campanaro

Through the restaurant window: Chef Joey Campanaro cooking behind the bar at Village Belle.

Mmmm, can you smell the sizzle of that Mortadella & Tomme de Savoie sandwich? To learn how to make Joey Campanaro's gourmet yet super simple version of a Baloney & Cheese sandwich, watch the premiere episode of Chef Secrets for Home Cooks on yesterday's post, or visit the new Style Maniac YouTube Channel.  Each episode of the series will bring you an easy and delicious recipe, plus a few tips, tricks and techniques from top chefs to try in your own kitchen.  Here's what I learned from Joey Campanaro, chef at Market Table, The Little Owl, and Village Belle restaurants.

3 Cooking Secrets from Chef Joey Campanaro
  1. Ingredient quality makes all the difference.  Don't get me wrong: when fried, grocery store baloney and cheese can be pretty good.  But use a high quality Mortadella and Tomme de Savoie and you enter another realm.
  2. Joey calls it "saving flavor," I call it "less pans=less clean up, yay!"  Either way, the result is the same:  by toasting the bread in the same pan he cooked the meat in, all that yummy flavor is absorbed, enhancing the entire dish.
  3. Chef trick: To quickly melt cheese, toss an ice cube in the pan, then quickly cover for just a few seconds.  This little magic trick of Joey's is now a staple in our kitchen.
Photo by Doreen Creede.  For more info on Joey Campanaro, Village Belle and the Chef Secrets for Home Cooks series visit here.

    Jan 29, 2012

    Chef Joey Campanaro Cooks His Version of Baloney & Cheese (Chef Secrets for Home Cooks: Episode 1)

    Fried baloney with Gulden's mustard on Wonderbread:  as a kid, a sandwich didn't get much better than that.  As an adult, too,  I couldn't imagine how it could be improved upon.  Until one evening at Village Belle, a  favorite Italian restaurant just yards away from our home, a sizzle and smell behind the bar caught my attention.  There, in a small pan on a tiny portable stove Chef Joey Campanaro was cooking up his version of a Baloney & Cheese sandwich, using Mortadella & Tomme de Savoie plus a few simple yet deliciously effective chef tricks.  The sandwich still had only four ingredients -- meat, cheese, bread, mustard -- and took only 3 minutes to make, but tasted out of this world.  Crusty, caramelized, oozy and utterly delicious.  The next time Joey came to town, I came with my camera and Episode 1 of the new video series Chef Secrets for Home Cooks came to be.  I hope you enjoy it, and learn as much as I did.

    NEXT POST: Joey Campanaro's Chef Secrets

    ABOUT THE CHEF:  Joey Campanaro owns Village Belle with his brother, Chef Lou Campanaro. Joey can also be found at his New York restaurants Market Table and The Little Owl, where London's Observer declared his burger the world's best. He and his restaurants have been featured in Bon Appetit, The New York Times and on the CBS Saturday Early Show.

    ABOUT THE RESTAURANT:  Filmed on location at
    Village Belle Restaurant
    757 South Front Street
    Philadelphia PA 19147
    Phone: 215-551-2200

    ABOUT THE SERIES: "M&T" by Joey C is the first episode of Chef Secrets for Home Cooks, a new series from Style Maniac that brings the tips, tricks and techniques of top chefs into your kitchen.  Watch the videos on the new Style Maniac YouTube channel, plus find out more on accompanying posts on this blog.

    Special thanks to Chef/Owner Lou Campanaro and Managing Partner/wine guru Michael Romeo.  Photos and video by Doreen and Kevin Creede.

    Jan 26, 2012

    Chef Secrets for Home Cooks: a new Style Maniac YouTube series

    How to cook artisanal pizza at home.  French cooking techniques concentrated into a one pot meal.  An ordinary baloney & cheese sandwich elevated into an extraordinary treat.  The tips, tricks and techniques of professional chefs translated just for you, so your cooking tastes that much better.  For nearly a year I have stood by fiery ovens and sizzling burners to suss out secrets from some very different chefs.  The result is a new video series, Chef Secrets for Home Cooks, which premieres this week on the Style Maniac YouTube Channel.  

    If you've ever wondered what makes a restaurant dish taste so luscious, or why your meat never turns out with such a crackly crust; if you're someone (like me) who cooks because she has to not because she loves to; if you want recipes with minimal fuss and stellar results, then this is the series for you. The videos and accompanying blog posts will take the skills and knowledge pro chefs acquired from thousands of hours of training and translate them into simple things you can do in your own home kitchen to make the next meal you cook the yummiest ever.

    NEXT POST: The premiere of Chef Secrets for Home Cooks featuring Chef Joey Campanaro, with embedded video and more details. Can't wait? Here's the link to Episode 1 on YouTube.

    ABOVE: Scenes from upcoming episodes of Chef Secrets for Home Cooks.  TOP ROW: Joey Campanaro of The Little Owl and Market Table in New York City and Village Belle in Philadelphia; Peter Woolsey of Bistrot La Minette in Philadelphia.  MIDDLE ROW: Doreen Creede aka Style Maniac; Michael and Jason Brunetti of Pizzetteria Brunetti in Westhampton Beach NY.  Photos and graphic design by Doreen Creede.

    Oct 30, 2011

    Georges Perrier's 5 Tips On Cooking For Company

    "Bonjour mademoiselle."
    "Bonjour, Monsieur Perrier."
    "Call me Georges."
    And that was how I met Georges Perrier this spring, at a press party for the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA). Surprisingly, Monsieur Perrier had arrived early.  Surprising because he's a world-renowned chef whose restaurant Le Bec Fin has been called the best French restaurant in America, voted the best restaurant in the country in any cuisine and and held a 5-star rating Mobil Travel Guide rating for 23 of its 41 years.  I would have expected this famous Frenchman to sail in at the last moment, entourage in tow, for the event, where French chefs who had been invited to cook at Philadelphia restaurants were meeting their chef hosts for the first time.  Mais non, here was Monsieur Perrier--Georges!--mingling casually and then coming up and greeting moi.  I took advantage of the moment to ask Chef Perrier, who has cooked for stars and celebrities, what he would cook at home for company.  And what tips he would give on home entertaining to someone like me (and maybe some of you) who loves good food but does not necessarily love to cook.  His advice:
    Georges Perrier's Tips On Cooking At Home For Company
    1. If you are working from a recipe read it through thoroughly.
    2. Cook a dish for yourself before you cook it for guests.
    3. What you make depends on who you are entertaining.
    4.  Mix things up, give your guests something unexpected.
    5. Perhaps involve your guests in the cooking.  Pasta Bolognese is a good dish for a group of people to prepare.
    Bon appetit!

    Georges Perrier (center) et amis in front of the mini Eiffel Tower set up at the Kimmel Center for PIFA 2011.  Photo by Doreen Creede.


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