Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Three Questions for Tom Colicchio

I recently had the opportunity to ask Tom Colicchio a few questions. Although his fame is attributed to being co-host of Bravo's Top Chef and co-owner of the Craft restaurant empire, his cookbook, Think Like a Chef, is something that every amateur cook should own. It is a personal favorite of mine, teaching how to break away from the confines of recipes and make the most of your ingredients. He provided some valuable tips for getting through the fall cooking season with your sanity in check and some delicious meals on your plate.

When you’re living in NYC, you have a very limited kitchen and very limited space. What cooking advice can you give us New Yorkers?

I have a small kitchen myself. Keep yourself organized. When you’re actually cooking a meal, you shouldn’t have to use a knife anymore. All the prep work should be done. You can buy small containers and put your prep in it, so when you start cooking, everything is right there for you. You can just add things to the pan when you need it. You shouldn’t be chopping and cooking at the same time—you make a mess. Especially if you have limited space, you need to keep really organized. I cook on Christmas Eve for 16 people and I make 8 or 9 dishes and I have a little stove. You can do it.

What are some great ingredients for fall dishes?

For fall, we take duck, root vegetables and apples and we combine those three things in different ways. You can make duck ham, duck confit, cold duck terrine with roasted vegetables, roasted duck, duck with apples, applesauce… And, you can do a soup with pureed vegetables with apple and duck confit. There are always different ways to combine food. If you tell someone to be creative with unlimited options, it’s sometimes hard to come up with something. If you say be creative with these three ingredients, you can do it in many different ways. Just learn how to cook—there are five basic cooking methods. And after that, it’s about just learning technique. If you can cook one green vegetable, you can cook them all. Don’t overcomplicate things.

What one piece of Thanksgiving advice would you give to someone cooking the meal?

Don’t overcook that turkey! People think it takes a lot longer than it takes. If you’re going to cook your turkey breast to the point where it’s nice and juicy, the legs will be undercooked. So what I do is take it out at that point and let it rest for a good half an hour before you carve it. Then, get the roasting pan, clean it out, keep it hot, take the legs off, put the legs back on the roasting pan and back in the oven. Cook the legs separately.

When carving the breast—I don’t know why people think carving the breast on the bird is a good thing—take the breast right off. Cut right down the breast bone and take the whole breast off and put it in on the cutting board and slice it. Every time I tell people that, they can’t believe it.

1 comment:

  1. Amen.

    Some of the best meals I've ever had have come out of kitchens with limited space.

    When you're in that kind of situation, you have to learn to adapt.

    Technique is king.



Related Posts with Thumbnails