If the whole physics thing didn’t pan out, and Albert Einstein pursued a career as a pastry chef, he’d probably would have been a lot like Chef Ben Roche. Chef Roche, pastry chef at Moto restaurant in Chicago’s Fulton Market neighborhood, employs an arsenal of lasers, liquid nitrogen, and alginate powders to construct a new dessert movement in American cuisine. Chef Roche, along with his partner at Moto, Chef Homaro Cantu, are not breaking conventions. They are ignoring them altogether. Chef Roche eschews cookbooks for inspiration, and instead finds inspiration in Surrealism and the experimentation of Salvador Dali. In our podcast, Roche talks about Dali’s influence, collecting smokey vanilla essence with a class 4 laser, and inventing hot ice cream for Albert Adria of El Bulli. Advertisements
Nothing cures the ailing winter soul like a good braise. Perk up your spirits with this recipe from Chef Shawn McClain and the Custom House restaurant kitchen. Be sure to check out our podcast with Chef McClain here. You can print this recipe out by clicking on the “print article” link below. Prep Time: 45 minutes prep, 90 minutes cooking, and overnight marinade Serves: 4
Shawn McClain is one part Steve Jobs, one part Charles Barkley, and just a dash of Jeff Spicoli. Chef McClain, like Jobs, is restless with ideas and vision. McClain focuses on the essence of an ingredient. Whether it’s Asian-inspired seafood at Spring, seasonal and veggie driven cuisine at Green Zebra, or a juicy bone-in-ribeye at his newest venture, Custom House, ingredients shine on the plate. McClain, like Barkley, also isn’t afraid to speak his mind. He is not a fan of snarky food criticism and refuses to be defined by it. Like Sean Penn’s character Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, McClain mixes in a bit of a west coast attitude and serendipity, attending culinary school, even when he wasn’t sure what it would amount to.
It’s like Las Vegas in the Chicago suburbs. Amidst mountains of crab legs, neon lights, crème brulee pyramids, and Japanese families grazing on all-you-can-eat sushi, it’s easy to forget that you are at the Todai Japanese Seafood and Sushi buffet in Schaumburg’s Woodfield Mall. I haven’t been to an indoor mega mall in years, but a few weekends ago, after much protest that city malls were the same as any suburban mall, I gave in and accompanied my wife.
Target may not be a shiny food retail mecca like Sur La Table or Williams Sonoma, or a secret grungy restaurant supply shop, but they have mastered the merchandising of designer flair and offer the occasional good deal on cookware.